Race Report – Sunday 26th May….

With four Datchet boats competing at the Hayling Bulwark, our numbers were down today – four teams on the slip….. in bright sunshine and a force 3 – lovely !!!

There was a bit of a pin end bias on the line, and Howard/Richard popped out of the line of the gun down there.   No matter though – the beats were so shifty that Mark and Toby made the top mark first, followed closely by Howard/Richard, then Matt and Andrew.  It was all pretty close, with Matt/Andrew closing in on the other two all the time.

Matt and Andrew tended to favour the left side of the beats, and Mark/Toby the right.  Come the final beat, Howard/Richard went up the middle and nabbed the top mark first.  The top reach was pretty tight for spinnakering – 4011 made it a two sail reach for the most of it and pulled away slightly from the other two.  At the gun, it was pretty close but Howard/Richard got it from Mark/Toby then Matt and Andrew.

Race two saw a bit more breeze and Matt/Andrew did a pin end flyer and just crossed ahead of Howard/Richard and Mark/Toby.  However, by the pin it was Howard/Richard out front by quite a handsome margin and were never really challenged.  On the final leg, Mark/Toby fell into the doldrums and finished a full two minutes behind Howard and Richard.

It was ALL in the beats!!

Sunday Racing, 19th May – The Opera Ain’t Over Until…… !!!!!

Really rather a beautiful day – 8 teams on the slip this morning!!  Very light breezes but racing was pretty tense, nonetheless!!  Turned out to get more stunning as the day wore on, with 20 degrees showing on the car thermometer going home!

Plus… we had Vice Commodore Tinsley with us.  Privilege or what !??!! You’d think a long break would have eroded his skills, but it didn’t show – see race one!

We got away pretty promptly for race one – hmmmm,  it turned out that “some of us” did not know it was  starboard handed course and went for the wrong mark!!  First around the wrong mark sailing very quickly, were Dominic and David, with Howard and Richard in hot pursuit a boat length or two behind – once the mistake was realised they rounded the correct mark 7th and 8th !!!!  First around the correct mark and in the lead were Ian and James Linder.  They were strongly challenged by Mike Firth and VC Tinsley, who I think maybe took the lead on the second beat –  Mike doing his light breeze, “Foxy Firth” thing !!

While those two were tussling it out, Mervyn sailed up into third, and ended up in a right old gybing duel with Howard and Richard who had made their way up from 8th.  In the final lap, the Linders popped in ahead of Firth/Tinsley (who later retired to drink tea and talk about old times!).  Poor Fleet Captain Mervyn, sailing with Sophie Singleton,  got sliced out of third just near the end on a couple of gybes by Howard and Richard.  Dominic and David were next in.

Race two was becalmed flat at the start and an altogether tense affair. Howard and Richard thought they might cross the line on Monday, while the rest of you bright things sailed off (relatively!!).  Ian and James going right took to the front, and Mervyn/Sophie sailed blindingly well to round second.  I think Mervyn and Sophie might have wrestled the lead in this race at some point, but coming up the second beat, with the shortened signal given, most of the fleet went right – into the flat bits. Howard and Richard went left and really, really thought they had it in the bag !!  Not to be – after a great beat, straight into a hole they went about 5 boat lengths from the mark, just to watch Mervyn/Sophie, Ian/James waft by and around the top mark and get clean away!!  Well, they were well gone, and those at the top mark completely stationary – needing some unseen tiller waggling (that’s everyone, you understand!) to get around…. Mervyn was about a quarter of a mile away but now also in flat calm.  Yes – you guessed …. Ian and James secured the lead, and rounded just ahead at the last mark.  Mervyn, ever patient, now found himself with Howard/Richard chomping right at his transom.  For the last dogleg to the finish, the big question was to drop kites or not…  Howard dropped, Sophie flew hers around on the inside berth.  It wasn’t really a very kind day for Mervyn and Sophie….!!  Howard and Richard inched away and pipped them narrowly right on the line for second place!!!  Pleasantries and best wishes were exchanged !!!!



Sunday 5th May – Match Racing at Datchet… !!!

Match racing at Datchet

Bank holiday and light airs brought the smallest possible turnout for a race, with the big news being the arrival of a new face Hugo MacNulty and 2 long lost friends – Andrew Fairley and Andrew Lawson.  Roger rigged his boat as well (for the first time this year).  Mervyn and Hugo benefitted from going out early to practice because everybody else was put off by the dropping wind and only the Andrews launched (after the first race had started) resulting in a straightforward 1-2.  The second race was far more fun with 2 boats starting at the same time!  The wind bend up near the wall was instrumental in allowing Mervyn and Hugo to build a bit of a lead at the first mark but the Andrews clawed most of this back on the second beat and the boats were close for the rest of the race with Mervyn and Hugo just getting the gun.

It’s great to know that there will be 3 additional boats starting at Datchet over the next few months (with Hugo planning to take up one of the loan boats) and Roger’s return (well almost) to the water.

I’m off to Chew next week but hope to see you the week after



A Datchet Blast – Racing on Sunday 30th December ….!!

Did you miss today??  Cracking racing we had…!!

Half a dozen fifteens turned up the day before New Year’s Eve in an otherwise pretty empty Club!!  We had 18-32mph showing on the wind indicator – it was very breezy as we rigged, then dropped a tad for launching then pepped up again – perfect really!!

Race Officer, Julien Shawyer (winner of the FF Richard Hughes Regatta 2009!) set a cracking course using the full size of the reservoir – beats the full length of the reservoir and the laying of the reaches was just superbly judged ….and the run was dead true.

The fleet got out of the square line in prompt order for race one. The committee boat end seemed pretty popular but first to leap up the beat were Steve and Simon off the pin end.  They just squeezed ahead at the top mark from Mark and Toby, Howard and Richard, Ian and James – and I think Andrew and Tom were right in there too.  Well, we all hoisted and shot off down that reach in great clouds of spray – fabulous, it was!  At the wing mark, Steve and Simon had spinnaker problems in the gybe, letting through the gang led by Mark and Toby.  Well, that next reach left us all pretty speechless and seemed unending!!  Hugely fast, with a big gap opening up between the front two and the rest.  At the start of the second beat, Mark and Toby broke something vital and popped ashore for a cuppa. (They are not shown in the results -…..”did you sign on?!!” – ha ha ha ha !!!!!!)    The Linders went left and Howard and Richard up the middle.  It was one of those days where left or right seemed to pay but the middle was bad!!  Ian and James built out a super lead….

Up the next beat, Howard and Richard’s rig tension let go, popping a shroud pin and brought them to a halt for a minute or so sorting that out (nice weather for it!) – and allowing the fleet to catch right up!!!  However, positions held with Ian and James miles ahead, then Howard and Richard and Mervyn and Mike chomping at their transom in third.

Pretty exhilarating, exhausting stuff – so then we had another one!!!   Again Steve and Simon played a belter off the pin and picked a lovely arc of wind up the first leg.  I think Andrew and Tom rounded second, then Howard/Richard, Ian/James.  Once more the reaching leg was a corker with plenty of high speed action  – Steve/Simon scooted round the wing mark just ahead….. and immediately got snarled again!! Ho ho !!! Heaven help us if that boat ever gets sorted !!!….. ha ha ha ha !! (Simon was very unhappy – let me tell you!!)  Ian and James grabbed a late overlap on Howard and Richard and basically the three boats tumbled round the wing mark in close proximity.   At this point, I think Ian and James promptly broached in a gust letting Howard/Richard scream through to the front. What a reach that was!!  Anyway the top 3 built out a lead of Howard/Richard, Ian/James, Mervyn/Mike (going very quickly upwind I thought – get some beef on the rail in those conditions and it really helps!!!)  Ian and James grabbed the lead and we did hurtle round the top mark – going down the run Ian and James went left… however, windex-less Howard/Richard went right and blasted into great slabs of breeze –  building a decisive and exciting/exhausting lead causing them to miss the “Shorten” signal and go for the drop at the bottom – Argghhhh!!   Ian and James doing about double speed closed in really fast in the push for the line….  But at the last minute a gust hit in and saved the day’s bacon – Howard/Richard took it under two sails by just a few seconds and for a moment it looked like Ian/James were going to roll it on the line!!  Mervyn and Mike brought up third again!!

Full results are posted – click the “Last Sunday Results” button to the right of this page.


Postscript – In a decade or so, I’ve only ever known Howard switch on the spinnaker sheet ratchets twice… And today was the second time! Says it all about those three sail reaches!!

More days like that would do….

Race Report – Rain Sodden Sunday …!! (23rd Sept)

I really have to say now….. what a horrible day!!  It didn’t stop raining from 10am onwards.  Everything soaked through !!  Not warm either – like a March day almost.

Another new member, Emma Bunting, an experienced Fifteener watched and made launching notes from the shore – ready for her first launching. The water level is down to just below the first knuckle. but there was so much rain today you have to just hope it comes straight back up. As David Hume points out, it’s odd that it stayed high till the last day of the Olympics and then fell like a stone.  We look forward to seeing Emma launch her new boat soon.

We had six fifteens – some notable absentees.  I think Mike and Phil had the woodentop away somewhere, then no Midnight Rog, no Stensons, Ian Linder was on Race Officer duty, no Fleet Captain Hanson either.  Come on, you lot !!!!

Admiral Linder and the race team set a short but very square line with a decent beat right up the lake. Starboard handed made a nice change!  Race one tore out of the gate – I thought there might have been a recall as all really nailed it. Andy and Agness nipped out of the committee boat end quickly followed by Howard and Richard.  Going left turned out to be a mortal sin though (and it was shifty!!) and Mark and Toby hotly pursued by the Humes went right to devastating effect.

Andrew and Tom Wilson have bought the Millars boat and were racing it for the first time today  – they were really cracking on in this light breeze. The fleet started to string out which is a shame – Dominic and David had a really good go at grabbing the lead, but in the end it was Mark/Toby, Dominic/David then Howard/Richard.

For race two the skies threatened more, and the breeze did step up for a while – but turned out to be full of holes. We had a couple of bursts of three sail planing which was warmly received!   Mark/Toby found the way uphill again, and this time Mervyn/Dave were the chase boat – with Howard and Richard third again. Behind them there was a right old to-do going on with lots of action everywhere.  Quite suddenly near the top of the course Mervyn/Dave caught a buoy and snared the rudder on the mooring line, just as they were sailing quite brilliantly …..  ha ha ha ha ha !!!  What a shame….  ha ha ha ha ha !!!!   So Howard/Richard slipped into second…..  The main pack, then including Mervyn and Dave, had some sorting to do.  It was Dominic and David that emerged with an edge to take third.

Ainslie Sunday !! Or was it “Four Turns Sunday”?!!! Datchet Race Report…..

Nine boats on the slip this morning – amazing given it is Olympic Sunday !!! – the rest of the Club was a shade quiet, I thought.

We managed to get two races in though the breeze was light, shifty and variable. Howard and Richard made a good start after duelling with the Admiral and the VC along the line…. and out of the pin favoured gate…..Ian and James trying a port tack flyer but finding it didn’t work!! ….  However, the variability completely defeated the former team and cream rises to the top, doesn’t it?!?! Ian and James slipped out front, chased hard by Mike and VC Phil.  Andy and Agness were going like a train also … David Hume, sailing single handed was also out to impress.  Howard and Richard managed to foul Mervyn on the run (!!), and ended up putting in a couple of turns when there was enough breeze to do it!!  That was the sequence it ended, I think.

Race two piled out of pin end again  – the breeze was about the same. Ian and James did the flyer again – and this time it worked!! Howard and Richard were next out, and at the top rounded first by a few boat lengths.  But is was a four turns day for them!!!  Following an altercation with a laser on the second beat it was cream time again, and on the fourth leg Ian and James slipped past up the beat. Andy and Agness piled on the pressure and hit second by the next windward mark.  Basically this pack slipped away from the fleet, Howard and Richard now trailing in third. Anxious to get ashore to watch Ben smash the whole of Denmark, that’s the way the second race ended!!!

There was a big throng in the bar to watch the medal races over lunch on the large TV….  Ian Percy was losing gold by one place as we listened to radio 5 putting the boats away. Big sigh,… and the realisation that was the last of two man keelboat racing in the Olympics. The tension was electric for the Finn Medal Race – and of course, the right result!!  John Hanson was down in Weymouth – hoping to hear from him once he has cooled down!!