A small angry lynch mob prepares to search for the handicapping committee
Race two saw a very tactical move from Pete 'Pot Hunter' Badham as he moved from the back of his boat (and the back of the starting grid) to the
front, electing that there was no way he could compete with the speed of the Draycote fleet in his own boat, and so joining Paula in hers! This proved a very wise move, resulting in them winning
race two with Colin a close 2nd, and ourselves in 3rd some way behind! Graham and Sue led the hotshots and had us worried for a while, but John held them back! Cheers John!
A week passed and Sunday dawned again, with a cool 10 knot Northerly wind.
'Pot' Badham had already done his maths, and informed us that we were the leading boat, with Paula a close second. The other hot favourite, Colin, sportingly didn't turn up at all to make life a bit easier for the rest of us. Andy Smith and James Meldrum had come for the day, so they agreed a handicap with the fleet and then went off for a cup of tea and a postal learning course while the rest of us were starting!
With the wind from the North
it proved tactical up to the windward mark, with trapezing in short gusts and 20 degree shifts under the Northern bank. We reached the windward mark just behind a gaggle of boats and Mel elected to sail low round the next reach. We were lucky as all the boats who sailed high ran straight into a hole and watched as we picked off four places in one move… maybe we could catch Pete and Paula today!.
The chasing hot shots were on the ball today (no pun intended),
with Andy and James showing them the way. We didn't want to be caught too early in the race and managed to keep the 150 yard buffer between us and Andy for half a lap before he came up on us really quickly and passed us on the beat, and we managed to pass Paula and Pete and a few of the other front runners, only to go right and lose it all again! At the windward mark we did our usual head low trick and Andy Smith went lower still and pulled out 50 yards! Amazing stuff! Nigel did the same move on the run and undertook us, only to fail to get water on Andy Malin have to sail the wrong side of the mark, giving us back our position.... Came fourth behind Andy Malin, Peter Wood and Dangerous Dave. Andy Smith was not signing off, something about him being European Champion I think !
Race four started and we set off following Helen and Mike who had a 30 second handicap on us,
everything looked good until we tacked onto starboard, then we saw all the back of the fleet, led by Messrs Smith & Meldrum almost reaching to the windward mark in 15 knots of breeze! That was all of our handicap used up in one go! Never mind, it gave us a chance to compare ourselves with Mike, Don, Eugene, Jez and Graham. Not for long apparently, as they blasted off in the increasing breeze in chase of more prey! We managed to cling onto the back of Mike for a lap and re-took a position from Jez and Rosco as the breeze eased a little. Caught Nigel and he promptly re-took us with his favourite gybing run manoeuvre, must learn how to defend against that! and we just pipped Dave on the final leg to the finish, 8th place in that one, worst result in the whole event, but not upset as the boat felt like it was going well, just a few too many mistakes. We got back onto shore to the congratulations of Pete and Paula. Unknown to us both Mike and Andy had managed to overtake them so they had a 2nd place (Andy retired again), giving us the overall result.
But it's not the winning that made this such a fun couple of weekends, it's the chance to "mix it" with the faster boys, seeing how they get that extra ¼ of a
knot on a run/reach where normally they would have been 200 yards ahead by that point. And it's about overtaking a lot of people who are slower than you but who don't want to be overtaken - very exciting.
A thing I noticed from last year was that the fleet is much quicker, throughout the fleet, everyone is learning and that is what these events are all about.,
when you see how fast a fireball can go in the right hands we all know that we never stop learning...
A special thank you to everyone who helped run this years event,
from rallying the fleet to time-keeping and course setting. The handicaps were not perfect (they never are), but it is good to see that the four races were won by four different boats, and that those boats had handicaps ranging from 4 to 13 minutes.
Now we are faced with defending our title next year…
Kyle & Mel