Forecast: 10-12mph and sunny. Wooo hooo, what could be better for the first day of the celebrated Bucket
Well, an accurate forecast would have been better for a start. It may have been 10mph at some point in the day, but it was more like 25mph in some of the gusts. Anyway, we all lined up on the shore, got the start sequence underway, then Dave set off. Then Dave came back, just in time to set off again at the right time. Disappointingly, nobody at all capsized just off the beach, although various people got their sails wet at some point in the race. We caught up with John & Jim at 'G', just as Martin & Jeff came hurtling in from the other side of the lake on starboard. We respectfully gave them water at the mark, and then watched with interest as they gybed (perfectly), hurtled round the mark (very fast), and capsized (very amusing). As the wind increased, more and more of the early starters fell by the wayside, eventually leaving Badders in the lead. Ray & Phil hung on manfully for 2nd place and Mike & Paul got 3rd.
In the 2nd race we plumped for the 'Windy' handicaps, which give the capsizey boats a bigger headstart. However, a very tricky beat up to 'B' put paid to a lot of minutes headstart for a lot of boats, and a very windy run back down to H put the fear of a death-by-misadventure verdict into the rest of us. Plus some people were unable to tell the difference between 'H' and 'T', leading to some highly amusing helm-crew misunderstandings. When the spray settled, New Blokes Martin and Jeff got to the line first, with Pete & JR 2nd by a nose over Mike & Paul (Grrr). We canned the 3rd race as (a) we were all too knackered and (b) the Marriott Rules (which exist only in my head) forbid racing in over 25mph winds.
The second day was a bit kinder to us. Nothing of any great interest happened in race 3, except that Martin
and Jeff won, this time from Helen and Mike. Ray and Phil got 3rd place, thereby keeping alive their chances of taking the Bucket. Race 4 was a bit more interesting though. The wind had been up and down, but was looking more down really, and most of us had risked putting the kite up on the slightly risky F to J leg. The race was overly long for the handicaps to work properly, but come the last lap, Mike and Paul were just elbowing their way past Iain and Simon and had the leading crew of Gordon and JR firmly in their sights. "Shall we kite it to J this time ?" said the good looking helm. "Naah, it's looking well dodgy over there by H" came the reply, so we bagged the kite, powered up the mainsail and went for the reach. Iain and Simon kept the kite up and were looking to be going quicker for it when BANG, a really big lump of wind hit us. This was awesome enough with just the two sails up, but when we found time to watch it was most worthwhile and you could hear the screams from Iain and Simon as their boat hurtled off towards the dam wall from miles away. Meanwhile up ahead, Gordon was looking a bit wobbly, so we put on a bit more speed and started chanting the capsize mantra 'Goonyoubuggertipitin', but sadly it was not to be, and Gordon got the gun, closely followed by us and Iain.
The wind calmed down to a nice F2-3 for the last race, and we made it a bit shorter to compensate for the
over-long first and second races. Helen and Mike got themselves in front of John and Jim, and then stayed there. Bob Morris and Mike Pratt overtook Ray and Phil and were looking quite tasty, and the fast
boys were catching up quite fast too. Then the race ended, Helen and Mike getting the gun, John and Jim 2nd, Bob and Mike 3rd.
Afterwards we worked out that the top 3 boats had got 8 points each, with Martyn and Jeff coming out on top
on the tiebreak. 4th and 5th placed boats both had 9 points and 6th had 10 points. So basically there were only 2 points separating 1st and 6th placed boats – certainly the closest Marriott in living memory.
1st Martyn and Jeff
2nd Badders and JR/Paula
3rd Mike & Paul
4th Helen & Mike
5th Ray and Phil
6th John & Jim