Draycote Winter Super Series
This series runs every winter, from October through to the end of March, with racing held on alternate
weekends. Predictably the turnout varies with the weather, and we've had a couple of icy cold days when the sheets stuck to the floor of the boat and most of the competitors stuck to the bar with a
similar degree of attachment.
However, by keeping the Fireball flag flying through the winter, we have managed to keep people interested.
New crews have turned up, various new helm-crew combinations have been tested, and a fair amount of tuning has been undertaken. Racing in the dead of winter may be more 'trial by ordeal' than 'fun', but
it certainly raises your profile in the club, which sets you up nicely for good turnouts when the weather improves.
The actual racing has been massively varied, with some short races and some very long, some windy stuff and
some drifters, some where you could feel your fingers and some where you wish you couldn't. To a degree it has been wide open, as helms have been turning up with a variety of different crews, and nothing
upsets the established order of things more rapidly than a change of crew.
Sadly, none of this changes the fact that when the race ends Martyn Lewis and Richard Byne were generally
first across the line. Sometimes by a large margin, other times by the smallest of leads. Behind them, well it's all to play for. We sailed a particularly memorable race on a windy day a few weeks back
where we started 3 minutes late and by the last lap had clawed our way back to 4th place, largely by virtue of sailing around the upturned hulls of other competitors. The sun shone bright and low in the sky, the white horses threw sparkles on the water all around, and the 3 sail reaches were glorious. Ahead was Bob Morris with Paul, and we were in with a chance of picking them off. Then, at the top of the last beat, their top rudder pintle sheared off (how we laughed). So they plodded off slowly homewards and we sailed past them and into 3rd place, now with a chance of overtaking Badders for 2nd. We gave it maximum power, death or glory style, but when we gybed at the next mark our rudder came off, bending our bottom pintle in the process. And it wouldn't go back on. So we plodded off slowly homewards, and Badders kept 2nd with Pete Wood getting 'our' 3rd place. OK, not the best of results, but the racing was soooo excellent that it really didn't matter at all.