15 skippers turned up to this the first round of the 2021-2022 Midland District IOM…
Sunday 10th October started much brighter and a definite improvement to the wind strength, when I arrived around 8:00am there was movement on the water and a promise of better things to come.
Once the control cabin was open and the kettle put on, the outboard motor was attached to the rescue boat and Darin and the boat team were setting out the course, the wind had swung around and so we were now sailing left to right towards the dinghy club house where again three marks had been placed to form the windward buoys and offset mark.
John S (PRO) called the skippers for a briefing at 9:15am and explained that he intended to keep things running today to try and make up some of the lost time from yesterday, he would allow a short break for skippers to change batteries when needed and a lunch break, otherwise the intention was to run straight through to 16:00. Because the start line needed to be viewed from the control area a new buoy had been added downwind from the starboard end start line mark, this was placed so that the boats had to leave it to starboard when entering the starting area almost eliminating the bunch at the pin end and boats reaching down the line. If you crossed the line between the two starboard end marks you had to round the leeward one to re-enter the start area. Whilst it does not eliminate completely a group of boats at the starboard end it certainly stopped the diving in at the mark when the gun went.
A new race finish team were briefed, and we were away again at 9:30am. The first race of the day went to Rob Walsh with his Lightening, closely followed home by Peter Wiles sailing his Sweet 10 design. There was some close racing at times with several boats approaching the windward mark together, pinching here was a mistake as the wind was light around the top marks and you tended to lose way which resulted in a few buoy contacts being called. The top boats were slightly overstanding the mark and coming in with speed which left them with manoeuvring momentum and a straight reach to the spreader mark. It was possible to make or lose quite a lot of distance just around this part of the course. There was a nice wide downwind gate and dependant on which mark you took paid off on the following beat. Rounding to starboard and you headed out towards the island and what looked like sailing free, rounding to port and heading back towards the control area you were lifting on port, and it appeared that you were gaining on the other boats. This all changed though as once the boats coming towards the control area tacked onto starboard, they appeared to be headed, whilst the boats over towards the island were lifting on port. This allowed for plenty of tactical options where the right choice had a big difference on your finishing position.
John S called a halt for lunch at 12:40 saying that the next start would be called up at 13:00, just time to change batteries and get a brew, which was free all weekend long thanks to the Manor Park RSC. The skippers were quite happy to have a short time to rest their legs and grab a sandwich.
We started again on time and a really close battle then ensued between Graham Bantock and Peter Wiles which lasted a further 12 races, and the Championship was only decided in the last few races of the day when Graham continued with his consistent scoring and Peter had a few high scores that were going to be his discards, this unfortunately left him holding a few mid fleet places from earlier on, his final race was a RET as for some reason his receiver sent a signal that said it had switched off, and so he needed the services of the rescue boat.
Race winners were Graham Bantock (9), Peter Wiles (5), Rob Walsh (4), Shaun Holbeche (2), Darin Ballington (1) & Nick Martin (1) from the 22 completed races over the two days, which is good considering the first day we only completed 3. The HMS final results are here: 2021MYA-AClass-NationalChampionship
So, thanks to the skippers for their co-operation in keeping the Sunday going at a pace, and to John Smith and the Manor Park RSC team for again hosting a MYA National Championship in what is a very condensed season.