On the run up to this event the weather forecast said high winds and not an inconsiderable quantity of rain. This led to several emails between the Bournville team and us, swinging between it’s looking very rough and possibly dangerous, to it does not look too bad and we should wait until the Saturday before making the final decision. The race team were in contact with the skippers and a few decided that they would cancel their entry. A final look at the Bourn (the stream between the boathouse and the lake) on Saturday and the level was not going to be an issue so the committee decided that the event would go ahead as planned, this was sent out to all skippers and posted onto the MD website.
On arriving at the club, the conditions looked quite reasonable, a good westerly possibly around the top end of A suit, and a light drizzle. Robin was taking the booking in and we ended up with an entry of 15, which considering the challenges it was good. With the water boiler on and everyone getting a brew all decided to rig up with their B suits. Phil W called everyone together in the clubhouse and explained that he would run as a single fleet but advising people to give enough room to manoeuvre. The course in the end was a standard Bournville setup with the start line down at the narrow end and windward in the broad end, so we had a windward leeward course with a splitter and downwind gate. This lasted the whole day, just with the usual Bournville challenges of the wind coming from all directions at time.
The racing got away promptly at 10:00am and after 2 races, it became apparent that the top of the lake was relatively calm whilst down the far end you were sailing hard under the B rig. The skippers with the best boat handling were able to pull a gap on the others and spread the fleet out.
After race 5 Phil called a break and we all gathered for a brew, a few of the skippers decided that they could handle the A rig in these conditions and so took the opportunity to make a change. Back on the lake and it was apparent if you could handle the boat in the gusts the top rigs extra power at the top end of the lake made the difference. I looked at the Windy.com weather forecast for Bournville and it still showed a wind speed of 21mph with gusts of up to 40mph, that is not what we were experiencing on the lake, the trees in the woods nearby were bending quite a lot though and so it appeared that most of the strong wind was over 20mtrs high.
After lunch John and Liz took over the race management duties, with all of the fleet now on their A rigs, and would you believe it this is when the wind speed increased, the runs were now getting interesting to say the least, sorry I don’t have any pictures of the boats broaching as by the time I got the camera out of the pocket the boats had righted and were quickly heading downwind again.
John Ind’s rig looked a little floppy and when he bought it back to the bank one of the shrouds was off and the spreader out, this happens but when we were trying to reattach the shroud the wire at the bottom of the bottle-screw where it is bent had sheared off. He then decided to retire for the day. By the end race 12 Darin noticed that the jib luff wire needed some attention and so he retired from race 13, Phil G also retired from the event at this time with his back playing up. So, we were now down to 12, all staying in their top suit and handling the gust far better now, the best of all was Chris H with 6 wins in the last 7 races. A new boat a Kantun 2 being sailed by Noel D which he only picked up at Christmas won it’s first race at R14. I got to sail this boat for a while, and it handled nicely. John B was also sailing a Kantun 2 and he took a race win at R8 then featured I the top 4 for the rest of the races. Having completed 16 races which gave everyone three discards John called an end to the event and all boats returned to the boat house to de-rig, the kettle was still on as well. Most of us were tired by then so were glad to finish, the scores were calculated, and prizes presented. See the final scores and positions here: IOMMDWCS2019-2020R5BournvilleRS&MBC
Thank to Phil, John, Liz, Pete, Robin and anyone I missed, for putting the event on, this allowed us to complete 5 races in this winter’s Midland District IOM series, and the series results will follow.
Pictures by Bill Green & Gordon.