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Rounds 1 & 2 of the DF TT event held at West Kirby

It has taken a while but at last I am thawed out enough after the Southport TT.  Ice on a salt water pond is not a common occurrence in tropical UK, and especially not for the likes of us that grew up in sunnier climates.

It is safe to say that the 2019 TT got off to a great start with big entries for both days and with the cold weather tempered by a very warm welcome from WLYC. Some great racing which we report on in this email and it was fantastic to see a number of new names on the heat board.  It took a while for some of the new folk to get to grips with the vagaries of HMS but judging by the smiles on their faces as the weekend went on they will be back.

We look forward to the next TT at Gosport in March and you will also find the NOR for the DF95 Nationals at Eastbourne.
Last by no means least we would like to appeal to you to ensure that your boats comply with the rules when you race them .  John and his rules committee work hard to make the class as fair as possible for old salts and newbies alike and when we flout or twist the rules to our advantage we are doing the class a disservice .

So there are many things that you’d expect from a trip to West Lancs, great hospitality, a superb lunch from the galley, some great racing and one or two other things besides. However on arrival at the club this morning for the first round of the DF Racing UK TT Series we certainly weren’t expecting to find a frozen lake and no breeze

As it turned out the “hard” water was actually more slushy water but in the end it was the lack of breeze that held up the racing on what turned out to be a really rather nice February day. Although it was initially a chilly start the sun shone brightly and warmed things up and by 10am we managed a briefing to explain the delay. As John Tushingham finished his quick chat to the fleet about boat prep the club wind indicator started spinning, albeit slowly, and the breeze started to appear.

35 boats pitched up for the racing and after a reasonable delay PRO Tim Long had a starboard rounding course set and by 10.50am we were ready to hold the seeding race. Much like last season it was the usual suspects at the front with Derek Priestley and Buzz Coleman winning the two heats. The wind was forecast to clock round through the day so there was some course faff which was sorted out by Alan and Colin who braved the cold and spent much time moving marks throughout the day. A quick tweak after the seeding race and a reschedule of the heat board by the ever efficient Judith and we were off with races two and three which Buzz took with Nigel Brown in second spot and Derek and John tush taking third spots.

Another course tweak and races 4 and 5 saw Derek in top spot with John Brierley and Ken Binks taking seconds and Mick “ooh have you seen my new car” Chamberlain and JT taking thirds. With the wind still clocking slightly we had another tweak of the course which allowed more traditional port roundings possible and this made it a little better again and we were into race 6 where Buzz was back at the top once more with JB and JT in second and third.

It wasn’t until race 7 that JT found his mojo and took a race win from Derek and JB and it was to be his only win of the day. Perhaps he hadn’t had enough red wine on Friday evening, maybe breakfast didn’t fill him up, whatever it was it seemed that JT was having a rare off day. Race 8 saw Derek at the top of the pile with Nigel in second and Buzz in third.

The final race, 9, saw JB take a win with Lincoln’s Dave Burke in second and Peter Baldwin in third spot to round off the day.

In the end it was Derek that took the win from Buzz by just a single point, 14 to 15, JB sailed a solid day to finish third on 23 points with JT in fourth on…..wait for it ……..23 points. Fifth spot was Nigel on…..23 points too, some epic countback for those three spots.

As ever in the DF65 fleet the close racing was all the way up and down the fleet, with my personal highlight being Ralph Wilkinson sailing an amazing B fleet race and making it up to A fleet, not too shabby for someone who is 83 years of age

By race four most had realised that this was the case and learning from the previous race John Brierley took the win from a somewhat off colour Buzzzzzz Coleman and Ken Binks.

By now the wind had begun to clock round and getting a clean start was becoming a very important part of your race and if you could find clear air you were winning. Derek did this in race five having recovered from B fleet with Dave and Tim not far behind in second and third.

Race six was one of two halves, the B fleet sailed the original course however it wasn’t right so PRO Tushy made the decision to move the course to the bank outside the clubhouse, a good call indeed, it made sighting everything just that bit easier for all involved. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and perhaps if the course had been shifted over the lunch break we might have got to eight races and two discards rather than just seven and one. No matter, the new course was good and the wind was building…..why is this always the way, the best sailing is always at the end of the day!

Ken took the line from JB and Dave Burke.

The final race of the day saw the wind build even more during the B heat, boats fell over, people couldn’t tack and the wind didn’t leave us for the A fleet either, PRO Tush even gave the fleet 5 minutes to change rigs if they wanted to. A couple did and it really paid for Gordon Bailiff who scored a 4th place finish in the last race of the day. Derek, Peter and Chris More, also sporting a B suit took the top three spots.

So that was it, an earlier finish to Sunday’s racing to allow the travellers to do just that, and with skippers from all corners of the UK, from Scotland to Gosport and Abersoch to East Kent I reckon we had it covered.

With four wins it was Derek that took the day but only on countback from John Brierley as they were both tied on 18 points. a handful of points behind these two was Tim Long in third on 25 with Dave Burke in fourth spot one 29 and Peter Baldwin just one point adrift on 30.

Full results may be found HERE

Once again there was an element of surprise in the Sunday morning as the assembled DF95 skippers were greeted by another dose of “hard” water, perhaps a bit harder than yesterdays water too. Luckily Alan was on hand in the ice breaking rescue boat and after a half hour or so of blatting around the lake with varying degrees of crunching he had broken the majority of the ice into tiny bits and we were ready to go racing.

Race officer Tushingham was in charge today and after a briefing and some course setting the 35 skippers were ready to go racing. As yesterday we were in two fleets but the course was a tricky beat out into the lake with a difficult windward mark and spreader which caused issues throughout the day for both fleets.

So, top rig equipped the fleets took to the water for the seeding race which saw Derek take up where he left off yesterday and Dave Burke take the win.

Race two saw the racing take the usual A & B fleet form with the top six from B fleet being promoted to A fleet and then the bottom six from the A fleet race being demoted back to B fleet. A tough bouncy day for some skippers who braved the cold more than anyone.Peter Baldwin took the win with Dave Burke looking strong in second with Mark Dicks in third spot.

Race three saw Derek take the win from Tim Long and John Brierley.

The sun was out and began to make the difficult windward mark even harder for the skippers, it was a long way out and difficult to judge the layline, you either overstood by a country mile or you tacked too early, didn’t make it, tacked again onto port and collected the starboard boats. The key to success in these conditions was to go with the overstand and foot off and blast round the windward mark usually leaving a muddle of boats behind you

By race four most had realised that this was the case and learning from the previous race John Brierley took the win from a somewhat off colour Buzzzzzz Coleman and Ken Binks.

By now the wind had begun to clock round and getting a clean start was becoming a very important part of your race and if you could find clear air you were winning. Derek did this in race five having recovered from B fleet with Dave and Tim not far behind in second and third.

Race six was one of two halves, the B fleet sailed the original course however it wasn’t right so PRO Tushy made the decision to move the course to the bank outside the clubhouse, a good call indeed, it made sighting everything just that bit easier for all involved. Hindsight is a wonderful thing and perhaps if the course had been shifted over the lunch break we might have got to eight races and two discards rather than just seven and one. No matter, the new course was good and the wind was building…..why is this always the way, the best sailing is always at the end of the day!

Ken took the line from JB and Dave Burke.

The final race of the day saw the wind build even more during the B heat, boats fell over, people couldn’t tack and the wind didn’t leave us for the A fleet either, PRO Tush even gave the fleet 5 minutes to change rigs if they wanted to. A couple did and it really paid for Gordon Bailiff who scored a 4th place finish in the last race of the day. Derek, Peter and Chris More, also sporting a B suit took the top three spots.

So that was it, an earlier finish to Sunday’s racing to allow the travellers to do just that, and with skippers from all corners of the UK, from Scotland to Gosport and Abersoch to East Kent I reckon we had it covered.

With four wins it was Derek that took the day but only on countback from John Brierley as they were both tied on 18 points. a handful of points behind these two was Tim Long in third on 25 with Dave Burke in fourth spot one 29 and Peter Baldwin just one point adrift on 30.

Full results may be found HERE.

Respecting the Rules of the Classes

It was great to see so many new faces to the DF TT series at West Lancs.

A casual inspection of all boats was undertaken by our class rules committee and only a couple of minor issues were found and they were swiftly rectified by the boat owners. The gentlemen from the rules committee will also be undertaking a similar inspection at the Gosport TT to check that all boats are class rules compliant at this early stage of the season.

Mike Weston will be on hand to assist with any minor, or major, rectifications found necessary, but it would be good practice to have a read through our simple set of rules and give your boat a quick check before the event.

If You Enter an Event and Cannot Make the Start…

I am sure that everyone appreciates the effort that is put in to authorising an event  and this work starts with making sure that they are prepared for the arrival and racing of the entrants.

Sometimes it happens that a entrant is not able to make it on the day for any number of reasons, but can we please appeal to you to make contact with the race team by whatever means you can as soon and your participation is in doubt.  This gives them time to re-juggle the fleets, adjust the catering etc etc

Next DF TT Event:

TT Rounds 3 & 4 at Gosport on 23/24 March

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