Report by Richard Rowan
16 skippers were welcomed to the briefing by Race Officer Robert Rooney on a pleasant day with a good number 2 breeze from the west. The fleet included 3 skippers from Ireland, Brian and Terence O’Neill from Northern Ireland and Gilbert Louis from Howth near Dublin, and one skipper from the North East – David Ross.
To get things going, Robert set a windward / leeward course across the southern shore of the Barshaw Lake. With the general wind direction not changing much during the day, the course remained unchanged throughout the day. Robert also choose to run the event using two heats.
Richard Rowan sailing his elderly Italiko and Brian O’Neill sailing his fluorescent orange MX14 won their respective seeding races in what might be described as tricky conditions – a lot of big wind shifts, a lot of big squalls and a slight bend in the wind at the top end of the course which frequently favoured an approach to the windward mark from the port lay line. The wind strength was not quite enough to suit number 3 rigs other than for John Matheson who really sprinted away from the start line in his seeding race sailing his dark blue Brit Pop with his number 3 rig set.
And so the scene was set for some difficult and challenging racing. Not only were the wind shifts causing difficulty in getting the beats right, but the starting line was also challenging. Quite often, the wind direction at the start resulted in the line being quite biased to the port end which of course was also the end next to the bank. Some port flyers were seen but often what looked like a potential port end start would be cut off by the fleet coming down the line on starboard.
Over the course of the morning, the score sheet shows that it was difficult for any skipper to maintain good placings – all the top skippers had one or more poor results, apart from Bruce Davidson sailing his wooden Ska and Hugh Shields sailing his McShee mark xxxx… who were both putting together a series of good results. Chris Nichols from Levenhall sailing a Widget originally owned by John Mason also managed a couple of good placings.
Lunch time saw a small increase in mean wind strength and a significant increase in the strength of the gusts. So, the skippers then had to contend with their boats nose diving on the runs as really vicious squalls came through at regular intervals.
After lunch, a ding dong battle was emerging between Richard Rowan and Gilbert Louis which eventually ended with the two skippers having equal points but with Richard having the higher discards and coming out as the winner. Bruce Davidson wasn’t too far behind in third place. 4th and 5th places were tied on corrected points between Chris Nichols and Hugh Shields with the tie being resolved in favour of Chris Nichols. That left Hugh thinking about boat construction as he had suffered a minor boat problem over the last 2 races resulting in a couple of high scores.
|1st||Richard Rowan||Greenock MY&PBC||24||Italiko|
|2nd||Gilbert Louis||Howth YC||26||Goth XP|
|3rd||Bruce Davidson||Ayr Bay RYC||30||Ska|
|4th||Chris Nichols||Levenhall RYC||43||Widget|
|5th||Hugh Shields||Greenock MY&PBC||43||McShee|
|6th||David Stewart||Tayside RYC||45||Viper|