Gavin Watson wins the first of the SWD Summer Series sailed @ Longham Lakes
Photo courtesy of Mike Millard
Read the report below submitted by Andrew Cherrett and then view some of Mike Millards brilliant photos by viewing on the link:
Sunday morning presented a challenge for the race team at PRYC – with winds gusting in excess of 50mph, large waves and a WNW forecast for winds to remain around this strength for most of the day – it was difficult to move racing marks in these conditions. Fortunately a test sail found the pre-set course was just about sailable on storm rigs. A few helms cancelled due to weather and other reasons, and the usual 2 fleet entry was reduced to 12 boats.
All helms wisely opted for storm rigs and no one changed up all day. The mornings racing was occasionally suspended as strong gusts came through but my lunch 7 races had been completed on a WNW course with the only change being to move the leeward mark away from the lee shore. Racing was very sporting with all helms coping well in the conditions and remarkably few gear failures in such testing conditions. One of the days favourites, Josh King, unfortunately suffered a hull crack in a racing incident at the leeward mark forcing him to retire after only one race. Bob Conner lost his jib following an incident with the blue mark taking him out for a couple of races. Nigel Clark also joined him on the same mark but suffered no damage.
Craig Richard, 21, won the first race with his own design Greyhound and despite being pressed by Tony Edwards, sailing 88, and Gavin Watson, 44, Craig held onto first place at the lunch break with a series of consistent top 3 places. Tony sailing an unfamiliar Britpop and contending with a winch that occasionally decided to misbehave did well to hold second place and Gavin after a slightly poor start began to put in some good results and lay in 3rd place. The beat to the windward mark from the start seemed to favour a port approach as starboard approaching boats struggled to make the rounding without having to put in another tack. This led to some incidents as port boats took avoiding action and boats stalled or missed the mark. The second beat gave more opportunity to try different tactics although there did not appear to be any clear advantage to any particular approach.
After lunch the winds reduced very slightly and the hailstorm was replaced with weak sunshine. The fleet was reduced to 9 and the battle between 21, 88 and 44 with Bob Conner joining in restarted. Gavin Watson had the most consistent afternoon winning 3 of the last 4 races. Tony Edwards also had 3 wins in the afternoon. The final results had Gavin Watson in first place, Tony Edwards second, Craig Richards third and Bob Conner fourth. Poole’s Jim McGregor did well to secure 6th place having just arrived back in the UK off a long-haul flight and thinking he was there for a morning club racing!
Thanks to the PRYC team for first class race management and providing hot drinks and food which were most welcome and needed throughout the day. From a initial forecast that suggested that little or no racing would be possible, 16 races were completed so a good outcome especially for those who had driven some distance to compete.
Thanks to Peter Wiles for going out in the safety boat to rescue boats in the most arduous conditions. Finally congratulations to Garwin Watson for winning the day and making the long trip from West Cornwall worthwhile.
Andy Cherrett – PRO”