Report by Peter Shepherd
After a short dalliance with the idea of sailing from the preferred Two Islands’ sailing area the area known as Paul’s spit was chosen to give the best opportunity for some consistent winds for the skippers, this involved a bit of shipping equipment to the area however it did negate much of the effect of the west islands would have on the course, hopefully the promised trimming of the vegetation will happen soon.
Twenty skippers arrived in good order to commence sailing, with a variety of hull designs and sail combinations as befits a development class, the course was set as an upwind leg around the upwind buoy taken as a port rounding this was pushed out as far as it was comfortable to see, followed by a spreader also to port, down to a downwind gate in the gap between the East Island and the bank, where due to the funnel effect this creates some of the strongest winds of the day were, back to the first rounding, once more to the gate and over a shortened start line to finish.
The wind started off light to moderate and switching from Westerly to West-South-Westerly during the course of the day this built into a moderate to strong and moved around to West-North-West and on occasions North-Westerly. It was apparent from the start that opportunities were there for all the skippers to try to pick the wind and gain an advantage of a race win however two skippers stood out both sailing a Scurry, although from different ends of the country and with different Bermuda rig attributes John Tushingham and Alex Cory traded the leaders spot for most of the event being separated by just a point or two for most of it until a couple of incidents in the last few races caught Alex out and John moved ahead eventually winning by 5 points. Elsewhere in the fleet Toby Laux took a couple of notable wins with his Nuraghe and Nigel Brown also a Scurry, this time swing rigged got the favourable wind lift of the day to come home first in race 13.
The wider wind range conditions suited the Bermuda rigged slightly better, with the Swing rigged yachts, which went well when the wind was lighter, being unable to lose the wind easily in the stronger conditions where they were seen to frequently broach downwind. As the day went on a number of skippers including the leaders benefited from going down a rig size.
Further back in the fleet four Dragon Force skippers Keith Coxon from the host club, Clive Bardell, and husband and wife Robert & Katherine Craddox from Watermead raced for the top DF65 skipper honours. The vast experience of Keith paying dividends, and the reward of a prize at the end of the day, over the relative inexperience of the Craddoxs this being only their second event at this level, hopefully the advice the race team tried to give served to help rather than confuse.
Last but not least thanks must go to all the race team who ably assisted on the day and to Keith Coxon & Geoff Raygada who put in a lot of effort with the setting up and prior to the event.