22 skippers gathered for Round 5 of the Travellers’ Series. The forecast was for slightly overcast conditions, which turned out to be much the case during the day with some sunny spells, and later on a slight drizzle developed but which blew through.
The breeze started from WSW at about 8 knots, and using the Gosport North Lake, Race Officer, Chris Durant, initially set a one lap windward beat, spreader, leeward gate and beat to the finish line. The start line was relatively straightforward to set but the trees (and gaps between them) at the western end of the lake made for some interesting challenges at the windward mark.
After the seeding races, which as it transpired very much set the pattern of results for the day a second leg was installed.
Seeding race B fleet saw a close finish between Jez Collier with his Scurry and Nigel Brown’s same design. A fleet seeding saw Tobi Laux pip Alex Cory to the win.
It later became obvious that the wind, as well as shifting occasionally more from the South, then back again to WSW, was gradually increasing in strength and as the day progressed went through the 12 knot barrier gusting to 16/18.
Although with very few rig changes, there were some instances of electrical problems but two fleets remained through the day with finally 18 boats staying the course.
Race 2 saw a tight battle continuing between Jez and Nigel with Ken Binks easing past Trevor Binks and Vernon Appleton into 3rd. This would be Vernon’s last serious race as electrical issues bugged him until his final retirement.
Trevor turned the tables on Jez and Tobi in Race 3 with Jez, Nigel, Ken and Trevor returning to their order in Race 4. Some of the finishes were very close with the occasional shift bringing separation.
Races 4 and 5 led to the lunch break with Jez and Nigel taking 1 & 2 again.
Whatever they had for their lunch seemed to change things for in Races 6,7 and 8, Nigel won each with Jez having his worst spell including a 6th and 3rd place. By now the wind was filling in and the gusts reaching the 18 knot mark.
Further down the fleets Bob Pearson was making gradual progress with his one day old DF65 and worked his way into A fleet in race 8.
Clive Cokayne was doing something similar to Bob by working his way gradually up the A fleet ranks such that his scores from race 7 onwards with nothing below a 5th place, whilst not seriously challenging the leading 3, pulled himself up to an overall 5th place.
Jez returned two 1st places in Races 9 and 10 and with Nigel getting caught by a big gust at the leeward gate skewing him the wrong side of the mark, he was not able to make any more of a last race challenge.
So after 20 heats of racing, undertaken in splendid spirit of sportsmanship Jez Collier came home first, 2nd was Nigel Brown, 3rd Tobi Laux, 4th Trevor Binks and 5th Clive Cokayne. The leading DF65 skipper was Bob Pearson.
John Smith (Scorer)