It was safe to say the wind forecast for the Inlands was not great, in fact it was terrible, a forecast the fair weather sailor in me would normally be put off by. But for some reason, despite the lack of 15 knots, team Fluorescent Adolescent were actually looking forward to this event if not for the sailing, just for the social!
Arriving at Datchet we were greeted by familiar faces; Barnsie and super crew Char in the all new 788 Gull/North Sails, Dan and crew Al who was still visibly mourning the loss of his helm to the moth fleet in 768, Carl and Guy Raynes in Carbon Yachting, class stalwarts Barry and Al who were taking some well earnt time off from riding bikes and what ever it is that Barry does (I'm still yet to work it out), Alan and Kathy in 787, El president Wattsy and crew union leader (Mr Weights and Measures) Bishy in Donkey 791 and the return of Tony Blackmore with all new crew Gi in 764.
And so to the racing. Despite the very visible lack of wind each team rigged and got ready to hit the water. To wear sun cream or not to wear sun cream was very much the question of the day, 18 degrees, little wind and full on sunshine led to a very hot day on the water. With all boats on the water and blurring the lines between drifting and sailing around the committee boat, Race 1 got underway. Barnsie in 788 got a clean start from the pin end closely followed by 735 both in clear air with the rest of the fleet spread out closer to the committee boat. 788, 735 and Dan and Al in 768 slowly (very slowly) pulled away from the fleet. 788 hit the windward mark first followed by 768 then 735. Its at this point I would like to say as helm of 735 I'm not that accustomed to being this close to the front, and normally complain about the lack of report coverage of the back of the fleet. I'm beginning to understand why, I quite simply haven't got t a clue what happened behind us i was too shocked with our position to take it in. Suffice to say we managed 2 laps in various states of sailing/drifting. Apparently Barry and Al took a liking to the spreader mark and decided to check it out from various angles on lap 2 taking them 4th to last in one painful swoop. Race 1 went to Barnsie and Char with Dan and Al hot on their heels in 2nd, 735 3rd.
Race 2 saw a massive bunch up at the committee boat end of the start with various boats slowly getting forced the wrong side of the committee boat, those with some resemblance of clear air got off to a good start and went straight up the middle of the course. Tony and Gi had a fantastic beat heading right which paid off with them leading around the windward mark closely followed by 768 and 788. I believe Barnsie also spotted the same thing Barry did on the spreader mark int eh previous race and opted to take a quick look at it in closer detail. The rest of the fleet noticing this, cheered in appreciation for his diligence and thoroughness in checking each mark of the course to ensure the rest of the fleet could pass without hindrance. He was rewarded with turns. Despite this, at the leeward mark it was all to play for with 791 moving through the fleet. The second beat saw 787 and 2 go hard right with the rest of the fleet opting for the middle of the course. This gamble paid off and 787 rounded the windward mark in pole position. The downwind leg was filled with holes in the wind making sailing hard work and temperatures on board the boats soar. It was these rising temperatures which must have gotten too much for my crew Kate as halfway down the leg she decided the water was a better place to be and slipped slowly off the fordeck into the chilly Datchet waters. A quick dip was all she needed and was quickly back on the boat. To some this may have looked like an accident for it caused much laughter amongst the 505 fleet who were frustratingly sailing past us at this point. Race 2 ended with 787 taking 1st place, 788 2nd and 791 in 3rd.
At this point the wind completely shut off, we drifted around in hope of a 3rd race. Carl and Guy decided to test the buoyancy of their B14 - turns out she just won't pitchpole even with both of you dancing around on the fordeck. All further racing was eventually cancelled and we all headed for shore for drinks and the RWC final followed by a curry in Datchet and the pub for the rest of the evening.
Sunday dawned a cold and misty day, I didn't think it possible but there was actually even less breeze at the club than the day before. Cue boat bimbling, tea drinking and discussions of pedalo racing. Racing was postponed with a decision made at 11:30 am to cancel for the day.
It wasn't the best weekend for wind, but im certainly glad we made the effort as it was a fantastic event, great to catch up with the fleet and good practice for the forth coming Seavolution Winter Series.
See you all at the next event.
|Rank||Fleet||Boat||Class||SailNo||Club||HelmName||CrewName||Rating||Race 1||Race 2||Total||Nett|
|1st||B14||Gill/Noth Sails||B14||788||Whistable SC||Mark Barnes||Charlotte Jones||872||1.0||2.0||3.0||3.0|
|2nd||B14||Troublegum||B14||772||Weston SC||Alan Davies||Kathy Sherratt||872||4.0||1.0||5.0||5.0|
|3rd||B14||Marlow||B14||769||Burghfield Sc||Dan Cowin||Allan Stuart||872||2.0||4.0||6.0||6.0|
|4th||B14||Flying Donkey||B14||791||Weston SC||Mark Watts||Chris Bishop||872||5.0||3.0||8.0||8.0|
|5th||B14||Flourecent Adolescent||B14||735||Netley||Tom Gatehouse||Kate Wardle||872||3.0||5.0||8.0||8.0|
|6th||B14||Carbon Yachting||B14||2||Netley||Carl Raynes||Guyt Raynes||872||6.0||6.0||12.0||12.0|
|7th||B14||B14||764||Starcross||Tony Blackmore||Guy Harper||872||7.0||7.0||14.0||14.0|
|8th||B14||B14||766||Grafham||Barry Price||Al Storer||872||8.0||9.0 DNF||17.0||17.0|
Photos copyright Tim Ollins