Sunday Dinghy Racing – June 3

As the drought continued, one of the best turn-outs of the season so far found up to 18 dinghies lining up to enjoy a warm afternoon in a gentle, if at times unpredictable, north westerly F2-F3. The standard course for the 1st race saw a long drag to the windward mark at No5, although as the target neared there were some very tricky gusts and shifts to catch out the unwary. Likewise the “best” course proved difficult to find at times, occasionally catching out even the most experienced sailors as they looked for any advantage in the crowded fleet.
In these conditions it was always going to be difficult to beat the light-wind specialists, although a batch of 3 Streakers set out with high hopes along with a brace of Supernovas, Your Correspondent having been accused – unfairly he thinks – of misguiding Tony Burnett on how correctly to set up his rig. The reason for Tony’s lacklustre performance must have been the sheer volume of reservoir carried inside the hull of #452. In fairness the dinghy stayed upright all afternoon, as did all the other competitors, although not all stayed dry: Rob Trevor’s dismount from Laser to jetty was not witnessed by many, but he did commit the cardinal mistake of explaining his error within hearing of the wrong person. Evidently, before stepping off the deck to tie up to the jetty it is wise to untie the painter from around the mast.
Race 1 saw good close-quarter racing throughout between Kevin Holmes (Streaker) and Team Holden (Ben & Sam) in the RS200, eventually crossing the line 5 seconds apart to take the first two places, just ahead of Mike Palmer’s Supernova that headed the field home on the water. At the other end the Sprints struggled badly, the light winds favouring the mono-hulls.
The second race, displaying a complete lack of imagination, ended up with the same result, although entirely as a result of Your Correspondent’s munificence in taking the wrong turning at No8, thereby seizing defeat from the jaws of victory, having held an apparently unassailable lead in the closing stages of the final lap. However the starting line offered an unusual challenge to one sailor who, waiting for the start gun on the pin end, was confronted by an unknown – except to its helm! – Laser crossing the line in the wrong direction. On port. Never a dull moment at Warley Moor. And it was good to see some new blood on the starting line, with Rob Trevor & his son Laurie graduating from Saturday sailing to Sunday Series racing, and both showing potential.
The final race saw a dozen competitors lining up. From the start line the fleet divided, with most heading towards the centre of the pond and what seemed to be cleaner wind, while a group of 3 stayed on the bank, taking advantage of shifts to make steady progress towards No6. This may have been the better tactic since those 3 – Mike Palmer, Kevin Holmes and Tim Hartley (Laser Radial) eventually took the podium positions in that order, followed by Team Holden and then, an unusual sight at the Club, a double-hander piloted by Henry Goodman and Steve Tunnacliffe in the Club Wayfarer. It seems that Tim’s replacement mast took a little time to bed in, as his placings improved from 5th to 4th, and finally a third. If only we’d sailed twice more!
Thanks go to Colin Vickerman as OD, ably assisted by George Oxley, and to Charles & Stuart Watson on safety boat.