To misquote T.S.Eliot (horribly) :
‘A cold coming they had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a sail, and such a hard sail:
The water cold and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
Actually, the sailing wasn’t that hard, but the weather was sharp. It wasn’t only cold, it looked cold . . . grey in any direction.
Seven boats took to the water for this race: five Lasers, one Enterprise and a 420, with all sailors well protected against the chill. The course set was somewhat like an inverted isosceles triangle with two long edges and a short one that boats went round twice on each lap. The wind was from the east swinging sometimes to south-east and at slightly less strength than predicted. The original length of four laps was shortened to three after the first lap so that the race would last approx. one hour.
A clean start saw the field speeding to the first buoy in a couple of minutes, then bunching up as they completed the first ‘sausage’. There was a difference in tactics on the return leg with Renato, Allan & Steph, Joe and Jamie swinging over to the west bank while Jane, Amy and Joao & Sina stayed more to the centre. Soon it became clear that those who had chosen the bank had better wind, and there was a clear split in the field. All boats took this course in the remaining laps.
The third buoy proved to be the biggest technical challenge and it was in the approach to this buoy, on the second lap, that the field closed up in a sudden and temporary drop in wind, and most boats were in relatively close proximity for the first time since the start. And then the wind freshened and they were off on their final round.
Results after corrected time :
1st: Allan & Steph, Enterprise
2nd: Renato, Laser full
3rd: Joe, Laser full
No-one capsized (thankfully). Special thanks to Ray and Polly who remained alert at all times in the cold weather. Thanks also to Amy for after-sail freshly baked apple strudel – Yum!