Sunday 6th March.
Despite the forecast and the sunshine, the weather was Baltic – much colder than it seemed and a wind with attitude! Blowing pretty stiff and sort of from the North, but changeable and blustery – easily enough to catch the unwary. There were murmurs that the safety boat might have a busy day!
Allan the sage advised on a triangle course and (to some minds optimistically) suggested 7 laps as everyone would race quickly – if the fleet spent most of the time climbing back out of the water, we could always shorten it. (Allan also suggested that being 7, it would be an extra challenge for the sailors to remember how many laps they’d done!) The briefing included clear instructions on how any shortening of the race would be communicated through sirens and horn blasts. We were prepared for the worst!
Nine hardy and intrepid sailors prepared for racing, while new member Nigel, (with Jane S-H as experienced crew) decided to re-acquaint himself with the joys of Enterprise sailing, without the pressure of racing.
Before the race even started, another new member, Jane Watkins’s Gull, had lost steerage and a bung, and was starting to sink, while drifting upriver – so the safety boat assisted, taking her the right side of the line while she bailed and stopped the leak (a well-prepared sailor, with a spare bung!).
It was a fast start for most, as RO Sara Bennett and Ellie Hanning, dropped the flag, but poor Jane W was still struggling to get her boat to behave. Try as she might, her Gull was stubbornly refusing to play ball, and just drifted disconsolately into the shoreside, so Jane decided to retire early to investigate/sort the problem ready for next time.
The rest of the fleet were by now zipping round the course, after a wind shift had changed the intended beat-leg to a single tack. The wind was sheltered on the downwind leg along the wall – but still blustery on the others.
James Channer at one stage decided his sail was too dry, so dipped it in the water (while staying dry himself), but other than that the race seemed to go fairly smoothly. The safety boat crew of Giles Harrison, Bora Dirik and his son, enjoyed a pleasant pootle as the weather actually warmed up and the wind calmed down.
In fact, it was so nice by the end that Jakob Grunig decided to do an 8th lap! Or maybe he fell into Allan’s wily trap. James, despite his wet sail, crossed the line first, closely followed by Peter Mack and Dan Bignold, with Henry Cook and Allan M-F not far behind. Patrick Hughes, Jakob and Elaine Agius were slowed by the dying winds, and brought up the rear. Some clever mathematical shenanigans by guru Sara in the Race Box meant that on corrected time, Peter snuck into top spot, with James and Allan also on the podium.