Monday, April 14, 2014
24 boats including 13 visitors made the recent weekend open meeting at Bewl Valley SC the best turnout for some years. Last year the conditions were bitterly cold, this year the weather was fantastic for sailing, with mild and moderate breeze forecast and delivered from the South – South West on both days.
The race officer set trapezoid courses for the 5 races run over the weekend - The beats were often very challenging; Pin bias on every start bar one recalled start, extra pressure on the left some of the time but good shifts middle right. The breeze would then get pretty funky near the top mark meaning a last minute re-shuffle of the pack!
Initially the trapezoid courses looked like they would not offer much tactical challenge downwind, however this was not the case. The first reach was broad enough to hoist, with pressure lines generally condensing the boats into a GRP raft at the turn mark. Sometimes it paid to gybe straight onto the run, other times it paid to stand on into the shore line and hold the gybe. The last reach was perfectly set as a tantalizing choice between kite or no kite to the bottom mark, with teams often getting hammered by gusts and dropping kites mid leg as they veered off toward the dam wall!
The racing was fantastic fun with plenty of nip & tuck up and down the fleet. So much so that a very unfortunate competitor with a brand new boat was holed in the final race of Saturday. This very affable gentleman and longtime FF owner took the collision and damage about as well as a bloke with a hole in his brand new boat could be expected too.
When the dust had settled and the two discards were applied, Charles Apthorpe sailing with Alan Rickards was untouchable and took a well deserved victory, winning 3 of the 5 races sailed. Simon Kneller at Dave Lucas were 2nd, with a pair of two’s and a bullet and the Hyde Sails Team of Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado were third with a 1,2,3 score line for their weekends work.
As much as we love sailing inland, it’s sometimes hard to pick out the successful ingredients to a decent race result and quantify what was working well and what was not. Some more perspective was gained though - Both Hyde powered boats scored consistently well over the weekend, upwind they were able to live in skinny lanes, put the bow down when necessary and had the legs offwind too..
The next event for the Hyde Sails team will be the Easter ‘Pennant’ weekend at Hayling Island SC – HISC. Richard will then be at Chew Valley SC May 10th -11th with James Grant stepping into the front of the boat before Richard & Matt team up again for the FF Southern Championships and 60th Anniversary Bullwark Open Meeting at HISC May 24-26th.