Flying Fifteens at Burnham

Friday, April 19, 2013

A close-fought victory for Hyde Sails’ Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado at the recent Flying Fifteen open in Burnham.

The Flying Fifteen UK Global Ranking Event was held at the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham on Crouch on April 14-15. The Saturday forecast was 15 knots of breeze and a few gusts and lulls. Sailors arrived at the Marina in Burnham on Crouch where they would launch and keep the boats for the weekend. The briefing from Edwin, the Race Officer for the weekend, outlined two ‘around the cans’ races on Saturday, followed by three races on windward-leeward courses on Sunday.




Day one

In the first race, 10 boats geared up for a reaching start, set up outside the Marina, with the course heading down to the Roach about 1.2 miles away, followed by a windward leeward around the cans. The trick to this race was nailing the reach to the first turning mark by choosing the right side of the river to best avoid the foul tide. Most chose the north shore, which paid. Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado, sailing GBR 3955, Hyde Sails, with a little bit of input from a local, chose correctly and led race one from start to finish. Race two was staged in the Roach area. The start was away at the second attempt, with a course set up for a sausage, triangle, short sausage followed by a long reach back up the river. At the front there was a cracking race between Richard and Matt in Hyde Sails, and Greg and James in GBR3920 and Charles and David in GBR3957. Friends and family battles were on all through the fleet. Richard and Matt in Hyde Sails led for most of the race until after the turn for home, when a comfortable lead was eaten away in a mile or so, three-sail reach against the now ebbing tide. Charles and David won race two, Richard and Matt were second, with Greg and James just behind in third place.

Day two

After a great night of hospitality and refreshment at the Royal Corinthian YC, the fleet launched for the three windward-leeward races down near the Roach. With an increasing southerly breeze, a cracking course was set up. Course boundaries were never far away and with lots of tide and a leeward gate this made for really interesting racing. The trend for the three races was to get in the tide upwind, and try to get out of it downwind. After some close racing, Greg and James won the first two races coming from behind and/or capitalising on capsizes by the opposition. Charles and David scored a second in race two and the rest of the fleet were never far off the lead at anytime due to the ‘tidal gate’ effects.

The overall result came down to the last race between the Greg and James and Richard and Matt. The latter led to the first windward mark, but were passed on the first run. On the second beat, Richard and Matt were in turn passed by Charles and David who used the tide to better effect upwind. First and second places gybed and set at the second weather mark; Richard & Matt bore away and set going for the right-hand side downwind, as this was now looking flatter with less tide as the day wore on. This move paid handsomely, and put them right back in touch, rounding the right-hand gate mark simultaneously with Greg and James. Up the next beat the two boats were neck-and-neck and lee bow tacking. On the final run there was nothing in it between the two boats. Greg and James were forced to gybe quickly and had a mishap with their kite, handing the lead to Richard and Matt in Hyde Sails, who held it to the finish to take the event.

Thoughts on the sails

Richard Lovering observed: “The Hyde rig was again working well over the weekend in conditions that ranged from 10-20 knots, however the overall win was hard fought with some big lessons learnt, not least of which is keep the mast above the keel!” As the fourth Round of the UK Global ranking series, the win ensures that the Hyde team remain number one in the series. The competition will undoubtedly get tougher and more numerous from here on with more points up for grabs.

Hyde Sails Ltd, Harbour Building Office A, Hamble Point Marina, Hamble, Southampton SO31 4NB

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