Carnage at Datchet

Barry Parkin weathers the storm to beat the heavyweights in the Flying Fifteens

Monday February 12th 2001, Author: Andy Rice, Location: United Kingdom
Vicious squalls cut their way through the fleet of boats gathered for the second weekend of the Datchet Winter Warm-up Series. Masts came crashing down in the 30+ knot gusts that flew across Queen Mother Reservoir on Sunday morning.

Some sailors revelled in the conditions, including Stuart Jones who brought his Contender home five minutes before any of his competition in the other Contenders or RS600s.

For the Flying Fifteens, this was the last opportunity to race before packing up their boats into containers for the world championships in South Africa a month from now. Olympic Soling representative, back helming a Fifteen for the first time in eight years, with his wife and top 470 sailor Sue, won the race despite the presence of heavier crews including Alan Bax and Bill Masterman.

Parkin put his pace down to carrying more rake than most of the other teams. "Most crews are using upright rake settings because they've seen Steve Goacher win world championships like that," he told madforsailing. "Even I'm sailing with a lot less rake than I used to, but we're still more raked than most people here, and it seems to suit us. We can hold our own upwind and we're quicker downwind."

Former and current Fireball world champion crews, Jarrod Simpson and Vyv Townend, were racing in their 49er but a broken centreboard put paid to their efforts.

The turnout was lower than on the first weekend, but with a better forecast and fewer distractions like the Tiger Trophy and the RS Winter Championship, Datchet should be up to full strength again next weekend.

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