Daring Darings, exciting Etchells and devious Dragons
Opting for course X, with different start and finish committee boats, the race officers from the Royal Thames Yacht Club sent the three fleets beating into a south westerly from Peel Bank into the relative shelter of Osborne Bay.
Despite a few boats limping home with damaged spinnakers and one tall tale of a bow man going swimming, most of the fleet returned to the start again for race 2 of the day. The wind predominantly hovered around the 18-knot mark with the final gust of the day blowing in at 23 knots causing some excitement on the finish line as a few Dragons struggled to de-power. After what had been a very cold day for all concerned, the Dragon fleet again provided a nail-biting finish as one boat screamed in towards the finish line on port tack with his comrades ganging up against him on starboard. A last minute tack ensued with tension building as the boat struggled against an ebbing tide to nudge just inside the pin end of the line. Unfortunately, the Dragon in question just could not compete against a ferocious spring tide and the rest of his fleet who were determined to see him edged out of the running and with that he admitted defeat, gybed and came round again for another go...this time on starboard tack and slightly further down the results list.
Sunday dawned with the news that several other clubs had pulled the plug on their racing. Race officers hoped that Osborne Bay would once again come into to its own and provide the fleet with a bit of protection. A few boats poked their bows out of Cowes harbour and thought better of it but most of the competitors returned for a second day of punishment.
The fleets were again directed inshore for their first beat, coping well despite the wind registering at 24 knots. The run back down to the leeward mark was a different matter and as the boats edged away from the shoreline the gusts caught their spinnakers with more aggression each time. Finally, with the wind gusting just below the 30 knot mark, principal race officer Malcolm McKeag took the call to shorten the Daring and Dragon classes at the top of their second beat with the Etchells managing to complete their course in full. Once flags N over A were displayed there was no hesitation as competitors turned on their heels and headed for home and the warmth of the Island Sailing Club bar, wearing some of the broadest smiles seen all day.
With three out of four races completed in very testing conditions, congratulations should go to the race officers who gave those hardy sailors some great racing but also to the sailors who provided the committee boats with some exciting and highly interesting sailing manoeuvres to warm otherwise somewhat cold spirits.
1 Mota Moja Na Umbwa Yake (Nils Razmilovic),
2 Oliver Reed (N. Geaves), 3 Icing on the Cake (G.Skinner).
1 Bushfire (Jervis Tilly)
2 Mota Moja Na Umbwa Yake
3 Katemba (T. Law)
1 Mota Moja Na Umbwa Yake
3 Ray of Light (J. Owen).
1 Decoy (Norton, Chaplin, Bradney and Goodwin)
2 Dionysus (Bruce Huber, de Courcy King and Goodwin)
3 Devius (Leech and Cassell)
3 Defiant (Perry, Kingsland, Aisher, French)
3 Dauntless (Giles Peckham, Porter and Carver).
1 Excalibur (P. Patenall)
2 Virago (Nicholson, Lloyd and Squire-Sanders)
3 Elusive (Ivan Bradbury)
3 Aimee (Bailey and Richardson).