Many of you must have been watching the weather forecasts last week and had been put off by the threat of gale force winds and torrential rain coming up from France over Saturday night. Well, it must have booked a trip on Brittany Ferries and got held up in the seaman’s strike cos it didn’t arrive as planned. Looking at the Bewl weather-station before leaving home yesterday morning, it was registering a wind speed of 3 knots and six of us actually managed to rig in the dry… but dark clouds were massing from the east.
Mark and Adam, from the fast handicap fleet, set us a good long course taking in all the outer marks of the lake, including the dreaded G mark which turned out to be a decider, as on many occasions in the past. The cold, dismal weather and the arrival of the rain forced Jo and Anne to retreat to the warmth of the clubhouse which left just five Fifteens and very few other boats starting the racing.
After nearly broaching on our first tack, we were struggling to catch up with the other Fifteens on the long beat from the committee boat, anchored near H buoy, to the first mark, C. The left or right hand side of the beat seemed to make little difference on this leg with Robin and Gio just edging ahead. However, on the run from N to G they hugged the shore and got a lift that took them ahead of Paddy, Jim and Eric who all took a slightly wider line. Then a reach across to W which was followed by a run back to H for the second lap.
Robin was increasing his lead with Paddy and Jim having their own duel not too far behind. On the third lap Eric opted to hug the shore on the leg from N to G having seen the advantage gained by Robin on the first lap but, unfortunately for him, he found himself in a hole just off the point which gave Festina a chance to get back on terms with him again. We then chased him back to W and even got ahead when he returned to pick up his cap that had fallen into the water on rounding W. Bill’s efficient handling of the spinnaker, however, gave them the advantage on the run to the finish giving them fourth place. Paddy meanwhile, with Carol crewing for him in Amanda’s absence, was making up ground on Robin but time ran out and he finally took second place with Jim third. We were not too far behind Eric but probably not enough for our better handicap to gain us a place.
By lunchtime the rain had really set in and, although some of the promised winds had appeared during the morning with a top gust of 20 knots being recorded, the prospect of even more fun in the afternoon didn’t appeal to Jennie and me and we decided to come ashore and pack the boat away. Robin, Geoff and Eric, however decided to have another go, along with one lone Laser sailor who gave up during the race. Over a good but shorter course, Geoff took the gun with Eric second and Robin a very creditable third considering the dreadful conditions.
Here’s hoping for better conditions next week.