With a stormy weather forecast for middle England, what would happen in the Dubwath micro climate was anybody’s guess. The wind turbines at Bothel were in an Easterly breeze, from the shore the wind seemed to be from the SE, but on the water it was from the SW! It was windy in local towns and on the coast, but certainly not steadily windy on the lake as there wer numerous light periods and Sale Fell cast shadows on the racing area too!
The fleet of 11 boats for the Fleet Challenge diminished as the racing went on – was it a lack of energy, or just other things to do as there were three races to squeeze in to the afternoon (with another 3 on Sunday)?
Steve/Ruth led the fleet in their Merlin-Rocket in all three races, but the F15s had to battle with Scumper for 2nd place on the water. After a poor start in the first race with his stand in crew, Mike/William took advantage of some fortunate shifts and worked through to 2nd on the water. In the 2nd race Ian/Lezli-Ann quickly took 2nd position and maintained it for the race, while Mike/William trawled the spinnaker for a while letting Scumper and Tim/Ian through! The trauma for William in the final race was almost being ejected from the boat whilst gybing when his buoyancy aid got caught on the kicking strap! This time Scumper took 2nd and Mike 3rd. At least Mike will have his proper crew back on the foredeck tomorrow!
In the last race, Alan/Sue were a matter of seconds from filling their spinnaker and having a hairy plane when they capsized, but they recovered to finish the race. Perhaps next time?!
With the results being calculated on a personal handicap basis, the race wins went to three different helms – Steve Hunt, Ian Campbell and Neil Garrison who takes the overnight lead.
Sunday’s conditions were a lot more settled, a good, but steady, breeze powered the fleet around. Steve/Ruth had a flying start but gave it all away when they started to sail the wrong course and retired. That left the F15s to show the way, with Mike/Kayla taking the lead but with Ian/Lezli-Ann nibbling at their ankles most of the way. The OD was concerned that the Commodore had taken a disliking to his course when he took a gybe mark extremely wide, but he would just claim to be making best use of the gusts! He did give Banter Phil a run for his money though.
On handicap, (after a recheck of calcs!) Ethan won, Kath/Glenys 2nd, with Mike/Kayla 3rd.
There were two further races after lunch, which Ethan and Kath each shared with a 1st and 2nd. Conditions eased as the afternoon went on but there were still planing opportunities, or would that be challenges as several fought with their spinnakers to avoid broaching/capsizing. A new member in an RS400 had his pole stuck out up the beat, which looked somewhat ominous, especially when they had a close encounter with Kath/Glenys who were on a run to the leeward mark!
Overall, Kath/Glenys’s strong results, coupled with 3 pts for being OD on Saturday, gave them a clear lead and the overall series, dashing Alan’s hopes of winning the prize for 1st GP. Mike and the other two F15s took the next three positions, with Alan finishing 5th.