Saturday saw some very fickle winds – strong one minute, nothing the next. Three GPs and two handicap boats made it to the start line, which was in light winds, but half way up the first beat the gales hit. In the GP fleet, Dave Nicholson made an excellent start and was in the lead for a while before Mike Fairlamb took the lead with Hugh Godfrey close behind. Hugh gained on every downwind leg, but could not quite catch Mike who eventually stretched his lead and won the race after Hugh navigated into a hole. In the handicap fleet, the wind proved too strong for Sam Hall in his laser and he retired to leave Robin Dawson to take victory. In the second race, only the two GPs took to the water and again Mike made it first to the windward mark. However, then the wind really got going and Hugh shot past underneath him at the gybe mark – ‘What gybe mark? There ain’t no way I’m gybing on this gust!’ The two boats were together going into the next gybe mark, but Hugh had water, meaning Mike could not bear away on the next huge gust and capsized instead. Mike tried to claw back position, but with the wind lifting the water off the lake, settled for second place. Overall, Hugh won the GP Spring Cup, and despite not sailing the last two races in the handicap fleet, Steve Hunt won the Barf Plate.
The wind had settled down a bit on Sunday and more boats made the start of the olympic course. Again it was a two boat race in the GP fleet. This time Hugh made the better start (Mike was 3 minutes out in his timing!) and much to the astonishment of Mike, the guys on the committee boat and most importantly long suffering crew Rhonwen, Hugh started to cover tack Mike 10 yards over the start line! All the way around the first lap, Hugh covered Mike, but then disaster struck – Hugh’s main got caught round the rudder when going round the windward mark allowing Mike to catch up and then a bit of mis-communication at the spinnaker drop allowed Mike to get in front. Hugh decided this was not on and so when Mike started cover tacking him, he tacked, and tacked, and tacked again, and again, and tacked again – so much so that after actually getting past Mike they both got so dizzy that they fell over in the bottom of the boat! In the middle of it all, the jib-sheet outer covering split so the sheet would not cleat, prompting the usual sympathetic helm comments of ‘You’ll just have to hold it!’ Eventually Hugh made it to the windward mark first, but another spinnaker tangle let Mike in front again. And so Mike won – by 3 seconds.
In the handicap race, Robin managed to beat Steve Hunt, but that’s all the author knows, ‘coz she was too busy tacking!
In the afternoon there was a round-the-lake race in which Steve, Robin and Mike Moore all got to the bottom of the lake at about the same time. However, the return leg was dominated by Steve Hunt in his RS400. He had finished the race and packed his boat up before the rest of the fleet was in sight! Andy and Bean had sensibly decided not to take their 49er down the lake, but managed to hit a previously unknown shallow patch just off the end of the jetty and catapulted themselves towards the shore. ‘Dad, can you make me a new centreboard?’
Congratulations to Dave and Lyne Lawson on finishing 14th (out of 205!) at Ullswater’s Lord Birkett Memorial over the weekend – full report