Alarm clocks were set for a very early hour to get to the start of Race 2, at o835 off Bradwell. Less stressful for those who spent the night in Bradwell marina. A misty start, and a bit chilly, but a forecast of better temperatures later, and a S-SW wind increasing during the afternoon.
The Race Officer set a downwind start with the tide, so most boats were very cautious and line shy, leading to difficulties with seeing and hearing signals. Spinnakers up, and the fleet spread across the river for the first mark, WM no.1. Two of the usual cross tide beats, WM1 to WM2, and WM6 to WM10, then the Bench Head and a run up the Colne to No. 8 channel mark. For the beat back, the wind stayed a steady F3, with a few gusts and lulls, but while not quite ‘all over the place’, it featured many small lifts and headers, and a few boats ‘got lucky’. Then all the way back to the start line at WM12, on a close fetch in emerging sunshine, a loop back to WM1 and WM2 again before finishing, in increasing wind.
A short race, the first boat back being Jerry Flaxman’s ‘Quixotic’ in 3 hours 53 minutes, and the last ‘Poohstick’, taking only 4 hours 24 minutes. As in the Blackwater Cup, no tide gate to speak of, and all finished by a late lunch time.
Surprise winner of the NHC class was Pat Murphy’s Beneteau 285 ‘Soprano’, another crew making big improvements to their performance of late.
The IRC class once again went to ‘Absolution’, Eric Reynolds’ Evolution 26 with a crack crew, and once again followed by Richard Robarts’ ‘Blue Moon’ – always well sailed and competitive.
First – ‘Soprano’ – Pat Murphy – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Aloha’ – Nigel Sheppard – Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Red Storm’ – Steve Sharpe – Blackwater SC
First – ‘Absolution’ – Eric Reynolds – Maylandsea Bay YC
Second – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Third – ‘Quixotic’ – Jerry Flaxman – Blackwater SC