The forecast gave the best day for some time past and to come, with SW F3, and a bit more later – probably after the race.
Race Officer Trevor Holder had set a long course, to the Spitway and Wallet no. 3, and an excellent field of 18 boats set off on a dead run in a nice F 2 – 3. However, the wind soon gave signs of falling away; by Thirslet the middle of the fleet were looking round for the better patches, with plenty of changes of position.
Progress continued to be slow, and towards the Bench Head the wind died altogether, so following consultations the course was changed to omit the leg up to Wallet no 3. As if in response, the wind then filled in from the south, bringing up ‘Rhombus’, ‘Carolanti’ and others to overtake and lead the middle fleet.
The breeze freshened and backed for the reach to the Knoll and a fetch to the Spitway, and on the return leg to the North Eagle the order at the front was ‘Quixotic’, ‘Easi Rider, and ‘Aloha’. Opinions differed whether to try a shy spinnaker on this leg, and many, including ‘Quixotic’, did not.
Towards the Colne Bar the wind became shifty; some boats fetched it in one, while others quite close by had to tack for the mark, opening up more gaps.
Zig zags around WM 6, WM2 and WM1 again, with the wind getting up off Bradwell. Tricky decisions crossing the tide to WM12, and now a solid F4, giving a fine close fetch to the line – more to the benefit of the late comers than the leaders. ‘Quixotic’ was first to the line, 22 minutes ahead of ‘Crazy Suzy’, followed a minute later by ‘Easi Rider, with ‘Blue Moon’ half a minute behind her.
However, on corrected time the slower boats took the top two places, ‘Rhombus’ the winner, followed by ‘Sophie’. ‘Aloha’, going faster every race, took third place.
In the IRC class, the order was the familiar one of ‘Triton’, ‘Blue Moon’, and ‘Easi Rider’.
First – ‘Rhombus’ – Tom Mills – Maldon Little Ship Club
Second – ‘Sophie’ – Guy Hawkins – Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Aloha’ – Nigel Sheppard – Blackwater SC
First – ‘Triton’ – Peter Copsey – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Third – ‘Easi Rider’ – Martin Scarth – Blackwater SC