A bit warmer than last time, with a forecast of westerly F3 – 4, just right. However, at the start line off Osea pier there was no wind at all to speak of. Race Officer Trevor Holder set course J 12 W based on the forecast, and a hope that it was correct, but the fleet of 15 drifted across the line with the tide, and kept going that way until Thirslet, with ‘Caroline’ leading ‘Quixotic’, ‘August Sky’ and the 25.7s. Would the wind come in, what direction and where first? Approaching Bradwell Tommy Mills in ‘Geronimo’ called it right, going inside the baffle to pick up the first light airs from south east – a sea breeze of all things, in 10 degrees C. Some followed, some stayed in the middle, but those on the north side, including ‘Aloha’, and ‘Triton’, who had spotted ‘Quixotic’ actually heeling to a breeze off Mersea did not share her luck, and were left unable to make West Mersea no. 1 for some time, ruining their chances.
A fetch and a short tack across to WM2, in a sailable F2, but with a curious sight of spinnakers astern and boats beating ahead – going in the same direction. Then a long fetch close hauled on starboard to the Colne Bar and the North Eagle, with ‘Quixotic’, ‘Geronimo’, ‘Dan Dare’, ‘August Sky’, ‘Behave’ and ‘Caroline’ all going well. Approaching the Bench Head ‘Quixotic’ radioed the Committee boat, as requested, to report that there was now plenty of wind, and no need to think of shortening the course. ‘Aloha’ finally caught and passed ‘Moondance’ and ‘Sophie’ before the Bench Head, but ‘Triton’ was still stuck some way back.
Back to the NW Knoll, up the Colne to the Inner Bench Head, then a second trip out to the North Eagle before heading for home, in an increasing wind, swinging S, with occasional gusts of F5, and more chop. On the way to WM1 ‘August Sky’ , who had been doing really well, was kindly advised that were on the wrong course – they had fallen into the ‘W trap’ and were heading straight for WM 3 instead of WM1, which lost them some time in correcting.
It looked as if it would always be a slow boat’s race, with the initial calm, and the fast boats having much less time in the stronger wind. There were sterling performances from ‘Dan Dare’ and ‘August Sky’ of the faster boats, but in the end it was ‘Sophie’, without her owner, followed by Rod Martin’s ‘Moondance’, and Alan Hoy’s ‘Dan Dare’, with ‘August Sky’ fourth.
First – ‘Sophie’ – Guy Hawkins – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Moondance’ – Rod Martin – Harlow Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Dan Dare’ – Alan Hoy – Blackwater SC
First – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Second – ‘Absolution’ – Eric Reynolds – Maylandsea Bay YC
Third – ‘Triton’ – Peter Copsey – Blackwater SC
The BJRC table shows the revised handicaps for the next race for the first five places, in accordance with SI 2.4.1. The codes R1 or R 2 in the same column shows that these boats fall in the last third of the fleet, and after 3 races in this category a boat is eligible for handicap review under SI 2.4.2