Another odd forecast – basically “expect anything, but not much of it”, so nearly a flat calm at the Stone line start, with the tide sloshing out. Race Officer Christine Wainright wisely chose a short course with as many marks as the course card would allow – but no further than the Bench Head. Eighteen boats keeping very well uptide, so a slow start, with Nigel Sheppard’s ‘Aloha’ getting away well from her kedge, with Tommy Mills’ ‘Geronimo’ and David Onyons’ ‘Monkey Business’, while the rest drifted slowly across, with barely steerage way. Jim Lawton’s Sonata ‘Hornblower’ was caught wrong side of the line, could not get back, but decided to sail round with us anyway.
What little wind there was came from the East, so a close fetch, maybe a few tacks, to West Mersea No 1. after about an hour the wind filled nicely, and Malcolm Holland’s First 27.7 ‘Behave’ came storming through to make up for lost time. Zigzags across the tide to WM2 WM6, WM10, then the Bench Head, with Jerry Flaxman’s ‘Quixotic’ leading ‘Geronimo’, with a nice red spinnaker, and the second fastest boats quite tightly bunched.
Return by the same sequence of marks in reverse, but after Sales Point the wind was becoming less steady, with sudden lulls and puffs, and a few headers suggesting a bigger shift to come. Early boats carried spinnakers from WM1 to WM2, gybing and carrying on to WM3, another gybe and across to WM12. Not so for those behind, already headed before WM1. After WM12 ‘Geronimo’ got a lucky break, carrying her spinnaker towards the north shore, when a nice shift put her about onto a perfect course for Thirslet. Tail enders experienced continuing changes of position as each took turns with the lulls and puffs. Steve Sharpe’s ‘Rocket found herselt devoid of wind and retired, while the Marconi SC club boat ‘Ned Kelly, skippered by Lydia Coffey with a crew of trainees, brought up the rear, having no doubt learned a thing or two ……
To start with it looked as if it would be a slow boat day, but in the end the fast boats did save their time, and the result was quite a good mix:
First – ‘Aloha’ – Nigel Sheppard – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Absolution’ – Eric Reynolds –
Maylandsea Bay YC
Third – ‘Moondance’ – Rod Martin –
Harlow Blackwater SC
First – ‘Absolution’ – Eric Reynolds – Maylandsea Bay YC
Second – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
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