Race 4 – MLSC Paget Cup

The forecast said ‘SW backing S, 6 – 15mph, rain, cloudy’, and for a change that’s exactly what we got, with the addition of a very light patch in the middle. 16 boats came to the line, with most of the regulars, plus Marconi training boat ‘McGregor III’, skippered by  Steve Purdue. Race Officer Trevor Holder set course India – 12 – Whiskey, with a reminder not to confuse the ‘W’ with west.

Spinnakers up, in a bunched fleet and Force 2. At Thirslet most displayed their intention to take the straight line course to West Mersea no 6 by going inside the Bradwell baffle, but Tommy Mills’ ‘Geronimo’ and John Littlewood’s ‘Crazy Suzy’ stayed out, and Eric Reynolds in ‘Absolution’ went well to the north, alone, and against conventional wisdom, but they made good progress, and rounded no. 6 in fourth place, behind ‘Quixotic’, ‘Crazy Suzy’, and ‘Geronimo’. When they were almost across to WM2 the sky darkened and the wind fell very light, and those behind struggled to make it, being swept well down and tacking laboriously up the Sales Point shore. ‘Quixotic’ and co. managed to get round and shot off down river, opening up a huge gap on those behind – “Game over” we thought, at last the fast boats are going to save their time. ‘Sophie’ alone tacked back up the north shore and hung on until the wind filled in before crossing in one long and a very short tack.

A long run to the Colne Bar and the North Eagle, in a nice F3, and increasing heavy drizzle, then back to the NW Knoll, with  the same four boats in the lead, but with the fleet more closely bunched than usual. The wind pulled gradually to the south, allowing the later boats to lay it in one. A run up the Colne to the Inner Bench Head, then a beat back to the Bench Head – the only real one of the day, with ‘Aloha’, ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Dan Dare’ following the leaders,  and ‘August Sky’, ‘McGregor III’ and ‘Soprano’ doing well, close behind the middle group. At the Bench Head ‘Sophie’ lost a few minutes clearing a riding turn, allowing ‘Rocket’ to get through. Then to the North Eagle again, a very close reach, with only a few trying spinnakers, and once round it was one single fetch for most boats all the way to the finish, via NW Knoll, WM1 and WM12, with the rain dying out along the way.

It was obviously going to be a close race, and for a time it looked as if the fast boats would escape and dominate, but in the end the southerly shift favoured the later boats, and the winner was,  embarrassingly, your Chairman’s ‘Sophie’, her second win of the season. This is not supposed to happen!  In second place was McGregor III – congratulations to skipper and crew, and in third Pat Murphy’s ‘Soprano’, by two seconds from ‘Crazy Suzy’. In IRC only four boats competed, and the finishing order was as the last race, with ‘Absolution’ winning from ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Triton’, and the corrected time intervals too large for much satisfaction.

 BJRC

First – ‘Sophie’ – Guy hawkins – Blackwater SC

Second – ‘McGregor III’ – Steve Purdue – Marconi SC

Third – ‘Soprano’ – Pat Murphy – Blackwater SC

IRC

First – ‘Absolution’ – Eric Reynolds – Maylandsea Bay YC

Second – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC

Third –  ‘Triton’ – ‘Peter Copsey’ – Blackwater SC

 The full BJRC result here

The full IRC result here

The series so far

The first three races were light and flukey westerlies, and the fourth only a little better, and the slower boats have been the beneficiaries, as the fleet stays bunched for long periods, and the wind tends to fill later, so no very clear conclusions can be drawn on relative performance. Most boats have at least one race definitely headed for the discard bin, and there is a real need to compete in as many of the remaining races as possible. On the basis of 3 races and one discard, ‘Sophie’ on 10 points leads ‘August Sky’ on 11, followed by ‘Absolution’ on 17,  ‘Aloha’ and ‘Dan Dare’ on 18, ‘Behave’ on 19, and ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Easi Rider’ on 21. ‘Moondance’ has only done 2 races, but has a second and a third.

The full BJRC series scores here

The full IRC series scores here