A promising forecast of a nice F 2 – 4 westerly, perhaps with a bit of north, and some sun!
Seventeen starters were set off by Race Officer Ian Ivermee, on a course which had no inward section – an excellent idea, leaving plenty of room for tactical decisions on the long beat back.
A tight spinnaker reach to West Mersea no. 3, with a few gusts causing some control problems, then WM2 and a close fetch across to WM1, where the odd shift and misjudgement led to some position changing, at both ends of the fleet.
Then a long spinnaker run past the Knoll to the Wallet Spitway, where we gybed towards Wallet no. 3. Rounding that mark Tommy Mills’ ‘Geronimo’ , with a full crew, was still in the lead, well ahead of ‘Easi Rider’, ‘Moonshadow’, and ‘Caroline’. Close behind were ‘Blue Moon’, ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘McGregor III’, then Steve Sharpe’s ‘Rocket’, suddenly going much faster than her previous form. The tightly bunched Second Division was led until the mark by ‘Sophie’, with ‘Soprano’, ‘August Sky’, ‘Evolution’, ‘Carolanti’, ‘Raffles’, ‘Ned Kelly, ‘Dan Dare’, and ‘Poohstick’, all rounding Wallet 3 shortly after the tide turned.
Now came the big test of strategy and windward ability, heading for the North Eagle, always one of the most exciting legs in BJRC racing. Most opted for a long first port tack to Jaywick beach, but ‘Caroline’ and ‘Soprano’ headed back on starboard, which proved pretty disastrous. ‘McGregor III’ took the middle course, with shorter tacks, which worked quite well.
As might be expected, there were quite a few changes of position on this leg, with wind shifts, and more flood tide along the inshore route, which allowed ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Raffles’ to make up big distances. ‘Carolanti’ and ‘August Sky’ got into their stride as the wind picked up more, and at the front of the fleet the grouping became very close.
After the North Eagle, and the Colne Bar to starboard, there were more decisions to be made on the best way up the long beat, all the way to the finish line, with no intermediate marks, in a nice F4.
On corrected time, the first seven boats finished within 5.4 minutes, the winner by 46 seconds being ‘Easi Rider’, which had looked a likely bet from quite early on – well sailed, Martin and crew! Next were ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘McGregor III’, and ‘Rocket’ beat ‘Monkey Business’ to fourth place by 40 seconds.
In IRC, the order was the same as the last race – ‘Blue Moon’, from ‘Monkey Business’ and ‘Evolution’.
General opinion was that this was a really good race!
First – ‘Easi Rider’ – Martin Scarth – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Third – ‘McGregor III’ – Peter Ward – Marconi SC
First – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Second – ‘Monkey Business’ – Dave Onyons –
Third – ‘Evolution’ – Eric Reynolds – Maylandsea Bay YC
Four races down, and counting 3 races and one discard, ‘Easi Rider’ has 1, 3, 3 = 7 points, while ‘Aloha’, ‘Blue Moon’, and ‘Moonshadow’ have 12 points each.
In IRC ‘Blue Moon’ has three wins, while ‘Monkey Business’ has a one and two twos.