Another dubious forecast – Northwesterly decreasing – would a sea breeze kill it for a while? In the event there were very few really flat spots, but lots of shifts and gusts to test reactions.
Race Officer Jim Lawton set course K 16 X for the 18 boats lined up in a Force 2 from pretty near North. Tommy Mills’ ‘Geronimo’, with a full crew of five, got away first, but ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Monkey Business’ were over at the start and had to return. It was just too close for spinnakers, but ‘Evolution’ hoisted a very effect small flat asymmetric, while near Thirslet ‘Geronimo’, ‘ Crazy Suzy’, and ‘Aloha’ hoisted conventional spinnakers and just managed to hold them by keeping low before fetching up to WM3. Others also tried, but hardly did better than those who didn’t.
A broad reach to West Mersea no 2, then the cross to WM1 was a proper beat, which sorted a few out, then a long run out to the Knoll and the Wallet Spitway. Near the Knoll ‘Blue Moon’s spinnaker was observed to drop suddenly – the snap shackle had let go. Fortunately she had a spare halyard, and after a bit of fishing it was up again. Now quite sunny, but not as hot as the last race. At the Spitway ‘Geronimo’ led ‘Behave’ and ‘Aloha’, from ‘Dan Dare’, ‘Crazy Suzy’, and ‘Triton’ , and at the rear all boats were fairly closely bunched, arriving well before the tide gate.
On the beat to the North Eagle most headed to the Clacton shore, but it was difficult to tell where best to keep out of the remains of the ebb.
On the fetch to NW Knoll there were some fairly big shifts, and those who lost out early on benefitted later.
A long beat back to WM1, with a gusty F3 and further shifts to be played, ‘Triton’ and ‘Blue Moon’ moving up on the leaders, then spinnakers for the last time across to WM2, then more beating to WM3 and home, with further place changes at crossing tacks.
The BJRC winner ‘Sophie’ came from the slower end of the fleet, followed by Peter Copsey’s ‘Triton’, making a welcome late start to her season, and ‘Malcolm Holland’s ‘Behave’, showing that the First 27.7s can be made to go in such conditions, with only 3 in the crew. Fourth was ‘Geronimo’, who really got going on the beat back, and fifth ‘Evolution’, starting to show her potential.
In IRC, ‘Triton’ won by 5 minutes from ‘Evolution’, and ‘Blue Moon’.
First – ‘Sophie’ – Guy Hawkins’ – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Triton’ – Peter Copsey – Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Behave’ – Malcolm Holland – MLSC
First – ‘Triton’ – Peter Copsey – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Evolution’ – Eric Reynolds –
Maylandsea Bay YC
Third – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
On the five races to qualify, ‘Easi Rider’ leads on 19 points, from ‘Aloha’ on 23, both with a 10 as their next discard. Next is ‘Sophie’ on 30 points, with 11 to discard, then ‘Blue Moon’ and ‘Moonshadow’ on 34 each, with 13 and 14 to discard, so they are very likely to move up.
Three races to go, perhaps with more wind, and chances for other boats with big discards to drop to head for the podium!
In IRC ‘Blue Moon’ has an almost unbeatable 8 points, ‘Evolution’ 12, and ‘Monkey Business’ 13.