A very hot day!
The forecasts having given the definite possibility of a calm at the Osea start, an auxiliary SI was issued to allow the start line to be moved down river if appropriate. Race Officer Tommy Mills announced his intention to do just that at 0945, and 18 entrants motored down to West Mersea no 12, under a blistering sun and temperatures surely over 30 degrees. Committee boat ‘Geronimo’ took station to the north, and a light easterly sea breeze duly appeared. At 1000 the fleet got away cleanly on starboard, for the first mark of course 6 Q, the Colne Bar. Maurice Mutimer’s ‘August Sky’ spotted more wind to the north and tacked onto port straight away, a very successful manoeuvre, giving her an early lead.
No intermediate marks on the long one sided beat, so plenty of scope to make the right – or wrong – decisions on tide and wind shifts – of which there were quite a few.
Past Colne Bar to the North Eagle, then a truer beat out to the Wallet Spitway, with the last boats rounding at Low Water. Heading back, the leader was Kev and Lauren Knox’s ‘Barcarol’, followed far too closely for comfort by Andy Ellis’ ‘Caroline’ and ‘John Littlewood’s ‘Crazy Suzy’, out for the first time this year having had her runners removed (Ouch!)
A long run back past the Knoll to WM2, and most boats managed a gybe to carry spinnakers across to WM1, but found it hard to keep them going after that, heading for WM12, where Tommy had moved the finish line, having found no wind further up the river.
A very short race, but the right one for the conditions, and all boats finished within 35 minutes, and under 5 hours for the last boat. A few mishaps – ‘Crazy’ Suzy’ missed out WM1 and had to go back, ‘Triton’ suffered a bad spinnaker wrap and retired.
‘August Sky’s early observation proved decisive, giving her the win from ‘Easi Rider’ by 23 seconds, and ‘Sophie’ took third place from ‘Aloha’ by one second, who beat ‘Carolanti’ by 3 seconds!
In IRC, the honours went to Peter Ward’s ‘McGregor III’, from ‘Evolution’, and ‘Blue Moon’.
A proactive Race Officer ensured a good race in potentially very unsatisfactory conditions – thanks for that Tommy. Now to restock that sun cream ……..
First – ‘August Sky’ – Maurice Mutimer’ – Blackwater SC
Second – ‘Easi Rider’ – Martin Scarth – Blackwater SC
Third – ‘Sophie’ – Guy Hawkins – Blackwater SC
First – ‘McGregor III’ – Peter Ward – Marconi SC
Second – ‘Evolution’ – Eric Reynolds –
Maylandsea Bay YC
Third – ‘Blue Moon’ – Richard Robarts – Marconi SC
Five races sailed, and seven boats have finished all five to qualify and start to run down their discards. All of them have at least a fourth place, but too many poor results. ‘Easi Rider’, having finished only four races, looks almost invincible, with 1, 2, 3, 3 – but a 30 point penalty to carry forward. ‘Aloha’ has 1, 2, 4, and will almost certainly drop that 10, ‘Moonshadow’ has 2, 3, 7, 8, and ‘Blue Moon’ 2, 5, 5, and a 13 which she will surely drop later.
So, plenty to play for in the four remaining races, and there are about 8 boats who stand to do well if they can perform at a level which they have shown they are capable of.
The attached table shows scores for four and three races.
In IRC ‘Blue Moon’ has three wins, a 2 and a 3, but ‘Monkey Business’ remains a big threat.