Race Report – Sunday June 12th:-
Did you know that “Mumford” is from an ancient Anglo-Saxon word for “I’ve just looked out of the window and it’s raining – so, Mark, I’m not sailing!!! Go have some breakfast!!…”
Yes – it was a grey, dismal, rainy 7knot day when we all arrived at Datchet this morning. Mind you – it was chilly, cold too – just 10 degrees……June??? In fact, it didn’t stop raining from the time I crossed Reigate Hill until I crossed it again in the other direction going home. I had forecast Force 3 gusting 5 and there was simply no sign of it. It was beginning to seem that Tony Mumford had the right idea. We had five boats on the slipway, and Roger and Tony looked at the joy of it, and headed for home. Then there were four….
Three of our star teams – Helen and Vice Cap’n ‘Aaansford, The Stensons, and Mervyn and James were all at the Southerns at Parkstone – so our numbers were severely depleted. (More of the Southerns in a moment…) So we headed off for the start area in miserable little breeze, water dripping down necks, etc – and then…. the breeze kicked in !!! The gusts were plentiful at the far end of the lake – the club anemometer recorded 22knots, but we were thinking we had a bit more down there. The stable breeze was F3-F4 and South Easterly. Sharing the water with 14 Musto skiffs, we had an unusual course. A brilliant beat, right the length of the reservoir at the far end, then a left handed course. Unfortunately the placement of the wing mark (for race one) was such that we got two runs and a two sail reach. Not optimal, but then PRO’ing from Osmo on a shifty day can be difficult…
We had a short 25 second line and even then it got quite busy. John Basford was teamed with the Admiral and made a great start at the pin, with Howard and Richard just in front, pushing them up – a few inches between them and many polite requests for room at pretty high volume…. Steve and Simon, and Andy teamed with Dave Freeman went right and did pretty well out of that. Steve and Simon were extremely concerned about a mainsail crease from the second batten pocket, but it didn’t seem to slow them down much. At the top mark, it was Andy/Dave, Howard/Richard, John/Mike, Steve/Simon – all pretty close. The reach was something of a run, and bagging to starboard we held sequence around the wing mark and barrelled off down a pretty good blaster of a two sail reach. Gaps changed, but I don’t think positions did…. Howard/Richard closed on Andy/Dave at the bottom mark. Up the beat then, Andy and Dave went more left, and Howard and Richard went for the wall. The breeze over there was a horrible quality – right dead under the flight path. However, it curled along the wall and saw Howard and Richard pull out a short lead by the top mark. Into the sausage leg, a run again, then the breeze was kind and a little more distance went in between the two – then… in a puff of spray they were gone. In beat three, the wall was again the side to go – more ghastly aircraft swirls, but yet the correct route. The reach was still a run, but the two sail fizzer to the finish was great – a proper honker in fabulous breeze – Howard and Richard were about a leg ahead by this time and well away with it. “A horizon job”, as Howard says…. Andy and Dave were second, well ahead of Steve and Simon – with John and Mike fourth.
It was pretty miserable out there, and we were all wet and cold. Steve and Simon were the first to head for the bar. The PRO wisely decided to shift the wing mark for the new breeze, but it took a while. Andy and Dave were the next to shiver and cave in as we flopped around waiting for the start signal. Howard, Richard, John and Mike all grinned gamely at each other to signal how very much we were enjoying it…. and sadly still no start signal. The PRO was very kindly waiting for the 15s to reappear, but of course they were headed for burger and chips…. Suddenly John and Mike uttered the terrible words, “we’re going back” and instantly common sense kicked in. So the fleet headed for shore….
We made up for all this in the Bar, of course – and suddenly Vice Cap’n ‘Anson appeared and all victorious. Much to tell us about he Southern Championships. 34 entries and Helen and John got a creditable 22nd. Setting aside Mervyn forgetting his tally – they all had a great first day. 18-22 knots of breeze and fabulous rolling waves. Day Two was a clanger – blown out completely in 30 knots plus, so the fleet headed for home. Charles got two firsts and a third in the magic boat. A very encouraging boost for him going into the Hayling Championship. He’s a great friend to our fleet, and we’d all cross our fingers for him at Hayling but we’re all shivering too much. John thinks that Steve Goacher and Phil Evans were fourth. Other points – Helen and John were using a new red P&B spinnaker which John says is just fabulous – very full on, but tall shoulders and can be carried much higher. Looking forward to seeing that on the Lake soon. The Stensons got a cracked mast I think, so will turn up with a shiny new stick pretty soon…. Don’t know why our fleet doesn’t just put in a bulk order with Selden….
Tony – on balance, you did the right thing….. perhaps ‘Mumford’ is from the Greek for “Smart man in a tent…”