Each year, Datchet has a fun weekend in September known as the Club Championship. As a social occasion it’s a little light hearted – it has something of a nice family atmosphere to it…. but the racing is full on serious! Six races over the two days, four to count. Across half a dozen fleets, the first places are tallied up – and the Title of “Club Champion” awarded.
This year it was won by our top Flying Fifteeners, Mark Firth and Tony Mumford – Hurrah !!!!!! – six bullets, straight off!! Well, quite a few boat on boat tussles and one protest, but still brilliantly sailed!! The FF racing was great actually – nine boats on the slip this morning (the Millars, Mervyn/James and Roger/Tony all mysteriously missing – we had hoped for 12) and a really sparkling South Westerly which might described as 5 lulling to 4 !! By race three, it was really cracking it out in the force 5/6 kind of area. We are all pretty exhausted…. Tony thankfully was buying drinks!
Saturday’s three races were a closely fought battle. Mark and Tony over the line for the first start (ha ha ha !), had a great battle with Dominic and David, Howard and Richard. I frankly can’t remember it all now, but we had great racing – lots and lots of place changing and the gusts were great fun.
Today, Sunday, the breeze thrillingly stepped up a gear. The beat was the entire length of the lake – the reaches a tad broad as the wing mark was not moved out enough – a common PRO mistake these days. Racing was really close – Howard and Richard missed the start by a few minutes (mainsail problems) and fought hard to get right back into the pack – but were unable to push through in the strengthening wind. It was all about the beats to the South Wall again – very tricky. The Stensons sailed a great pair of races – just their weather ! The same is true of John and Helen who seemed to go tremendously well into the breeze. The Humes continued the good form of Saturday, but Mark and Tony just have the speed edge and the best you can do is hold them up for a while!
The wind properly set in for race 3 – the coming of hurricane Katie tonight…. Mark and Tony, Richard and Howard, just blasted out of the gate from the pin end smack on the gun. The rest of the fleet split to the right, but 3860 and 3934 had a properly substantial lead by the top mark. “Go Left with a Bit of Middle” was good today… They went off and had a little play of their own, but the main bulk of the fleet had a cracking good race. The spray was everywhere and the spinnaker reaches pretty gutsy at times. By the gun though, Mark and Tony had half a leg on Howard and Richard, while they in turn had half a leg on the main fleet.
A pretty fantastic weekend. Howard and Richard finished second overall, and Dominic and David a close third.
Next event – The Southern Travellers Open Meeting and Final at Datchet – October 15/16th…
See you there!