2013 Flying Fifteen Southern Travellers Series
Middle Nene Sailing Club
12 / 13 October 2013
A fleet of 9 boats including 4 visitors from South Cerney, Llangorse and Broxbourne prepared for the fourth and final round of the Southern Traveller Series at Middle Nene SC in Northamptonshire with a forecast of 7 mph decreasing winds and emerging sunshine. For the first time in this year’s STS all the boats were Classics and the planned format of the racing was for 3 races on Saturday followed by a Crews race, and 2 races on Sunday.
The direction of the wind was quite “shifty” but mainly from the NE. This enabled the Race Officer to set a course which used most of the length of the lake for the beat, with a series of spinnaker reaches / gybes for the downwind legs.
Race 1 started cleanly and very soon the fleet was starting to split tacks with helms searching for the leading tack as the wind shifts moved across the lake. Initially there was much place changing throughout the fleet but as the race progressed visitors John Craddock / Kendall Paul (2695) showed at the front followed by local boat Jeremy Arnold / Dave Brown (2646) and visitors Brian Turner / Jackie Burns (3031).
Race 2 started in a falling wind, and followed a similar pattern of helms searching for the best tack and trying to maintain their advantage on the downwind legs as the wind died. At the finish there was a breakaway group at the front with 2695 leading 2646 and visitors Richard Taylor / Paul Coates (2626) clear of the rest of the fleet.
At this point the lake was very calm and with no prospect of any better winds the Race Officer abandoned racing for the day, with the intention of making up the lost races on Sunday if the stronger winds forecasted overnight arrived.
The home club hosted a superb 3 course dinner in the clubhouse and the evening was spent around the bar and playing rounds of “large block Jenga”, the highest tower reaching an impressive 27 layers before crashing down – the RNLI benefiting by £1.00 each time!
On Sunday there was a complete change of weather – NW winds, gusting 12 to 17 mph and steady rain! The change of wind direction meant a much shorter beat and a mixture of runs / reaches downwind.
Race 3 started with swirling gusts rushing across the course which woke everyone up and generated some very exciting sailing, especially downwind on the very square runs! Local knowledge and skill saw new boats at the front with Mark Greer / Dave Jarvis (2433) in front of 2695 and Neil Bartholomey / Emma Brown (2700). Throughout the fleet there was considerable drama with the crew on 2626 going overboard in a crash gybe, which effectively ended their race!
Races 4 and 5 followed a similar action packed pattern with 2695 and 2700 trading places at the front and 3031 boosting their overall score in third place.
At the prize giving everyone was full of praise for the organisation, hospitality and race management of the Middle Nene team who produced a very memorable final event for the 2013 Southern Traveller Series.
1st – John Craddock / Kendall Paul 2695 – Llangorse SC
2nd – Neil Bartholomey / Emma Brown – Middle Nene SC
3rd – Jeremy Arnold / Dave Brown 2646 – Middle Nene SC