(All Photos ©David Harding, http://www.sailingscenes.com)
Anybody who likes variety in their sailing conditions would not have been disappointed by what Poole Bay had to offer on the second day of the UKGlobal Flying Fifteen nationals, hosted by Parkstone Yacht Club. Winds ranged from 8 knots initially to 24 knots by the end of the second race, and the sea state from moderate to boat-stoppingly choppy.
The results after races 3 and 4, however, show a remarkable degree of consistency at the top. Graham Vials and Chris Turner continued where they left off on the first day, winning both races to be in the enviable position of counting one of their four firsts as a discard. Giving them a run for their money in race 3 were Greg Wells and Richard Rigg, who held the lead around the windward-leeward course until the last windward mark. Then they gybed early to take the inshore course down the run, while Vials and Turner went offshore. By the leeward mark the latter pair had pulled out a lead of 50 yards, making the short reach to the finish a formality.
Race 4 was set as a four-lapper (sausage, triangle and repeat) and with a longer beat to let the fleet stretch its legs after the relatively short warm-up of the earlier race. By this time the wind had increased and swung right and the east-going tide had got into its stride too, making the right-hand side favoured. Chris and Tom Waples had their moment in the limelight, briefly sneaking ahead of the omnipresent Vials and Turner by the second windward mark, with Wells and Rigg also right in the mix.
The series leaders soon reverted to form, pulling through on the reaches to take a lead they never relinquished. These were the legs that made the day for most of the fleet. With the wind nudging into the high teens and Poole Bay bathed in sunlight while Bournemouth sat underneath big black clouds and got rained on, 50 Flying Fifteens showed what planing keelboats with symmetrical spinnakers can really do on an Olympic triangle. On the second reach in particular – the shyer of the two – it was a matter of ‘hang on tight and enjoy the ride’.
PRO Bryan Drake took the decision to finish the race at the windward mark the third time round. Wells and Rigg recorded their second 2nd of the day behind Vials and Turner and ahead of Hyde’s Richard Lovering, crewed by Matthew Alvarado, in 3rd. Getting into gear after three indifferent races by his standards, Steve Goacher picked his way through the fleet to claim 4th, just in front of Hamish Mackay and Andrew Lawson.
Rumours were that Goacher was keen to record a good finish to make sure he got back in time to enjoy one of his own-label beers at the daily prize-giving. Another good reason for all competitors to be there was to be in with a chance of winning a Selden boom in the prize draw. More prizes were provided by Gul – sponsors of the day’s racing – and Harken.
A prediction of lighter conditions for the second half of the championship raises two questions. Given the accuracy of the forecasts thus far, will there actually be any less wind? And, if there is, will the leading boats maintain their pace? Monday will provide some answers.
1 4004 Graham Vials/Chris Turner (1)-1-1-1 3pts
2 4030 Greg Wells/Richard Rigg 2-(12)-2-2 6pts
3 3955 Richard Lovering/Matthew Alvarado (5)-2-4-3 9pts
4 4014 Ian Cadwallader/Dave Sweet 4-(9)-5-7 16pts
5 3998 Alan Bax/Mark Darling 8-3-7-(20) 18pts
6 3862 Bill Chard/Simon Hawkes (18)-6-3-10 19pts
All these fabulous photos ©David Harding, http://www.sailingscenes.com