With the wind topping 20 knots before gusts and offshore conditions resembling open sea the sailing definitely promised to be challenging if not exciting for the final race of the autumn series.
After several re-scheduled re-organised starts the FF race was under way. With John Hanson and Helen Selden away it was a chance for others to close the gap on the series leaders.
Roger Abbey – Taylor and Richard McQuilliam in 3642 for once made a not so laggard start as everyone headed off to the first mark together.
A starboard course was given and there was some discrepancy as to which side we should have started. A good pace was set for the first beat with all boats picking similar lines. It was after rounding the windward mark the race opened up. At this point the boats all pick up a great pace with the boats planing in a broad reach.
This was repeated for the following reach to the leeward mark.
By this time a good pace was been set by the lead three boats with eventually Mike Firth and Simon Sculion in 3888 taking the win in quite choppy conditions ahead of Mike Clapp and Tim Williams in 3427 who seem to be demonstrating themselves as a strong team.
A final indication of the conditions been demonstrated by three finishers out of six boats with two not finishing to lost crew who were thankfully both safely recovered.
“It really does happen in slow motion!”
With the expected changes in the weather the race began in earnest with four boats. By now the sun was out and the wind had both shifted and dropped.
The course was shifted to port and the gybe mark brought in somewhat.
A close start was made again and off all went. Tactics varied from the start with two boats heading on starboard and the other two on a port tack towards the first mark.
After the first mark kites went up and towards the gybe mark with Richard Jones and Howard Shawyer, Mike / Tim and Mervyn / George (without kite courtesy of a broken pole) all jostling for lead position.
The run towards the leeward mark proved interesting with two boats continuing to fly kites and George acting as a spinnaker pole while Mervyn trimmed.
With the conditions much more settled a second race was played out with Richard and Howard taking the win in 4011 ahead of Mike and Ian with Mervyn and Roger finishing 3rd and 4th with full crew complements.
Final series standings can be found here: http://www.dwsc.co.uk/results/CurrentSeries.htm
So congratulations to John and Helen who take the series win ahead of Richard and Howard