It was past the equinox and the Met Office were threatening the imminent start of autumn, but Sunday felt like a lovely summer evening with a very variable, nominally SW, wind. The Met Office forecast 3 knots gusting 12. There was debate before the start about whether it should be an A or B-course, but the advocates for an A-course prevailed.
6 boats launched off a slimy foreshore: James Armitage, with crew; the Browns, and Lev/David Kolobov all in Enterprises; Chris Greenwood and Felicia in a Leader; and Ben Chappell and Rob Adams in Lasers. No ‘Little Boats’ today. Dave Jones and Tim Williamson were in the safety boat and set a relative long course from the Steam Packet to just above the draw-dock.
It was a most unsettling wind, constantly changing in strength and direction but enough to get everyone around the course 5-10 minutes. The first lap had James a minute ahead of the Browns followed by Rob with Chris close behind, and that pattern was repeated with variations for most of the hour. James was in the lead for the first 5 laps followed closely by the Browns or Rob after which James had to re-round the bottom mark and lost the lead to the Browns and then Rob for a couple of laps.
Confusion and crowding were frequent occurrences at the bottom mark where there seemed to be a local wind shift that forced a gybe at the last minute. By the 8th lap James had regained the lead, a minute ahead of the Browns, a lead that he increased to 3 minutes on the 9th and final lap. By that time he had lapped everyone except the Browns who also completed 9 laps, with Chris, then Lev, then Rob all on 8 laps, and Ben close behind on 7.
Thanks to Tom and Enoch for meticulously logging so many boats around so many laps, and to Dave and Tim for keeping an eye on things from the water.
Next week we hope to welcome South Bank Sailing Club to our waters for a race and post-race tea party. Fingers crossed for the weather.