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Osprey Open at Mounts Bay Sailing Club

by Robin Hobson on 5 Aug 2008 2-3 August 2008
Overcast for the Ospreys at Mount's Bay © Robin Hobson

Incorporating the Gul Grand Prix and the Panmorra Cup

Mount's Bay Sailing Club, the venue for the 2009 Osprey Nationals, held its multi function Osprey open meeting just 2 weeks after the Chartwell Private Client National Championships held at Poole Yacht Club. For many, it was too soon but for the 12 competitors it was a fantastic event.

As usual, the weather forecast was only partially right and the promised Cornish sunshine partially materialised, pasties were good though!

The long distance crew from Keilder Water came down on the Friday in order to join the club evening race to find that the course boats did not want to leave harbour. Being Ospreys an impromptu sail of 5 boats (3 local, 2 Keilder) was organised to sail to Mousehole and back in the gentle force 4/5 south westerly before retiring to bar.

Saturday kicked off with sunshine that lasted for all of 2 hours before the cloud and wind arrived and 12 boats set off for the 1pm start. Wind 4 – 5 – waves Osprey small from the west. Local boat Colin Stephens crewed by Mike Greig (1116) threw down the gauntlet and blasted away showing the national champions, Martin Cooney and Peter Frith (1290) the way home with Mike Pickering and Mike Cox (1336) in third.

As is happening all over the Osprey fleet, Mike Cox was a welcome returnee to the fleet after some 20 years absence. Fellow returnee Andy Postle, back in the frame after a 16 year absence, sailing with Robin Hobson had shown good boat speed but as in the nationals, returned to shore to sort a couple of set up snags in their first outing of 1206, the revamped and restored Martin Creasey missile.

In the second race, 1116 showed good speed and led from the first mark to win by 2 minutes. 1206 were in second but an interesting gybe had allowed 1290 and couple of others through. 1206 caught up on the beat but did not have quite enough to catch the National Champions.

The sport of Mount's Bay carpet boat racing was introduced to the Kielder crew at the barbecue and this interesting pastime is now believed to be heading north.

Sunday dawned grey and ‘orrid. Peter Greig sailing with wife Kelly decided that the golfing look was good, you know the one, where the top of the baseball cap is missing, and when the rain came down you sussed why. Lighter, more fickle winds greeted the class and whilst there was goodish trapezing to start with, by the third race it had disappeared. Lighter conditions suited 2 more crews, enter from the right, Jeremy Williams and James Curnow (1296) and from the left Viola and Mike Scott (1314). The first race had 1296 in the lead at the windward mark which they held onto for the reaches and next beat. The pack was never far behind and on the run 1206 stormed by to take a 50 yard lead into the next beat. This lead was held comfortably on the first reach but once round the gybe mark the weather started to change, the reach went broad to virtually a run, 1296 pushed 1206 high and everyone closed right up but the Scotts in 1314 and the champions in 1290 had dived under the battle to give a lively mark rounding where 5 boats converged, 1206 and 1296 on starboard and the other 3 on port. At this point 1206’s luck continued when the rig tension fitting came away reducing the tension by about half and increasing rake by about 4”. The pack split, converged at the finish line 1314, 1296, 1290, 1206 and 1116.

4th race, game on. 1296 was fast out of the blocks again followed by a very close pack. The wind was shifting by up to 20 degrees. The Cornish boys decided this was the ding dong race with Colin Stephens attacking Jeremy Williams all the way down the run, swapping gybes (physical not verbal – that was saved for the bar after) but at the end of the shortened course it was 1296, 1116, 1290 and 1314 taking 1206 on line by a nose. The race was notable for its massive wind changes where the run became a kite reach and the beat a 2 sail return fetch – hence the shorten course.

The wind died, moved round to westerly, the mist rolled in and it rained. After 40 minutes of cold misery the race started. 1296 and 1206 were milling round the pin end desperately wanting a port tack start – 1296 tacked onto starboard just before the fleet charged the line, 1206 ducked transoms on port in order to keep speed up. Once over the line the fleet did a synchronised tack onto port to get out of the tide and at the first mark it was 1296 followed by 1206 and a few unfamiliar faces. At the gybe mark it remained the same but at this point the wind left, the rain came down – those that went left 1296, 1290, Adam Ellery and Angelo Spencer-Smith (1299) gained, those that went middle or right did less so. The Scotts did enough to nick third result 1296, 1290, 1314, 1299 and 1206.

Where did all of this lead – 3 boats tied all on 9 points. If the rules had been discard next it would have been 1290 first, 1296 second and 1116 third but they weren’t and the money, choccies and silver went to Jeremy Williams and James Curnow who deservedly won in tricky conditions.

Fantastic racing, brilliant hospitality, bring on the nationals but do not let Mikey cook at the barbecue, you will be there all night.

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewSail NoClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Jeremy WilliamsRoger Curnow1296MBSC562119
2Colin StephensMike Greig1116MBSC1152DNF9
3Martin CooneyPeter Frith1290PYC223329
4Viola ScottMike Scott1314KWSC6914314
5Andy PostleRobin Hobson1318/1206ShorhamDNF345517
6Paddy LewisTom Holland1337KWSC45610621
7Mike PickeringM. Cox1336MBSC3478822
8Adam ElleryAngelo Spencer-Smith1324/1299MBSCDNF8109431
9Paul HeatherJohn Osgood1182Wilsonian81197731
10Peter GreigKelly Greig425MBSC910861033
11Barrie ReynoldsMatthew Skewes1234/1018MBSC77DNCDNCDNC40
12Robin GeorgeNicola George1325 10121111941

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