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3000 class at the Medway Dinghy Regatta

by Tony Hunt on 21 Jul 2011 2-3 July 2011

With absolutely no wind forecast for the weekend, there was a disappointing if understandable absence of visitors to Wilsonian SC for the third round of the 3000 Travellers' Trophy, held as part of the Medway Dinghy Regatta.

All four home boats were out in force, however, and were miraculously rewarded just after the start of Race 1 with a pleasant breeze that soon saw trapezes in use - so much for the forecast! After some nip and tuck on the beat downriver against the tide, Tony Hunt and Suzanne Hall took a useful lead until on the final approach to the windward mark they felt an ominous slowing and loss of pointing ability - weed! Faced with the possibilities of sticking it out and waiting till after the bear away to clear the weed from the centreboard, or stopping to do it right away, they chose to continue slowly, then stop and do it anyway! Martin Brown and Max Caston were quick to take advantage and rounded the windward mark in first place.

After the next reach - between two buoys which the entire 80-odd Regatta entries seemed to be sailing between in one direction or the other - the three leading 3k's went into the mark in line-abreast amid the chaos! Martin and Max held their lead, however, and indeed held it to the finish despite a spirited attack by David Fenech and Ali Williams. Meanwhile Tony and Suzanne in their Laser 3000 watched despondantly as the V3k's planed off downwind in the, for them, just sub-planing windstrength. Peter Heyes - the best-performing Wilsonian helm at the recent Nationals when crewed by Ali Wiliams - was busy re-acquainting his new crew Helen with the joys of dinghy sailing, and spent some time trawling with the kite to come in last; still, crews take heart - it shows how important you are!

By the second, afternoon race, the wind had reversed direction and was dropping. Martin and Max got into an early lead, but were never safe from being overtaken as puffs of wind came and went, and while they still led at the downstream turning mark, it was clear the race was anyone's. Tony and Suzanne chose to hang on longer out of the tide before gybing off for the shortened-course downwind finish and popped out in front to somehow take the win on a very congested finish line where boats of various fleets were stationary, blanketed by those behind. David and Ali snatched second while Martin and Max decided to make themselves really popular and add to the confusion by capsizing in almost zero wind mere feet from the line!

With the first three competitors on equal points, there was all to play for on the Sunday. Winds were again very light, but most of the time it as possible to make useful progress downriver against the tide - initially downwind then, as the sea breeze slowly took over, on a beat. Tony and Suzanne three times established a lead, only to see it wiped out as the rest of their fleet (and other fleets as well) came up on new breeze, but after nearly two hours of racing they found themsleves comfortably in the lead on a freshening beat. They and adjacent fleets were now approaching the time limit, but they were also approaching the next mark and there was a RIB standing by it flying flags - was this the point where the course was shortened? Alas no, so that all competitors were out of time minutes afterward. While there was now breeze, it was getting late, so that for the sake of the many travellers from other fleets who needed to pack up their boats, the race committee decided to cancel the afternoon race.

This left the results as they stood on the Saturday, with the first three 3k's on equal points! The ISAF tie-breaker rules then established the final positions, wherein winning is rewarded, and winning last is rewarded most of all!

Some of the keener 3k types are now off to Abersoch Dinghy Week in the last full week of July, but for the rest the next TT event is at a new 3k venue of Burnham on Crouch on 27-29 August, as part of the famous Burnham Week.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3461Tony HuntSuzanne HallWilsonian SC314 DNF8
2nd3608Martin BrownMax CastonWilsonian SC134 DNF8
3rd3605David FenechAlison WilliamsWilsonian SC224 DNF8
4th3602Peter HeyesHelen EamesWilsonian SC445 DNC13

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