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Musto Skiff Open at Datchet Water Sailing Club

by Dave Poston on 8 Mar 2013 2-3 March 2013

3°C and 3 knots of breeze... 3 is NOT the magic number...

Thirteen brave and enthusiastic skiff sailors arrived at Datchet to be greeted with both the thermometer and the wind gauge reading 3.

The race officer rightly postponed and later cancelled sailing for the day. With the RYA Dinghy Show on at the same weekend the majority of the fleet... went sailing anyway! Informal racing round a short course in 0-3 knots of wind is surprisingly fun... you just have to decide the windward mark after the start. The fleet came in for brownies (thanks Jules!) and an early night as an early start was scheduled for the next day.

Sunday dawned with thermometer and anemometer again too low for comfort, but this time the wind filled in for four short and intense races. The race officer set a short course with lots of laps which had the effect of keeping everything close and tight, and being quite hard work!

Race 1 - The breeze built for the start to a respectable 10-12 knots. Dave Poston came up the left of the first beat to round the windward mark first with a commanding lead, which he held onto for two laps until a tangle downwind allowed Rich Pelley, Bruce Keen and Ben Schooling through. Keen and Schooling fought it out behind Pelley with Pelly taking the bullet, Keen 2nd and Schooling 3rd.

Race 2 - The breeze dropped to around 5-8 knots. Schooling won a battle with Keen and Pelley to take the lead early on with Poston and Ed Wilkinson fighting it out behind. There were lots of games to play upwind and down in the patchy breeze - the right upwind (and left downind) generally paid due to more breeze, but it was by no means consistent! Results were Schooling 1st, Pelley 2nd, Keen 3rd.

Race 3 - This time Keen won the battle at the front with Schooling 2nd and Poston 3rd. Well done to "Team Datchet" newcomer John Holroyd putting in a good performance in 4th in this race - not bad for a first event! I noted in this race that the whole fleet finished about 1 minute after the first boat, pretty close stuff!

Race 4 - The wind came back up to the 12-15 knot mark just as arms and legs were starting to tire - 5 laps per race is a lot of hoists and drops! Poston and Keen traded places several times for the lead with the breeze more steady and the left of the beat paying with better shifts. Despite nearly wiping out into Keen due to falling off the rack (my legs had gone!). Poston held onto the lead to the finish with Keen 2nd and Schooling 3rd. This gave Schooling the overall victory by 1 point over Keen, with Poston in 3rd.

Thanks to DWSC for what turned out to be a pretty good event despite the conditions!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
6th456SERGEI SAMUS 879428

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