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Sunsail 2017 December

Byte Open at Combs Sailing Club

by John Saunders 15 Sep 2016 15:31 BST 10-11 September 2016
Bytes at Combs © John Saunders

It has been previous reflected upon that bearing in mind the comparatively diminutive stature of the average Byte sailor they are possessed of a considerable appetite! So it was that fourteen Byte sailors descended on Combs Sailing Club on Saturday morning evidently in need of substantial sustenance. National Champion Louis Saunders was of course ready for this and responded by cooking copious quantities of egg, bacon and sausage which was duly consumed.

Now for the business of the day.

Sailors had travelled from as far as Weston in Hampshire and Bowmoor in Gloucertershire for competitive racing, as well as the usual enthusiastic eating. The morning was very still with the hills reflected in the glassy lake, however texture began to appear and a gentle wind strolled in from the South. Not much and a terrible direction but enough to start race one. The boats inched along the edge of the wind shadow and had to choose an angle into an almost windless mark. Louis Saunders used his local knowledge rounded first and lead off into an unassailable lead finishing first with Charlie Sanson (Bowmoor) in second and Stuart Moore (Weston) in third.

Conditions did not change for race two but Stuart Moore had a better first beat than Louis only to come unstuck going into the mark letting Louis through. A little wind sprung up for the next mark which both boats approached together where much jovial shouting ensued. Louis again went on to win with Charlie second and Mike Radford (West Oxford) third.

Then the break for lunch with breakfast now digested and hunger kicking in the helms and helpers tucked in to Nigella's choc chip chilli, of which a large cauldron was imbibed.

At the re-start there was no improvement in the wind which was frustratingly awkward but once again Louis sailed to a clear win followed home by Mike then Charlie. The officer reviewed the situation and decided that it would be a good idea to end the sailing day at this point and add an extra race the following morning as the forecast was for improved wind.

This left a gap between showering and the fleet descending en masse on the local pub for further sustenance. The visitors went on a muddy country walk while Louis and I went off to stock up on Sunday's lunch.

Later in the pub, more food then back to tents and motorhomes for a good night's sleep. Sunday dawned clear and sunny with the usual smell of bacon drifting over the water. The wind was much stronger but still twitchy and full of holes. Louis made the best of it with the other lake sailors swapping places behind him. At the bell it was again Louis from Charlie and Mike.

Nothing much changed for race five but the increased wind made sailing more comfortable. This time Louis fell victim to the 'holes' and Mike passed him and sailed for the win leaving Louis second and Rachel Moore (Weston) in a well deserved third.

A quick calculation indicated that Louis had already won the event and realising his important non sailing obligations he retired to prepare lunch.

The final race now started without him under a brisk wind and pleasant sun. Again Mike Radford led the fleet home but this time with Alexandria Bowden (Combs) in second and Chris Wooley (Combs) in third.

Boats and tents were packed away and after a leisurely lunch visitors began to drift away. All in all it had been a pleasurable weekend with racing competitive but rather less than dramatic. The Combs Byte fleet had been somewhat decimated by approaching weddings but other sailors stepped in and sailed borrowed boats. I do not believe that any other class is so varied in it's members meaning that the youngest was Chris Lilley (Etherow) at 12 and sailing his Classic rig boat and the oldest is.....err older than that! The common denominator is that no one is very heavy and that is why there were five ladies sailing.

The Combs Sailing Club open meeting was a pleasant quiet affair after some of the wild and windy open races of late but great for all that in the lovely Peak District scenery.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st3573Louis SaundersCombs11112(DNC)6
2nd3562Mike RadfordW.Oxfordshire‑43231110
3rd3593Charlie SansomBowmore2232‑5413
4th867Stu MooreWeston34544‑620
5th3577Rachel MooreWeston7‑9.5853730
6th3588Zoe BazenBowmore65677‑831
7th2623Gary HoganEmberton park59.5498‑1035.5
8th406Alex BowdenCombs867(DNC)DNC236
9th3301Chris WooleyCombs‑13111166337
10th3568Tom CookeBowmore98989‑1143
11th3572Angela OakleyHaversham127‑131212548
12th456Chris LilleyEtherow1113(DNC)1011954
13th3591Olly CookeBowmore10‑12121110DNC55
14th1120Stuart ReidCombs(DNC)DNC10DNCDNCDNC62