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2ndhanddinghies RS200 SW Ugly Tour at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by John Teague on 26 Oct 2016 22 October 2016
RS200 SW Ugly Tour at Chew Valley Lake © Primrose Salt

The final event in the 2016 RS200 SW Ugly Tour, sponsored by 2ndhanddinghies.com took place at Chew Valley Lake SC on Saturday 22nd October. A very healthy 29 boats arrived at what promised to be an extremely competitive event in each of the Gold, Silver and Bronze fleets, with potential for lots of place changing in each fleet. There were however two problems upon arrival, the first, was there actually any wind, and the second, if there was actually any wind, where was it, as the thick fog meant it was debatable whether we could actually see the water, let alone wind!

Thankfully rumours of wind sightings on various peoples journeys to Chew, plus a forecast for 8-10mph of wind proved correct, as the fog lifted and wind began to fill in. Following bacon sandwiches, tea and a briefing, the fleet headed out into a light but promising breeze. With the first race under way, we had our first glimpse of who had sussed out the conditions, and it was the Parkstone team of Owain Hughes/Ian Mairs who led the fleet around the windward mark, followed by the Bristol Corinthian team of John Teague/Helen Summersgill and the Red Wharf Bay team of Matt Mee/Emma Norris. The rest of the fleet were hot on their heels and keen to make an impact, however it was Mee/Norris who took the initiative, gybing off early into pressure and leading by the first mark, followed by Teague/Summersgill and Hughes/Mairs. These three boats held their positions to the finish, with the fleet behind battling down the final run, with the Bristol Corinthian team of Chris Baker/Emily Forrester leading the charge and having a blistering first race in their first event.

Race 2 saw the breeze build a little, up to the forecasted 8-10mph, and the fleet once again head for the first windward mark. This time it was Teague/Summersgill who lead the way, with Mee/Norris and the Parkstone team of Edd Whitehead/Claire Walsh hot on their heels. Teague/Summersgill held their lead to the finish, allowing them to witness the oh-so-close final leeward mark gybing battle, between Whitehead/Walsh who led into the mark and Mee/Norris who managed to sneak through to take second place. It was the turn of local Chew sailors James Williams/Vicky Counsell to have their best race of the day in fourth position, with Thornbury sailors John Harvey/Sally Harvey just behind.

The third race was to be the decider, with the event between Mee/Norris and Teague/Summersgill, and the overall SW Ugly Tour series with Whitehead/Walsh as well. Some quick totting up of scores and mental arithmetic between boats and nobody was any wiser, basically it was a first over the line scenario. The fleet were rather enthusiastic to get away however, and a general recall with the contenders buried at the committee boat would prove an important event. So the fleet got away second time lucky on a black flag, and once again Mee/Norris had led Teague/Summersgill and Whitehead/Walsh into the windward mark and appeared to pull away. Mee/Norris gybed early and the battle behind saw some attacking sailing from Whitehead/Walsh, as they traded gybes with Teague/Summersgill in a battle to do all they could to overtake. The upshot of this was that they had both reeled in Mee/Norris and approached the leeward mark a couple of boat lengths off their transom, with Teague/Summersgill holding Whitehead/Walsh by a boat length. This was setting itself up for a big battle for the rest of the race, however that recall and black flag start came back to haunt Mee/Norris who were the first to be pinged at the leeward gate, followed by Whitehead/Walsh, leaving Teague/Summersgill a comfortable lead. It turned out that one of the aforementioned boats had found themselves at the pin end, approaching a little early, and so decided as one should, to bail early and find a new lane. Text book. Unless of course you forget its a black flag and power on and gybe around the pin end... (sorry Edd!). So as the race ran its course, Royal Torbays Andy Brierley/Larrissa Connabeer showed their favoured light wind pace to push hard and pull away from the fleet to take second place, followed by Chew Valleys John Spelman/Phil Brook and Reuben Woodbridge/Jo Woodbridge having their best races in third and fourth, along with Izzy Savage/Paul Williams from Bristol also putting in their best result and another Chew boat of Tim Houghton/Nick Marindale doing the same.

This left the event win to John Teague/Helen Summersgill from Bristol Corinthian, winning from Matt Mee/Emma Norris from Red Wharf bay on equal points. Third place went to the fast finishing team of Andy Brierley/Larrissa Connabeer from Royal Torbay. Silver fleet was won by a single point by Owain Hughes/Ian Mairs from Parkstone in 5th place, with John Spelman/Phil Brooks taking second place silver in 6th. The bronze fleet was won by Chris Baker/Emily Forrester from Bristol Corinthian in a fantastic 7th place at their first event, with Chew sailors James Williams/Vicky Counsell taking second bronze in 11th. The event had been exceptionally close throughout the fleet, shown especially by 5th to 11th place being separated by only 3 points!

But what impact did the day have on the overall SW Ugly Tour sponsored by 2ndhanddinghies.com? The full results will be along shortly, but the headlines are that Pete and Flea Haddrell from Burghfield put together a consistent counting series to take the Bronze fleet in 12th place overall from Victoria Upton/Jess Harding from Exe in 14th place. The Silver fleet was won by Hannah Smith and Nick Smith from Thornbury in 8th place, from their club rivals John and Sally Harvey in 10th place. The Gold fleet really did go down to the last race of the last event, with the top three all finishing on 5 points, the closest ever finish in the series, calling it a draw was suggested, but after some consulting of the rules, Matt Mee/Emma Norris from Red Wharf Bay/Burghfield took third place, Edd Whitehead/Claire Walsh/Kate Allam took second and John Teague/Helen Summersgill/Naomi Pound/Kerry Pinker took the title. Next years season already looks exciting, with battles and rivalries to continue, will you join us?

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