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Byte Open at Frampton on Severn Sailing Club

by Rick Whitehouse on 27 Oct 2016 9 October 2016
Bytes racing © John Saunders

The last Byte open meeting of the season was shared with Enterprises and Mirrors at Frampton on Severn. The day was dry, mostly sunny and winds varied from minus three to about 10 miles per hour, with a line of trees around the periphery of the lake ensuring tricky approaches to the windward marks.

Of the nine competitors there were three with a chance to win the travellers series – Stu Moore, who had competed in all but one of the previous 8 qualifying events and had two firsts and a third, Charlie Sansom, with 6 previous results including one first, a second and a third and Rick Whitehouse also with two firsts and a third but no other qualifying events. Consequently, although Rick needed the result to qualify, if any one of the three won the Frampton event, they would also win the travellers.

The day comprised four races, in pairs, back to back before and after lunch, with Enterprises, Bytes and Mirrors starting at 2 minute intervals. The first race start seemed to favour the starboard end, Rick held back a little too long and gave half the fleet a clear start ahead but he caught and passed all but Stu by the penultimate lap. Closing on an Enterprise at the windward mark forced Stu round the outside, whilst Rick was able to cut inside for a small advantage on the broad reach, which became a better lead when Stu, frustrated by his orbit of the Enterprise, put too much vigour into his roll gybe and capsized. Rick held this advantage to the finish with Stu second. Sarah Kirk, local event co-organizer gained third.

The second race saw Rick pull off a port end start, combined with careful playing of the variable wind strength across the course to develop what looked like an unassailable lead – all lost when the fleet came down the run with a gust. Bemused by the ensuing melee at the leeward mark, Rick managed to drop back to last before realizing he also had weed on his daggerboard. Charlie Gained first place and Christien Conlan, another of the Bowmoor Byte fleet took second. With Stu 3rd and Sarah 4th, Rick was 5th.

After a ploughmans lunch sitting in the sunshine, the third race saw Rick make another good port end start in clear air but was unable to hold Stu back, finishing Stu, then Rick then Charlie. This left both the event and the travellers open and dependent upon the last race! Another clear air port end start (didn't they notice by then?) gave Rick a 50 yard lead at the windward mark- a combination of careful course selection to avoid the increasingly large dead patches on the lake and regular board inspections for weed enabled him to maintain this lead to the finish. With Charlie second, Christien third and Stu 4th. The rest of the Bowmoor fleet in attendance were Matthew Banbrook, sailing a CI rig, needing more wind to be competitive and Zoe Bazen, practicing her loud-hailing to good effect. Completing the fleet were Lewis Bennett from Frampton and Rachel Moore, (Stu's sister and, more importantly, Class Secretary) from Weston.

The Byte fleet with Classic rig, CI and CII variants all eligible for Open and National meetings hopes to exceed a target of 50 boats at the Nationals in Weymouth next July – this will trigger a 50% entry fee subsidy from our builder, Hartley, so start planning now!

Overall Results:

1st & Travellers winner, Rick Whitehouse (Combs SC)
2nd & Travellers 2nd, Charlie Sansom (Bowmoor SC)
3rd & Travellers 3rd, Stu Moore (Weston SC)
4th Christien Conlan (Bowmoor SC)
5th Sarah Kirk (Frampton OS SC)
6th Zoe Bazen (Bowmoor SC)
7th Matthew Banbrook (Bowmoor SC)
8th Lewis Bennett (Frampton OS SC)
9th Rachel Moore (Weston SC)

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