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Ocean Elements 2016

Df65 and Df95 Winter/Spring Series Round 3 at Fleetwood Model Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson on 5 Feb 4 February 2017

On approach to Fleetwood you were greeted with a very black overcast sky. Wow, was it going to snow? The promised forecast was to remain dry and no rain.

The only buoys we could comfortably use were three near the jetty, but this would have left us out a vital beat that's usually put in on the first leg to spread out the fleet. From the jetty we would have sailed a reach to the first mark following each other around the course.

A couple more buoys were dragged around from the boat store and one was placed at a fair distance as the windward mark. Not ideal as it was still quite close to the shore at about 10 feet away from the bank and bordering a patch where the wind was light. This was as far as Tony could chuck it in without having to go and get the rowing boat.

First up at 12:00 this time was the privilege of the small Dragons with the big brothers to follow at 14:30. Eric from the DF95 crew volunteered to be race officer and thought one and a half laps should be about right all taken to port.

The first race had our only non-aftermarket boat sprint off and leave the rest. Then towards the first mark was where the fun started, unless you had whiskers protruding out of your face, you'd have been pretty clueless to where the wind was actually coming from. Mike then took over and lead the way with Garry in hot pursuit.

Ken disappeared for a short while to get a long pole as his boat had got caught up on the far bank. Eric managed in the meantime to coach it away while taking scores, with the rest of the skippers confirming the numbers to his aged eyes.

We kept the same course for all eight races just to add to the excitement and to test the sailing skills of the individuals. Dave Jolly then lost his boat on the same spot as Ken but managed to free it off with a bit of luck between the light gusts.

Tony failed to finish the seventh race as he had more rudder issues. Failing to take out the drain plug after the third race onward left him with a hull full of water thus submerging a few vital electrical components (maybe a good time to check out a source for that Plastikote they all rave about). He then left out the last race, otherwise the remainder of the eight skippers present endured to the end.

Paul Balcombe now arrived with the rescue boat to save Tony's drifting uncooperative sailing vessel and at the same time jiggle a few buoys around.

At the change over time, we found that there was only three DF95 skippers to sail in the second half. Paul B found that he was having radio issues as his winch wasn't sheeting in fully, leaving just Eric that had not sailed up to now and only Garry that had switched outfits.

Not looking good they decided just to have an hour of practice, so the DF95 did not race.

In the end it had remained dry for the day and we had had some good racing with the smaller dragons, maybe next time for the DF95. The televised rugby match may have had something to do with today's low turnout.

Df65 top three:

1 Mike Parkington, 6pts
2 Garry Benson, 13pts
3 Tony Wilson, 15pts

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