RS200 Winter Warmer at Itchenor Sailing Club
by Rob Struckett on 9 Mar
31 Dec-1 Jan, 4-5 Feb, 4-5 Mar 2017
Winter Warmer weekend 1 and we got 2017 off to a flier!
We had 11 boats on Saturday and 8 on Sunday (in part due to the festivities the night before but, thankfully and perhaps remarkably, not due to firework-related injuries). Thanks to Mark Struckett for running the racing and to Hugh Maclean and Tom Royle for rescuing.
Day one started with a short postponement to allow the wind to fill in from the South West, which it did at around 1pm. The breeze was then a fairly steady 5-8 knots for all four races. George Yeoman and Sophie Ormsby were the quickest to brush off the rust, storming to victory in Race 1. Andy Shaw and Pippa Horne took the win in race 2, before Maria Stanley and Rob Henderson turned on the speed to take the third race. A switch around didn't stop Rob and Maria's charge in the crew's race, but a special mention to Tom Royle who sailed a great race (and put up with my questionable crewing ability) in only his second ever sail. A new star is born?
I'm told that Hugh's live video of the racing was watched by hundreds of people around the world (or by Tim Goodhew repeatedly?) and sparked a few debates about which side of the course was favoured. The answer was "usually left, but not always" and people made some big gains going the other way down the run.
On Sunday the racing started on time in the hope of getting it done before a front (and most importantly, the associated rain) came through. Again, it was not clear which side of the course was favoured, which led to a clean split up many of the beats against the tide. At the beginning it came down to the wind angles that allowed boats to spend slightly more time out of the channel on one side than the other, but that effect lessened as the tide slackened.
Tim Saxton and Holly Scott pushed the boundaries a little too hard in the first race of the day and ended up wading through the mud and water to get unstuck (Holly more reluctantly than Tim). George and Sophie were again the quickest starters, winning races 5 and 7 but Ben Saxton and Izzy Hamilton took race 6. Rob Gullan and Jack Holden, along with George and Sophie, were caught out by the changing start line to be OCS in race 8 as Arthur and Mary Henderson took the bullet and make up the top four after two discards.
Winter Warmer weekend 2 came along with another mix of conditions. Great turnout again - 14 boats! Great racing again - 8 races!
Congratulations to Matt Mee and Emma Norris for winning this weekend only just ahead of George & Sophie and Maria & Rob! Overall, George Yeoman and Sophie Ormsby are tied on points with Maria Stanley and Rob Henderson.
Clashes with the dinghy show and team racing this weekend meant we only had 8 boats for the third and final Winter Warmer, but 24 different boats out over the three weekends was a great turnout!
George Yeoman and Sophie Ormsby dominated the first day on the water with four bullets in the five races. Tim Saxton and Holly Scott took the other and the all-important race in. Racing was tight as always - in fact Senem and I couldn't even be separated from Imogen Stanley on the line in race 3 and we were both given 5th... After a race near Park, it was becoming obvious that the right hand side was paying, so we moved further down the channel to find a more balanced beat. This worked well as the leaders seemed to come from different sides on each lap. Tim and Holly were notably absent from Race 3, citing Holly's sore knee. Tim got his own back though by "perching" for the next race (or at least while Charles Hyatt had his camera out...).
Sunday was a more blustery affair. It began with a picket line formed by the crews outside the Ladies' changing room. Even some of the helms wavered in their resolve a little as the wind and rain battered the Club and other club members chuckled at the prospect of us going sailing. But after a popular vote and a healthy dose of peer pressure we were all off round the corner. In truth it was all a bit of an anticlimax though as we started the first race in sun and about 12 knots. Josh Metcalfe and Millie Alcock won the first two races, and Jack Holden and Libby Watkins took the third as the breeze finally started delivering on the 20-30 knot gusts the forecast promised. Dicken Maclean and Hannah Young took the last one, and the big breeze (and rain) made for an exciting trip home.
In the overall standings Maria Stanley and Rob Henderson's absence practically handed the win to George and Sophie.
A huge thank you to Roger Yeoman, Harry Roome, Charles Hyatt, David Williams and Mark Struckett for their help running the racing.