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Gill 2017 728x90

505 Open at Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club

by Lee Marriott 9 May 2017 08:13 BST 6-7 May 2017
505s at the Isle Of Sheppey © Chas Bedford

The Isle Of Sheppey Sailing Club (IOSSC) welcomed the 505 class with the promise of great sailing and superb social, sharing the course with the Cherub class they didn't disappoint.

The first day greeted the travellers with steady NE'ly 20/25kts, a large but short chop, and a raging ebb tide, which by the end of the day tested all the sailors and equipment to the limit, many playing it safe. At the front of the fleet it got down and dirty with many place changes, upwind the tide was everything but down wind shifts and pressure increases could come into play. However the stand out boat was Nathan Bachelor and Norman Byrd. Not only were they fast at sailing but they were fast swimmers too.

Saturday had a windward leeward course – with the start/finish line placed in the middle. Each race was 3 laps.

Race 1 was made substantially closer when team Batchelor / Byrd opted for an unscheduled pit stop. The 2nd run had 5 boats all vying for the lead. Rounding up first were Ben Iliffe and Paddy Lewis, looking good upwind and keeping things sensible in the increasing chop downwind. After a slower 1st lap, Charlie Walters and Dougal Cram had made it back up to second place, Tudor Owen and Tom Bruton with good bursts of speed in the gusts were never far from the chocolates.

However, back came Batchelor / Byrd, high on the port layline, to take 3 positions and round just in front. The final run was a tense affair - Sheppey isn't deep enough when you turn the boat fully open. However Batchelor/Byrd held on for the win.

Race 2 was a cleaner affair – Batchelor/Byrd pulled clear during the first lap, with Walters/Cram clear in second and the usual suspects in a close group behind. Positions changing all the time. The water was disappearing, meaning that many crews were touching with their centreboards.

At the final leeward mark, Batchelor/Byrd, with the victory at their mercy, visited Davy Jones' locker for a second time on the final gybe into the leeward mark. Most important was that they were able to recover the boat, while standing on the bottom beside the leeward mark... hmmmm.

Charlie and Dougal were the beneficiaries, winning race 2, with Graeme Willcox and Robinson in second. Iliffe / Lewis snatching a second 3rd place.

The PRO suggested that there would be 4 races on Sunday in 10-15 knots, so all to play for, with discards to come in, and any of the top 5 reasonably able to win. The smart money will probably stay with team Batchelor / Byrd - surely they can't stack it in again, can they?

Day 2 started with many sailors still recovering from yesterday's extreme sailing and evening entertainment. The weather gods had answered our prayers and the wind had reduced to a steady 12/15kts and backed to the North. Yesterday's conditions meant that a race was lost so the PRO rescheduled to hold 4 shorter races today. As the day progressed the gods took our request literally and the wind reduced to zero by race 5 (third of the day), race 6 was subsequently abandoned.

As predicted the day before Nathan Bachelor & Norman Byrd were back to full strength following his swim the day before taking all three race wins. Race 3 started 45 minutes before high water and the breeze was steady from the north. Everyone had a clean start but spilt almost 50/50 up each side of the course. The fight for the top place was fought hard between Bachelor/Byrd and Walters/Cram who were hungry for victory. With only 2 laps per race the fleet was kept tight and position changes where frequent.

Race 4 saw the course skew further to the north west and the ebb tide start, most people opting to go left all the way up the first beat. The fleet remained closely packed and all bar a couple went left again on the run, however the wind was dropping quickly and the earlier fast reaches started to become slow dead runs. Bachelor/Byrd and Walters/Cram continued their fight for first and second, just a little slower than before.

For race 5 the course was reset again as the wind continued to move more westerly. This time the wind was reducing quickly and the tide increasing. The fleet went left again and tried to judge the lay-line taking into account the dropping wind and increased tide. Many failed, naturally Bachelor/Byrd and Walters/Cram were on the money rounding the mark and dead running downwind. The rest of the fleet followed like ducks until the next windward mark where the wind stopped. Many boats had enough headway to just beat the tide but this separated the boats. Bachelor/Byrd rounded and could then use the tide to increase the gap whilst the next boat struggled. By the end of the race the course was shortened to the leeward mark and those left behind taken towards Holland, 2 boats unable to round the windward mark and thus timed out. Race 6 was abandoned and some boats had to be towed in.

More pictures can be found on the Isle Of Sheppey Sailing Club Facebook page & International 505 Class Association of Great Britain Facebook page.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClub
19180Nathan BachelorNorman ByrdTynemouth SC
29085Charlie WaltersDougal CramDatchet SC
38905Graeme WilcoxBrennan RobinsonNSC/BYC
49158Ben IllifePaddy LewisDWSC
59093Tudor OwenTom BrutonWhitstable YC
69032Jim BlythD SamdralLargo Bay SC
79178Chris Lewns Jarrod SimploinRYA
89159Mark WestonAndy WeatherspoonWest Riding SC
98432Russ WheelerLee MarriottIOSSC
108881N RabbitsJ CarterBurton SC
119126Sturart TurnballRichard NurseBurton SC
129156Mike PickeringMike PriddleRestronguet SC
138963Martin HodgsonAdrian MillsStone SC