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Byte Open at Haversham Sailing Club

by John Saunders on 12 May 6-7 May 2017
Bytes at Haversham © John Saunders

It was racing for 'grown-ups' in the Haversham Byte open over the weekend of June 6/7 because the younger section of the fleet were away training at Bowmoor. There were also a few other notable absentees who had tendered their excuses. In consequence the normally strong fleet was reduced to nine sensible sailors who could be guaranteed to perform with decorum in keeping with their adult status.

Race one began on Saturday morning with a brisk but variable wind blowing down the length of the lake giving a long but shifty beat. The boats assembled on the line in a tight group ready for the hooter when there was a 'bonk' followed by much shouting as they crossed with Rachel Moore (Weston) sheepishly doing her guilty turns. Louis Saunders (Combs) was leading on lap one by a decent margin but nothing could be guaranteed particularly down wind with gaps opening and closing regularly. So it was that Stuart Moore (Weston) caught Louis and as they planed into a mark a noisy disagreement took place which continued up the following beat. Gary Hogan (Emberton) asked Rachel as he crossed her, "What's all that about", "Don't know", said Rachel, "I think the kids must be back!". That set the tone for the weekend with good natured, fierce close racing. Louis managed to re take the lead and Mike Radford (West Oxford) subsequently caught Stuart as well. This gave Louis first, mike second and Stuart in third.

In race two conditions were unchanged and although Louis dominated up wind the down wind legs were more of a free for all with boats concertinaing on the legs making nothing certain no lead was too great. This time Rick Whitehouse (Combs) managed to jostle himself into second with Mike in third and Stuart in fourth.

Race three was almost a repeat of the other two with Louis very quick up the lake but a free for all on the reaches and runs. I think all of the top four led at some point. Louis was again first with Stuart second this time followed by Mike. Louis sailed the last couple of laps with his tiller extension hanging by a thread crossing the line not a moment too soon!

Now an evening of takeaway food and cheap beer before blowing up the air beds.

Sunday morning came with lighter winds and later warm sunshine.

Race four saw Mike make the most of the conditions and lead Louis home for the win with Rick in third and Stuart in fourth. Louis was looking uncatchable on points by now but the other places were still wide open.

Race five again in light wind was a Combs one two with Louis followed in by Rick and Mike. Gary Hogan (Emberton) made it to fourth with Stuart sailing in to retire.

Race six saw a great battle between Rick and Louis but Louis made it for the win with Rick in second and Mike third.

So at the end of a very enjoyable weekend it was Louis winning from Mike who beat Rick by only one point. I am sure everyone enjoyed them selves at this friendly club. The Byte circus moves on to Carsington next where 'young' Charlie Sanson won last year and we hope that he and all the other younger sailors return full of enthusiasm and fun.

It is worthy of note that Stuart had collected his new subtle grey boat from Hartleys only the Thursday before devoid of rigging which he had decided to do himself, it being his trade. Not bad, Southampton, Derby, Southampton and on the line at Haversham on Saturday morning with an immaculately rigged boat! Stuart tells us that Hartley have a number of new boats ready for delivery.

Lightweight Rachel Moore had elected to sail with her smaller C1 rig for the weekend and it certainly paid off on the Saturday when she was fully hiked on the gusts, however the lighter Sunday winds proved more difficult. It is a hard choice to make for those sailors of a lighter build when events cover more than one day.

Nationals at WPNSA pre-entry is looking healthy and the discount period has been extended into June so get registered you don't want to miss it!

Overall Results:

PosSail NoNameClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
13573Louis SaundersCombs1112115
23562Mike RadfordWest Oxfordshire23313312
33561Rick WhitehouseCombs42432213
43608Stuart MooreWeston342441017
52623Gary HoganEmberton Park77656428
63577Rachel MooreWeston56775528
71433Phil EastHaversham65510101036
83572Angela OakleyHaversham888671037
91433Harriet EastHaversham101010881046

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