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Ocean Elements 2018

Byte Open at West Oxfordshire Sailing Club

by Rick Whitehouse 13 Apr 2017 21:46 BST 8 April 2017

The day dawned sunny with a clear blue sky, which was strange for the competitors setting off early from Manchester, where that never happens.

15 Bytes congregated at West Oxfordshire for the second open meeting of the season. Although open to Classic, CI and CII rigs, the predicted light winds resulted in even the lightest helms opting for the CII rig. The start lines were short, with the wind varying from 0 to 5mph and swinging from South to West and back - choosing the right end of the line was tricky. The committee boat end was heavily congested but, spotting a shift and increased wind strength only 50 metres away at the pin end, Louis Saunders, Stu Moore and Mike Radford made a dominating port end start for the short beat to the first mark. Rick Whitehouse didn't quite make it to the port end before the start but rounded the windward mark in 4th. He then went wide on the run to overtake all but Louis, finally catching him at the looward mark, with the fleet, bunching up from the rear with the wind, close behind. Rick then pulled away in clear air and maintained his lead to the finish.

The second race again saw congestion at the committee boat end of the start, this time favoured by the wind. Louis was in a supposedly commanding position but several boats attempted to squeeze between him and the committee boat, resulting in shouting, collisions and penalties - Bytes are quite rigid and don't squeeze well. This mess on the start set several of the main contenders back in the fleet but Louis pulled through to second, Mike, perhaps with the advantage of local knowledge was first. Matt Banbrook, probably the lightest sailor in the fleet, pulled through to 3rd, successfully holding off a challenge from Rick in the final beat.

The third race again saw contention on the start line, with several boats over and recalled (this almost never happens at Byte events). Rick kept his nose clean and found a clear beat to the windward mark and again successfully went wide down the run to get an apparently unassailable lead. Lightweight Matt, however, closed steadily and probably needed only one more lap to catch Rick but that was not to be. In her best race of the day Rachel Moore was 4th, giving her 7th overall and first lady.

Overall Results:

1st Rick Whitehouse (Combs SC)
2nd Mike Radford West (Oxfordshire SC)
3rd Louis Saunders (Combs SC)
4th Matt Banbrook (Bowmoor SC)
5th Chris Conlan (Bowmoor SC)
6th Stu Moore (Weston SC)
7th Rachel Moore (Weston SC)
8th Zoe Bazen (Bowmoor SC)
9th Gary Hogan (Emberton Park SC)
10th Emily Watson (Bowmoor SC)
11th Lucy Haydon (Bowmoor SC)
12th Teresa Doran (Bowmoor SC)
13th Angela Oakley (Haversham SC)
14th Olly Cooke (Bowmoor SC)
15th Tom Cooke (Bowmoor SC)