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Learning & Skills Solutions Pyefleet Week - Day 6

by Fiona Brown on 12 Aug 5-12 August 2017

The sun and sea breeze made a welcome return for Brightlingsea Boat Park & Ride Family Friday at Learning & Skills Solutions Pyefleet Week 2017 where the 141 competing boats finally got to enjoy some true champagne sailing conditions and a host of family focused fun ashore.

The wind was relatively light first thing and an initial postponement was made to allow the sea breeze to start to build. Once underway conditions just got better and better and the racing in all classes was exceptionally close. As the regatta goes into its final day we can look forward to some great battles for the silverware.

The 19 strong Brightlingsea One Design fleet once again enjoyed some astonishingly close racing and going into the final day Jeremy Newman's Avocet, crewed by Ollie Newman and Sarah Bines, and Clive Goodwin's Cormorant, crewed by Graham Sanderson and Mark Schofield, are both counting four points with Avocet claiming first place on countback having won race five. Just six points separate third to seventh places with Phil Rust, Tania Bines and Ollie King on ten points, Chris Matthews, David Conlon and Ed Gibbons/Rebecca Bines on eleven, Danny Fox, Tim Hearn, Tony Lane/Bob Hedger on thirteen, Maddy and Fin Anderson and Tom Ballentine on fifteen and Joe Harman, Kerrie Forster and Derick Gentry on sixteen. This class always provides great spectator sport and it looks like they will be putting on an outstanding show for the final day.

Race five in the Parent and Child Class was won by the 2000 of Stephen and Morgan Cross, which puts them in second overall, just two points behind the RS Feva XL of Stuart and Tom Phillips and well in striking distance of snatching victory on the last day. Dave Youngs and Finlay Appleton have secured third place overall in their Topaz Race.

The Slow Handicap race was won by Brian Allen sailing an RS Aero 7 with the RS200 of Rebecca Bines and Connie Hughes second and Paul Aldridge's Solo third. Overall Allen and Bines are now tied on six points with Aldridge in third with a three point delta.

Their third win of the regatta puts the RS Feva XL of Blake and Brett into a three point overall lead from the Wivenhoe One Design of David Tourhay and Lionel Schutter. Sailing an RS Tera Pro, Brooke Hastings was second in the race and goes into the final day in third place but still in striking distance of second at just two points behind Tourhay.

The Asymmetric Fast Handicap has turned into a dog fight between the F18 of Nick Barnes and Neil Baldry and the Musto Skiff of Ben Clegg exchanging first and second places all week. Barnes got the upper hand in race five, which means that the two boats go into the final day on four points apiece. Chris Bines and David Gibbons sailing their RS800 will struggle to catch the leaders but still need to defend their third place from the Tornado of Paul Mines and Stuart Smith.

Whilst many classes remain to be decided, Andy and Sarah Bines sailing a Merlin Rocket have already claimed the Fast Handicap Class with a race to spare. The RS300 of Ed Evans current has a three point lead over Tom Taylor-Jones and Mimi Thomas sailing an RS400 in third, but with several other boats still in striking distance of third their final race will still be a decider.

Melissa Heppell and Louis Hiscocks have the Mirror Class sewn up, but the fight for the remaining podium places in this class will also be tight with just a single point separating Clive Goodwin crewed by Anna/Zoe Goodwin, Malcolm Goodwin crewed by Kaya Nawrot and Amelie Hiscocks crewed by Simon Hiscocks.

Whilst still chasing for a podium place in the Mirrors, Amelie Hiscocks has no such problem in the Cadet Handicap Class where she has sailed her Optimist into a guaranteed first place with three race wins and a discarded second place. The battle in this class on the final day will be between Elizabeth Hill's Topper and Freya Gascoyne's Laser 4.7 which are separated by just two points in second and third respectively. Fourth placed Harry McTiernan sailing his RS Tera Sport will be hoping for some significant luck as he is also still technically within striking distance of a podium finish.

Steve Williams straight wins scoreline in the Laser class secure him class victory but Mark Schofield and Ben Powell will be fighting for second place today, whilst also needing to watch their backs to ensure they don't allow Richard Herbert of Tim Ashworth to gain sufficient advantage to sneak into the top three.

Alex Clarke in a Laser Radial added a fourth win to his record and with his worst score a second has won the Laser Handicap Class, Josh Davies sailing a Laser 4.7 was second in the race to tie up second overall and Alex Lightly confirmed his third overall too. All three boats still plan to race on the final day despite the results already being confirmed.

Peter Purkiss has a very neat all bullets score card and with a race to go confirmed his win in the RS700 fleet. Simon Redfern and David Bridle will battle it out on the final day for the remaining podium places with just two points separating them going into the last race.

Whilst the racers were battling out around the River Colne and Brightlingsea Creek, Marcel the Magician and his lovely assistants kept the kids enthralled ashore with balloon models, face painting, silly games and live magic shows. The promenade and beach were lined with spectators enjoying the fabulous weather and the spectacle of the fleets haring around the turning mark and coming to the finish line immediately in front of the club house.

Conditions remained perfect through the evening for the family beach BBQ with Brightlingsea Sailing Club's legendary volunteer galley team, led by joint Vice Commodore's House Ian and Tina Hastings, producing yet another delicious meal for everyone. Singer Leah Sanchez kept the vibe chilled and the dance floor was filled with families cutting a rug to see out Family Fun Friday.

Saturday sees the conclusion of this year's Learning & Skills Solutions Pyefleet Week and with so many classes still be to decided its going to be a nail biting finish.

Further information and full results are available from www.pyefleetweek.com

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