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Pico Open Meeting at Thorpe Bay Yacht Club

by Mike Thomason 22 Jun 2007 23:22 BST 23 – 24 June 2007

31 Picos entered this two day, 6 race open event in combination with the RS Feva open. Senior race officer Alan Willis put all new entrants at ease during the pre-race brief as for 11 crews this was their first open event.

Race 1 started in a steady force 4 which suited the heavier adult / cadet combinations of Ian Little (ex Merlin Rocket) with daughter Millie, Tracey Metcalf (another ex Merlin sailor) with son Charlie, and Mike Thomason with new crew Charlotte Jennings.

Mike and Charlotte were quick off the line and led for the first two laps until overhauled by team Little and team Metcalf. During lap 3 the front runners were steadily overhauling the Feva back markers – who said Picos were slow?! Wind speed had progressively increased to a steady F6 which caused difficulties for some of the less experienced crews. The four support Ribs were kept busy and event organiser Shaun Christian sailing with cadet Toby Jennings, together with Nick and Laura Cotgrove, gave up their 4th and 5th positions to lend assistance to the younger crews.

James Poulton with Dad Rick as crew powered through to finish 4th with the all-cadet boat of James Christian and Bradley Suttling seconds behind in 5th. During the wait period, wind speeds increased to 31mph with gusts of 34mph (TBYC weather station) so Alan Willis promptly abandoned races 2 and 3. A fantastic broad reach was enjoyed by all on the rollercoaster ride back to the beach, suitably followed by hot drinks and homemade cakes courtesy of the cadet mums.

Sunday forecast was F 2 – 3 with 4 races now scheduled. However light winds prevailed and start times were critical before the Thames ebb set in.

Race 4 was a struggle for all with just 1 lap completed for both Fevas and Picos. Tracey Metcalf swapped Charlie for older son Thomas and took their second bullet of the event. Team Little also swapped crews with twin Vicky now at the helm and Dad up front (something to do with less drag), and put in a fine performance coming in second, with a fantastic result by Nick Elmore (Hurricane Nat Champ) with son Teddy, seconds later in third. Alex Farrall started to come back on form with a fourth followed in with a good effort by William Thomason and Alex Hadley in 5th.

A long wait ensured at the committee boat as the wind faded. What to do with 51 Picos and Fevas? Well the answer was to swim and sing! An hour later the pressure arrived and race 5 got under way just as the tide turned. Team Metcalf took their third bullet to wrap up the series. Team Little and Alex Farrall had a final tacking duel to the finish for 2nd and 3rd followed by another battle for 4th and 5th by brother sister combination of Edward / Isabel Woodford holding off Jonathon Snow.

Race 6 started in the fast flowing ebb flowing along the line. The light winds caused difficulty to hold position on the line against the tide and the windward mark was subsequently made in a single beat on port. The Metcalfs were again first around the windward with what appeared to be an unassailable lead. This was not to be as Alex Farrall wisely steered higher across the ebb to the gybe mark and led the fleet home.

The event was convincingly won by the Metcalfs with 3 bullets and discarding a second. Prizes were awarded to the top 4 in addition to Jonathon Snow second all cadet boat, Edward / Isabel Woodford 3rd all cadet, Molly Christian / Ella Kilkelly 1st all girl over 11 and Madeleine Thomason / Sophie Simpson 1st all girl under 11.

The Laser Centre donated a new Black Pico race sail which was raffled to those who had started all races. Commodore Gordon Sanders pulled out the wining ticket and awarded the prize to a beaming Jonathon Snow.

The weekend proved the Pico to be a great versatile boat capable of being raced in varied wind strengths and by light and heavy weight crews for competitive racing.

Our thanks to Shaun Christian for organising and running the event, Our race officers and spotters, support crews, John the beach master and never forgetting of course the cadet mums for supplying us with a never ending amount of hot drinks and home made cakes.

Top 20 results:

Pos Sail No Helm Crew R1 R4 R5 R6 Net Pts
17880 Tracey Metcalf Thomas Metcalf11123
27977 Alex Farrall-313318
35720 Vicky Little Ian Little312248
48951 Mike Thomason Charlotte Jennings268311
56705 Nick Elmore Teddy Elmore3236514
67 Jonathon Snow- 3175921
77876 Edward Woodford Isabel Woodford62941525
88941 William Thomason Alex Hadley315101227
99741 Bob Binnendijk Max Duce529131129
108942 Will Arney- 72991329
112881 James Christian Bradley Suttling429161434
129736 Shaun Christian Toby Jennings829151841
139567 Andrew McKeown Helen McKeown312971046
147861 Molly Christian Ella Kilkelly312912748
157879 Mathew Cowley Oliver Neal312914649
164804 Nick Cotgrove Laura Cotgrove929192553
179740 Maddie Thomason Sophie Simpson1129222154
1810663 Finlay Cullender John Cullender3129111656
199738 Abbie Suttling Serena Stuart312921858
2010665 William WLARDMorgan George Warrington1029321958

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