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Musto Skiff Open at Whitstable Yacht Club

by Rick Perkins 9 Jun 2009 12:33 BST 6-7 June 2009

3 is the Magic Number

3 is the number of opens so far this year
3 is the number of different event winners
30+ is the number of entries at each event
3 perhaps will be the number of different National Champions in 3 years ... we'll see in a couple of weeks

As is traditional the first day of any Musto Skiff Open event at WYC the 30 competitors were greeted with high winds and a nasty chop kicked up by the wind over tide conditions.

The fleet launched for the first of four races and were treated to some epic downwind sailing in very challenging conditions.

The first days racing was full of tales; three sailors really mastered the conditions well with Andy Peake leading overnight from Bruce Keen and Graeme Oliver.

A couple of tales from the day

Andy Peake will learn to tie bigger knots or will buy 6mm rope for his trapeze adjusters; whilst sending it on the run in the second race (in second place) his adjusters were down to the knots and as he bounced over a wave the first knot pulled through the cleat .... oh no ... before he could do anything he bounced over another wave resulting in the final knot running through the cleat and from there on it was swimming all the way ... this would later prove to cost him the event ...

Graeme Oliver was another unfortunate who having sailed 3 good races was on his way to a 4th good result when he went over the handlebars with he foot in the strap ... this lead to twisted knee ligaments and no sailing on the Sunday, hope it mends up soon Graeme.

Worthy of mention from the first day are Mick Keates & Ron Barnes who both completed all 4 races on Saturday in conditions that can only be described as full on ... they showed some of the whipper snappers that experience, guts and bloody mindedness are key qualities for MPS sailing in these conditions.

Saturday evening the fleet enjoyed an excellent BBQ hosted by WYC and all slept very well; apart form Andy Peake who was driven out of his bunk room by some impressive snoring by an unidentified B14 sailor!!!

Sunday arrived with light rain and overcast sky's but by the time the first start arrived the rain & cloud had cleared and we had another decent breeze for racing.

In the first race Dave Poston had put away the water wings and showed the fleet a clean set of heels. Comedy moment of the race (well for those behind them anyway) was class chairman Simon Reynolds squandering a nailed on 4th place with an impressive windward wipe out taking Russ Clark out in the process ... most helpful to the chasing pack ...

As the day went on the wind gradually dropped and progressively moved around to the right.

With Peake & Keen locked in battle the result for the event was going to go to the wire. Keen won race 6 with Peake 2nd to level the score on points.

Race 7 was a bit of a one sided affair that was won by Dan Vincent (unfortunately later scored OCS) and both Peake & Keen were down the fleet.

This set it all up for race 8, this was to be the lightest race of the weekend ... Rick Perkins rounded first and stretched a lead out. On the second run a hole swallowed up the chasing pack reordering the fleet with Keen leading Peake. The race was shortened at the final windward mark with a healthy win for Perkins, but the battle for the event was between Keen & Peake with Keen managing a 4th from Peake in 6th.

This was enough to give Bruce Keen his first event victory from Andy Peake by a single point.

Congratulations to Bruce and hard luck to Andy, no doubt his time is not far away.

Tom Wright was first Youth sailor in 4th overall.

The points from 3rd to 6th were very tight with just one point separating these places, Rick Perkins took 3rd on the tie break.

Thanks to Whitstable Yacht Club who put on an excellent event and we all look forward to next year’s event.

The next event on the Musto Skiff circuit is the National Championships; seems there are many people capable of winning this event ... watch out for the report ...

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