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Shadow TT at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Robin Leather 28 Oct 2009 06:42 GMT 24-25 October 2009

6 Shadows survived the new GWSC pre-entry requirements and forecasts for 'quite a bit of wind'. Unfortunately, David Brief was taken ill on arrival and decided it was unwise to sail leaving 5 boats to fight it out in the final TT of 2009.

The Shadows were joined by a few A Class cats in the Fast Single Handed Fleet.

Race 1 of the traveller friendly event started at midday in about 14 knots of breeze. The upwind\downwind course was just about perfect and changes to the rounding direction worked perfectly in reducing congestion at the leeward marks, much to the satisfaction of those that experienced some scary moments last year. Straight from first start Phil Neal showed he meant business, taking the lead on the first run and pulling away into the distance. Although Robin Leather managed to lead around the first mark, he was easily passed by Neal and Paul Tanner who pulled away to take second. This left season long combatants Rob Forester and Leather to continue there usual fight to the finish. Always a close finish and this time in Leather's favour. Graham Tomlin survived the conditions and avoided the other fleets to finish fifth.

The wind was building and race 2 looked like it was going to be a copy of race one. Leather again had a good first beat, only to be overhauled by Neal, Tanner, Forester and Tomlin before rounding the leeward mark. The flying Tomlin fell back to fifth and Leather and Forrester resumed battle for third. Neal rounded the final mark first and took the win. Approaching the final mark, Tanner got caught up with a group of F18s and capsized during a gybe. This allowed Leather and Forrester to take advantage and finish second and third. Tanner recovered to finish fourth just in front on Tomlin.

The wind seemed to ease a little for parts of race three and Tomlin had a great first beat, but yet again it was not long before Neal took a good lead from Tanner, Leather, Forrester and Tomlin. In the lighter winds, the Leather\Forrester duel was joined by Tanner and rounding the final windward mark Tanner held second place by 3 feet from Leather, with Forrester a few boat lengths behind. However, on the last run a squall on 33+ knots and rain bulldozed through, leaving at least 11 cats upside down. The survival conditions allowed Leather to steal second again, from Tanner, followed by Forrester and Tomlin. The gusty and tiring conditions now taking their toll on the competitors, the sailors looked for the bar and bed.

The first race on Sunday started in 18 knots of breeze. It then built from there! After the first beat, Leather was first to hit the beach. Tomlin was first to hit the water, via the bottom panel of his mainsail. This left the brave Neal, Tanner and Forrester to fight it out. Tanner took the win from Neal, while Forrester joined the others on the beach.

The conditions were getting nasty and race five was taken by Tanner after Neal had a few capsize issues. Neal opted to call it a day leaving Tanner to do the final race on his own. After one lap Tanner, also headed for the beach, and race 6 mysteriously disappeared from the results. Phil Neal won the event in style in 'difficult' conditions.

Overall Results:

1st Phil Neal 1,1,1,2,(2), 5pts
2nd Paul Tanner 2,(4),3,1,1, 7pts
3rd Robin Leather 3,2,2,7,(7), 14pts
4th Rob Forrester 4,3,4,7,(7), 18pts
5th Graham Tomlin 7,5,5,7,(7), 24pts

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