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Mirror North East Travellers at Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club

by Rory Mackenzie 2 May 2010 21:52 BST
Very little wind for the Mirror NE Travellers event at Yorkshire Ouse © YOSC

Arriving at Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club the sun was streaming down and a soft breeze was blowing. The slipway was crammed with Mirrors and Streakers who were sharing their open meetings at the picturesque sailing club. The Mirrors were to start 15 minutes later than the Streakers, so the start line would be as free as possible. The start line was across the river at one of its widest points, however this was still a very short start line.

The first race started with Ollie White and Will Hide flying off the start line with the Clarkes, The Grayson girls and the Lulham-Robinsons followed close behind. The wind was light, but just strong enough for the Mirrors to fight against the current. This promised some highly tactical racing. The Ouse's high banks meant the decision was, wind or current. With these conditions the first part of the race was very experimental with positions being exchanged constantly. One of the most notable gains came from Calum and Rory Mackenzie, who discovering that roll tacking up the Eastern shore, maintaining the speed from every noticeable puff and keeping out of the main flow of the river worked for them. They gained four places, going from seventh to third in half of the beat. The Lulham-Robinsons also gained, reaching second place by the windward mark, just behind them three boats challenged for water, the Grayson Girls, the Mackenzies and Ollie White with Will Hide, The Graysons were pushed out, not gaining an overlap by the three boat length zone with the Mackenzies gaining the inside line then accelerating downwind with the current pushing them along, Ollie White and Will Hide consolidated their fourth, however at the front the Lulham-Robinsons stole a first from the Clarkes overhauling them just before the shortened race was finished.

By the second race the weather had deteriorated from bright sunshine to the heavens opening and the rain streaming down, The first beat was extremely shifty, with the wind finally taking a one hundred and eighty degree turn so the spinnakers could be hoisted. The Mackenzies rounded the “windward” mark first with the Clarkes just behind and the Lulham-Robinsons lying in third. The Mackenzies won with a large margin, the Clarkes took another second and the Lulham-Robinsons took a third. This resulted in three boats on four points, the Mackenzies, Lulham-Robinsons and the Clarkes, however having won the last race the Mackenzies were (officially) in the lead.

Running the last race was in doubt, because the wind had dropped and the rain was now torrential and most of the competitors decided not to race. The decision whether to race or not was given to Matthew Lulham-Robinson who after much deliberating decided to go for it. The last race started with four entrants, the Mackenzies, the Lulham-Robinsons, Ed Grayson with his crew, and Rob Dean going singlehanded after his son and helm, Tom was too cold to carry on. The entrants ventured out in pretty dismal conditions but just before the start they were blessed with the appearance of a solitary seal! At first people thought it might be a dog or an extremely obese otter but it proved itself to be a seal by diving and showing its tail. This evidently cheered everyone up including the fantastic race team who must have been freezing.

Anyway back to the race: pre start there were many match racing tactics between the Lulham-Robinsons and the Mackenzies, who were now match-racing for the prize of winning the competition. The start was a slow one with Ed Grayson and Rob Dean over the line, however Ed quickly caught up and got in between the Mackenzies and the Lulham-Robinsons. By the windward mark Ed was first with the Lulham-Robinsons closely second and then the Mackenzies in third, so at this point the Lulham-Robinsons were winning overall. As the Mackenzies rounded the leeward mark they picked up the wind channels and caught up quickly with the Lulham-Robinsons. The two boats then started serious tactical boat handling but in the end the Mackenzies came out on top and came second with Ed Grayson taking first. This put the Mackenzies first overall to win the brand new Beard Mirror cup!

All the competitors deserved much credit for sailing in very challanging conditions. Thank you to Yorkshire Ouse Sailing Club for holding the event, to the safety crews for watching over the competitors whilst their bones were freezing over, the Galley for cooking up some scrumptious food, and to all the parents for taking and supporting the kids involved, but most of all thanks to the race committee for managing three close races in dismal conditions.

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