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Allen Brothers

Kestrel Open Meeting at Marconi Sailing Club

by Dave Hearsum 31 Aug 2011 18:07 BST 28-29 August 2011

Sunshine, thundery showers, heavy winds and foul tides have become the norm for Kestrel sailors visiting Marconi on the August bank holiday but rarely are they all wrapped up into all of the four races. Add this to the superb Marconi hospitality, good race organisation and a fantastic venue, then you can understand why the Kestrel fleet returns there year after year.

Race 1

With the tide underneath us for the first start competitors had to be very careful not to be carried over the line before the gun but with the assistance of a force four all were able to avoid that embarrassment. Yours truly with Paul Jarvey crewing me this weekend came closest to being embarrassed and consequently got the best start. Just, from Henry/Chris Richards and Chris Grice/Paul Wilkinson.

We were able to capitalise on this good fortune and were able to pull steadily away from the rest of the fleet through the race. Henry/Chris battled hard against Chris/Paul all through the race and kept second at the finish line though places swapped several times around the course. Steve and Lin Worf finished fourth.

Race 2

With the wind easing and tide having turned, the first beat became very critical. Chris/Paul made the best of beating up the shore but was chased hard by Henry/Chris who had opted for starting further out and sailing in better winds to beat the tide.

Paul and myself chased a fast starting Steve/Lin with Rod Brown-Lee/James Braddy hot on our heels. At the first mark Chris/Paul got stuck in a light wind patch and lost out to Henry/Chris who judged the tide better. I was able to get a better run on Steve/Lin and rounded in second with Chris/Paul third.

The front three pulled steadily away from the pack. The distance between these three see-sawed between all fighting for first place and spreading right out, depending on who managed to get the better of the wind and tide; Henry/Chris kept control of the race. Paul and I whilst trying to get the better of Henry/Chris up the last beat let Chris/Paul through, who sneaked up the shore to take second with us third. Rod/James had a good fourth from Jeremy and Jane Drummond with Steve/Lin dropping back to sixth after a disastrous second lap.

Race 3

With the tide again underneath us for the start time most of the fleet were over the line and the race officer had no option but to have a general recall. On the second attempt the fleet behaved itself and got away cleanly. However, with wind now at the top end of a force five, this was never going to be an easy race. The first to retire was Steve/Lin who just before the first mark, lying in third place had the rudder fittings fail. Rod/James just managed to avoid them but Rods/James's luck ran out.

After rounding the first mark and not electing to put up the spinnaker Rod/James had Jeremy/Jane charge past them with kite up and broached across their bows. Rod rammed the capsizing Jeremy, punching a hole through the side of Jeremy's/Jane's boat. Rod however did continue to finish. Whilst this was all going off, Chris/Paul, whilst leading, gybed at the third mark and lost control, collided with an unsuspecting Henry/Chris which allowed Paul and I to take the lead. We then headed to the wrong mark and on realising our mistake tried to run by the lee the last few boat lengths into the mark.

This was never going to work and the broach was spectacular, leaving me swimming and Paul on the centre plate. Chris/Paul again took the lead but with Henry/Chris well fired up after their tangle, pushed hard. So hard in fact that Chris fell out of the boat when his toe strap broke. Meanwhile toward the back of the fleet John Weedon with David Hitt as crew managed to badly gash his hand and had to retire from the event to have this attended to. Chris/Paul went on to win with Henry/Chris second. We were third with Rod/James fourth.

Race 4

With only four boats starting the last race and it all to play for at the front of the fleet, this race should have been a classic but it all fell flat when Chris/Paul made the best start and Henry/Chris chased but never really could get onto terms with them. We became a distant third and then had to retire when the boom came off the goose neck pulling the main sail out of the track.

Rod/James sailed a good series to finish third in this race and fourth overall. All in all it was a challenging weekend and again a big thank you to Marconi for hosting this event. Chris and Paul were worthy winners and Henry and Chris should take heart from this as it so easily could have been them on the top spot. "Next time lads?"

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4

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