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GJW Direct 2020

Altos at GJW Direct Sailfest

by Jo Wicken 28 Aug 2013 07:01 BST 23-26 August 2013
Altos at GJW Direct Sailfest © Hatti Tweedle

Three AltOs joined the inaugural GJW Direct SailFest event at WPNSA over the Bank Holiday weekend. Sue & Chris (109) arrived in time to take advantage of the coaching day on Friday; one of the other teams spent the day stuck in motorway traffic.

Saturday dawned far windier than anticipated, and the sailors were soon experiencing challenging conditions in Portland Harbour. The Spinnaker Fleet comprised a number of similarly PY-rated classes making for some interesting inter-class racing.

In Race 1, Jon & Cameron (115) had a spinnaker rigging issue that necessitated a return to shore. Tim and Jo (119) had a close battle with a Laser 4000, ISO and Javelin, finishing the two lap race just behind John & Fran in the 4K. The bottom reach felt fast at the time – the GPS tracker recorded a max speed for 119 in excess of 17 knots.

Jon & Cameron were back on the water for Races 2 and 3 and stormed round the course in both. Even a capsize barely held them up and two solid results were achieved.

Sunday, well that was going to be lighter conditions... Can't say that was particularly obvious, seemed just as windy, if not worse! A useful bit of feedback from John in the ISO on the way out to the start line about the state of the jib luff tension and slot on 119 led to some minor adjustment that transformed the performance of the AltO. This time 115 and 119 were in close competition for the first two races with 109 also joining the action.

Shortly after the end of R5, the wind moved up another gear, and more than half the Spinnaker Fleet voted with their feet and returned to shore. Jon and Cameron once again showed their mettle whilst Tim and Jo wasted the chance of a good result with two swims on consecutive laps. (Note to crew – gybing practice required).

And then the Pursuit Race on Monday... It was always going to be a difficult call with conflicting forecasts, but the race was underway promptly at 10.30 a.m. By the time of the AltO, ISO and Javelin start, the wind was noticeably decreasing. On the second beat, it disappeared altogether for what seemed about 45 minutes. Everyone was stuck, wallowing in the residual chop of the previous two days. Then the sea breeze filled in with almost a 180 degree change of direction. Jon and Cameron were best-placed AltO in that race, finishing 17th, with Tim and Jo 25th and Chris and Sue 29th.

Overall, Jon and Cameron finished 14th, behind the International 14, a stack of Fireballs, two Phantoms and an RS300.

It wasn't only the racing that was good. The after-sailing video debriefs and boat workshops were very interesting, and on the catering side there was the Hog Roast and Sunday Dinner specially laid on. A very relaxed, friendly atmosphere prevailed throughout the event and it was also an opportunity to get to know sailors from other classes, as well as renewing acquaintances.

Our thanks go to Sailracer and GJW Direct, and to the many volunteers who contributed to a most enjoyable event. Here's to SailFest 2014!