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Comet Open at Merthyr Tydfil Sailing Club

by Mark Govier 24 Sep 2013 07:44 BST 22 September 2013
Light winds for the Comets at Merthyr Tydfil © Mark Govier

We are a very lucky club, situated at Pontsticill near Merthyr Tydfil in the Brecon Beacons National Park on one of the largest reservoirs in the country it is beautiful when all is quiet and still. Unfortunately such conditions are not helpful to sailors but we Comet types are fairly patient... Nine visitors travelled from sailing clubs across southern Britain to join a few locals.

After the briefing there was a hint of a breeze from the southwest so a temporary mark was put in place and we started toward this. There was a close fought start with just enough wind for most people to keep up momentum but very quickly Ben Palmer (597, Baltic Wharf SC) got clear away. Somehow Peter Dalton (668, Frampton-on-Severn SC) managed to capsize on the second leg. By now Ben Palmer had opened up a noticeable lead from Bob Dodds (869, Crawley Mariners) and Henry Jaggers (800, Beer SC). A little further back was Izac Dodds (701, Crawley Mariners) and John Coppenhall (532, Hunts SC) then a gap to five further boats. The combination of light winds and the angle of the course which became more fetch and broad-reach did not offer many opportunities for overtaking so the finish order was, Ben Palmer followed by Bob Dodds and Henry Jaggers.

We then all came ashore for some lunch and drinks. This year, despite the classic warm front mist the temperature was comfortable. Given the light winds though maybe generous portions of baked potatoes, chili and salad followed by spiced apple crumble and custard should have been substituted by something with helium in it! The winds remained light after lunch, but there were ripples over a more generous portion of the water. The race officer kept the same windward mark but then made this the tip of a P shape course which did offer more options for tactics.

The fleet were all very close again at the start and there was some gentle luffing going on, unfortunately Paul Hinde found himself the wrong side of the line at zero and had to return. The rest of the fleet moved away pretty much in a bunch but this time John Coppenhall got to the windward mark first. The puffs of wind came and went and this spread the fleet out over almost a whole lap. But at the finish, in steadily dying wind, John Coppenhall was still at the front, followed by Bob Dodds then Ben Palmer.

The third and final race of the day was held in what amounted to, basically, nothing but a zephyr. You could barely detect the wind on your face. What was happening, and it became more obvious as the third race progressed, was that the ridge of high pressure was now sitting directly over us. There was a clean start this time with Bob Dodds and Chris Robinson (867, Burghfield SC) just ahead of a large group of boats. Ben Palmer and Roger Edwards (426, Merthyr Tydfil SC) somehow got left behind though. By the end of the second leg, Bob Dodds had got ahead of John Coppenhall and Peter Dalton in wind that by now had virtually stopped. On the third leg the boats behind were to some extent catching up, but the race officer thankfully shortened the course to finish at the third mark. Bob Dodds crossed first, followed some time later by John Coppenhall and then Peter Dalton while a couple of others from the back of the fleet almost caught up with them by sticking close to the bank and benefiting from a tiny easterly drift of air molecules.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1869Bob DoddsCrawley Mariners2213
2532John CoppenhallHunts SC5123
3597Ben PalmerBaltic Wharf13104
4668Peter DaltonFrampton SC6437
5800Henry JaggersBeer SC3578
6701Izac DoddsCrawley Mariners4759
7460Mark GovierMerthyr Tydfil SC810412
8867Chris RobinsonBurghfield SC78613
9844Paul HindeSevern SC96DNF15
10857Helen LeiversSevern SC109817
11420Alun BevanMerthyr Tydfil SC1112920
12426Roger EdwardsMerthyr Tydfil SC1211DNF23

Everyone was then helped to quickly recover their boats and get packed away for their journey home. The prize giving was accompanied by friendly chatter over sandwiches, tea and cakes. Many thanks again to the visitors for making the effort to visit us and all those who helped who added greatly to a day of frustrating sailing.

At least the chap out boat fishing had a good day with one pike and a few perch!

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