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Wanderers at the Sutton Bingham Sailing Club Hartley Open

by Tim Robertson 15 Apr 2014 22:56 BST 13 April 2014

Five Wanderers joined a fleet of 35 boats for the 3rd running of the Hartley Boats and Comet Open at Sutton Bingham Sailing Club near Yeovil in Somerset, travelling from as far away as Devon and Surrey to race on a beautiful sunny spring day at this friendly club on a small reservoir surrounded by hills and trees. The winds were variable as ever, but always blew and never more than briskly, so a fantastic day of competitive sailing was enjoyed by all to begin the 2014 Travellers Trophy class racing series on a high.

3 races were sailed with 2 to count over the day, interrupted after the first race by a hearty lunch provided by the club.

Race 1 at 11:30 was sailed from a committee boat start down the Halstock leg of the reservoir, beating up to a windward mark near the club house before running down a dog leg course the length of the water towards the dam to beat back up to the Halstock leg, drop down to the buoy near the start area and then do it all over again four times.

Tim and Max Robertson managed to sail clear of the pursuing Wanderers after a closely contested first beat, with the benefit of a light crew in gentle winds and local knowledge as this is their home club, finishing the first race (13th Discarded) out of 35 overall and first Wanderer. Philip and Jill Meadowcroft were next Wanderers home, (24th Discarded) overall, followed in quick succession by Mike Hamilton and Saffron Gallagher in 25th, David Davies and Roly Hinkley in 27th and Mike and Lesley Bennett in (32nd discarded).

During race 1 and the lunch break the wobbly wind had swung more westerly so the course was re-set for race 2 at 14:00 to a committee boat start down by the dam, beating to a windward mark at the western extremity of the lake, with a simple dog leg course back down to the dam allowing two decent spinnaker runs each lap if the wind behaved long enough to get a good set. In race two David Davies and Roly Hinkley sailed a strong race leading the Wanderer fleet in the early stages, only being overhauled on the downwind legs of later laps by a spinnakered boat. Tim and Max took Wanderer line honours again in 9th overall, David and Roly holding on for 2nd Wanderer 15th overall, Phil and Jill 18th, Mike and Lesley 25th and Mike and Saffron (27th - Discarded).

The 3rd and final race was sailed back to back with the second, starting at around 15:00 on the same course. This time Mike Hamilton got away early, leading from Philip and Jill, only to be over hauled by spinnaker flying boats towards the end. Despite very close attention from Philip and Jill on the final beat, creeping up the lakeside while the leaders tacked around on the shifts in the centre of the lake, Tim and Max managed to squeak the last Wanderer race, 11th overall, frantically covering the rapidly advancing Meadowcrofts, by less than a boat length, Phil and Jill keeping them very honest indeed as 2nd Wanderer 12th overall. Mike and Saffron came in 3rd, 19th overall, beating Mike and Lesley in 4th, 29th overall who just pipped David and Roly into 5th and (30th Discarded) overall right at the finish line in a thrilling last gasp tacking battle.

After everything was added up and discards taken into account the overall results of a wonderful day on the water looked like this:

1st Tim and Max Robertson, W1038, Joshua Slocum, 2pts
2nd Philip and Jill Meadowcroft, W1541, Black Mischief, 4pts
3rd David Davies and Roly Hinkley, W318, 6pts
4th Mike Hamilton and Saffron Gallagher, W992, Orinoco, 6pts
5th Mike and Lesley Bennett, W1416, Y Knot, 8pts

Thanks to all that travelled to join in with a fantastic day on the water kicking off the 2014 racing season and we look forward to re-joining battle at Papercourt Sailing Club in Surrey in a fortnight's time for round #2.

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