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British Moth Open at Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club

by Ian Edwards 4 Aug 2014 21:08 BST 26 July 2014
British Moths drifting at Earlswood Lakes © Robert Marshall

Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club had the pleasure of welcoming nine British Moths to join their small fleet for the first open event to be held by the club for the class on Saturday 26th July 2014.

The balmy weather had however resulted in little or no wind the surface of the lake giving an excellent impression of a mirror with the occasional zephyr rippling the surface. The fleet were not perturbed by the conditions rigged and launched to accept the challenges of the day the British Moth being notorious for its light wind performance.

The principal race officer Alan Wright set a simple triangular course for the first race. As the start sequence ticked down the final seconds Roger Witts B.M.885 (Frampton on Severn S C) spotted the slight change in the wind and took a flyer on a port end start and managed to cross the fleet starting on starboard. The fleet then all tacked on to port to slowly chase Witts to the first mark. Witts by now had sailed into a commanding lead. The majority of the fleet not being able to fetch the first mark ended in quite a gaggle at the mark with Colin Hall B.M.856 (Hunts S C) and then Gary Tomkins B.M. 882 (Hunts S C) set about the chase of Witts. Although there were several changes throughout the middle of the fleet as zephyrs of wind were picked up or holes found the leading pack were not caught.

The second race was sailed on the same triangular course but by now the wind direction had changed slightly resulting in a broad reaching start. This did however result in two boats being over the line at the start and were duly called back by the race officer. Mark Wiltshire B.M. 872 (Chippenham S C) took full advantage and sailed confidently to the first mark and was never challenged throughout the race. There was considerable activity throughout the fleet as various helms took advantage of the wind or picked up the small changes that appeared. On the penultimate lap local helm Ian Edwards B.M.854 took full advantage and was able to sail over the fleet from last to third at the leeward mark. The final run to the leeward mark saw Tompkins pushed through the fleet as he picked up and held the wind rounding the mark second followed by Richard Keefe B.M. 884 (Hunts S C) to finish third behind Wiltshire and Tompkins. Throughout the race Witts who had been one of the premature starters was picking his way through the fleet to finish fourth.

The third race after lunch was therefore to be the decider, the wind had now taken a slight shift resulting in a long slow beat to the first mark. The lead to the first mark changed on several occasions between Witts, Hall and Keefe but it was Witts to round first followed by Hall & Keefe. This order was retained for the rest of the race with valiant attempts being made by the fleet to catch the leaders.

The second win by Witts therefore won the Open meeting with Colin Hall second overall and the ever consistent Gary Tompkins third. Abby Freeley B.M. 883 (Hunts S C) with a seventh overall won the ladies prize from Nicola Barrett B.M.757 (Frampton on Severn S C).

Robert Marshall, Commodore of Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club presented the prizes and a very attractive engraved whisky tumbler to Roger Witts saying how great it was to add British Moths to the clubs programme of Laser, Enterprise and Merlin Rocket Opens. The British Moth is well suited to our lake so it was a pleasure to host an event for the class which has been around for over 80 years

Class Captain Ian Edwards commented that the Moth is a thriving class that enjoys new venues and Earlswood didn't disappoint in the racing and hospitality provided such that the competitors hope to include Earlswood in next year's programme.

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