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Comet Open at Merthyr Tydfil Sailing Club

by Mark Govier 23 Sep 2014 10:42 BST 21 September 2014
Comets at Merthyr Tydfil © Mark Govier

After several years where the water level has remained resolutely full to the brim, this year we were glad to have a little more 'beach' on which to park boats and cars. Unfortunately due to other commitments and injuries we could only muster three of our six local Comets today; but we had eleven visitors! The weather was very fine and a light northeasterly breeze made things interesting at times with the gusts and holes making their way down to water level from on high. Though the wind did get steadier after lunch.

For the first race in a light northerly wind a simple triangular course was laid with the first beat towards the "mainly northerly" light breeze. After the briefing everyone quickly got on the water. There was good a close start. By the end of the first lap Ben Palmer (597, Baltic Wharf SC) had got ahead of Henry Jaggers (800, Beer SC) who was followed by Eddie Pope (804, Ogston SC). Over the second slow lap Henry managed to get ahead of Ben who was followed over the finish line in third place by Eddie, then Keith Bond (694, Merthyr Tydfil SC) and Clive Chapman (821, Shearwater SC).

We then all came ashore for some lunch and drinks under the glorious autumn sunshine on the patio overlooking the lake. The baked potatoes with chili and salad followed by apple and local blackberry crumble and custard went down very well. The second race of the day was designated to be the Bart's Bash race with a few club members taking part in a second handicap start after the Comets had cleared the line. The wind after lunch seemed to straighten up a little but remained light at the start. The race officer kept the same windward mark but decided for a simple windward leeward course with the outer mark to port in both directions to keep people apart. With this duly measured at 1620 metres, as close to one mile as makes no difference, by GPS we returned to our boats.

Again there was a great start by the majority of the fleet; most crossing the start line within ten seconds of the hoot. However, we were soon spread out by a few shifts and holes in the wind. Henry Jaggers had got clear within a few boat lengths of the start and built that lead to over 45 seconds at the start of the second lap with a close group of Ben Palmer, Clive Chapman, Eddie Pope and Keith Bond crossing within ten seconds of each other. On the second downwind leg, Henry must have been blanketed by this mini fleet behind him as he was only ten seconds or so ahead. On the second beat back towards the line those boats that made their way over towards the west side of the lake must have had an advantageous gust as Henry, coming up closer to the east bank was overtaken by Eddie Pope then closely followed by Ben Palmer. On the third and final downwind leg these three boats were all within ten seconds of each other and almost a minute ahead of the next nearest, but the order did not change. Eddie crossed the line first, closely followed by Henry then Ben.

The third race of the day was started as soon as the final handicap competitors had finished their Bart's Bash participation, or nearly sunk as one of the Solo's did. Again the whole fleet crossed the line within seconds of the start signal and in the slightly stronger breeze headed north. Downwind was more closely contested this time round with gusts and shifts keeping people on their toes jockeying for position. But as the fleet headed back over the line the wind had dropped again as Keith Bond started the second lap in first place followed by Henry Jaggers and John Coppenhall (532, Hunts SC). These positions were maintained downwind and to the end of the second lap. But Eddie Pope was now close on the tail of John Coppenhall. Going downwind Keith and Henry were literally side by side. At the finish it was still neck and neck with Keith losing out to Henry by little more than half a foredeck! Eddie Pope was next to finish almost four and a half minutes later. John Coppenhall managed to hang on to fourth from Ben Palmer with Chris Robinson (867, Burghfield SC) only a second behind.

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 at the club adding greatly to a beautiful day in the autumn sunshine.

More photos and videos can be found here.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3Pts
1Henry Jaggers800Beer SC1212
2Eddie Pope804Ogston SC3134
3Ben Palmer597Baltic Wharf SC2355
4Keith Bond694Merthyr Tydfil SC4426
5Chris Robinson867Burghfield SC65611
6John Coppenhall532Hunts SC88412
7Clive Chapman821Shearwater SC57712
8Sean Carter165Cardiff Bay YC79815
9Rhiain Bevan724Cransley SC1261117
10David Elmes755Bristol Avon912918
11Robert Wookey581Merthyr Tydfil SC10111020
12Mark Govier460Merthyr Tydfil SC1310RTD23
13Mark Parnell358Bristol Avon11131223
14Richard Griffin163Bristol Avon14141327

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