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Zhik Pyefleet Week at Brightlingsea Sailing Club - Day 3

by Fiona Brown 5 Aug 2015 08:05 BST 1-8 August 2015

Challenging sailing

Strong winds were the main feature of the third day of racing at Pyefleet Week 2015 supported by Zhik where all fleets have now completed three of the scheduled races. Fortunately the southwesterly winds were with the flooding tide which prevented the seas from becoming too rough, although the conditions were still very challenging.

The SigneT Class completed races two and three of their National Championship and with victory in both races Mike Overs and Mark Cowlingh now lead the championship by a single point from Kate Taylor and Rob Austey. Tim and Tom Wild are in third place with six points, four points behind the leader and with a single point advantage over both John Panting/Frank Goodall and Will Davies/Michael Whiteside.

The 28 strong Cadet Handicap fleet was somewhat depleted as a number of the less experienced crews opted not to sail in the windy conditions, but those who raced put in impressive performances. Matt Smith and Issy Jones sailing an RS Feva claimed their third victory of the series giving them a three point lead over RS Tera sailor Josh Alldis who took third place today. Ryan Thomas finished today's race in fourth to lie a single point behind Josh and single point ahead of Connie Hughes in a Laser 4.7 who was second in today's race.

Today's strong conditions suited Chris Bannister's Contender in the Fast Handicap, but his race win was only sufficient to put him into seventh place overall. Samuel Curtis and Ben Clegg sailed their 49er to second place, putting them on equal points overall with the Merlin Rocket of Piers Lambert and Derek Gentry with Curtis and Clegg taking second place on countback. A fourth place today has cemented the lead of Chris Matthews and Sarah Bines who now lead the fleet by three points.

Rhys Lankester and Dave Gibbons won today's Fireball race with Elaine and Warren Tudor second. With two bullets already to their name the Tudors now lead overall by a single point from Lankester and Gibbons while Rowland Smith and Jack Parmenter are eleven points adrift in third overall.

Stephen Williams won today's Laser race to now lead the fleet on equal points Chris Rust with Gary Pilgrim third and Ollie Newman fourth. In the Laser Radials Alexander Clarks added a third victory to his card and how leads the fleet by two points from Brandon Hastings with Ben Eeles one further point back in third.

Only two of the Wivenhoe One Designs, which were designed for sailing on the sheltered upper reaches of the River Colne and are not well suited to the rougher estuary waters of Pyefleet Week, completed the course. Nick Blower and Cassie Catchpole won the day, but now lie third overall. Leading the fleet overall is Rob Maloney sailing alternately with Janine Ford and Peter Goldsmith, who finished second today and are now a single point ahead of second placed George Brown and David Tournay.

The 23 strong Brightlingsea One Design (BOD) fleet is without doubt one of the most closely fought of the regatta. The boats may have been designed in 1927 and many are frankly elderly ladies now, but they are raced just as hard as any of the modern plastic boats. Today's strong conditions made for some slightly nerve-wracking moments, particularly downwind, but everyone made it round. By a narrow margin Dan and James Willett and Fraz won today's race from Malcolm Goodwin, crewed by Georgina White and Graham Sanderson. As a result Dan Willett now leads Malcolm Goodwin by a single point overall while past Hornet and Tornado World Champion Jeremy Newman, crewed by Piers Lambert and Ollie Newman (son of Jeremy) are three points adrift in third.

Paul Mines and Stuart Smith continued to dominate the Cat Handicap and made a spectacular sight hurtling up Brightingsea Creek to the finish line at a rapid rate of knots.

Chris and Gilly Jordan's Laser 2000 showed a clean pair of heels to the Slow Handicap fleet for the third time this week to lead the fleet by two points overall from Emma and Martina Barry's Laser II. The Lark of Chris, Helena and Cathy Fish from Waldringfield took second in today's race to move up into third overall.

The strong winds brought out the best in the youngsters in the Tera fleet who proved more than able to cope with the conditions. This is another very closely fought class and after three races Jack Oakley and Josh Davies are both on three points with Blake Tudor only two points back in third and Matt Smith one more point behind for fourth.

As 2015 RYA Club of the Year Brightlingsea Sailing Club's is fully committed to encouraging and developing young sailors and the club firmly believes that you can't get youngsters on the water too soon. The name Dad's And Little Ones fleet is all about encouraging the youngsters to get a taste for racing, although it's name is a little misleading as the youngsters can sail with any family member or friend. Melissa Heppell and five year old Louis Hiscocks, whose Dad may be better known to you as Olympic 49er Bronze Medallist Simon Hiscocks is racing this week with Mum Melissa Heppel and the two of them showed no hesitation at all in throwing up their Mirror's spinnaker in over 20 knots of breeze and haring up the river in a big following sea to claim race victory and cement their overall lead. Their nearest rivals are the Mirrors of Stephen and Willow Cross and Tim Ashworth and Amelie Hiscocks (sister of Louis) and the RS Feva of Stuart and Tom Philips who are all on equal points, three points behind the leader.

Well-known sailors are often to be found at Pyefleet Week, but today our spies spotted the legendary yachting scribe and Little America's Cup hero Bob Fisher who is making a very welcome return to his home town. At 80 years young Bob still has what it takes to show the youngsters and thing or two and tomorrow he will guets star aboard his grandson Chris Matthew's BOD.

Tomorrow Pyefleet Week will feature Big Wednesday, where individual fleet hostilities are temporarly halted as everyone comes together for a special all in handicap race starting from the club line in front of hundreds of spectators. Big Wednesday is in part a tribute to the late Tornado Olympic Gold Medallist and lifelong Brightlingsea SC member Reg White, so it is particularly fitting that Bob Fisher will race tomorrow as he and Reg grew up sailing from the club and shared many adventures and victories together.

The racing programme is only one element of Pyefleet Week however, and after the hugely popular and extremely raucous BOD German Night last night, where dirndles, lederhosen, bratwurst and an Oompah Band were the order of the day, tonight it was time to give the grey cells a work out with Nigel and Jackie Edmund's Quiz Night. Tomorrow evening is the party of the week at the Big Wednesday Beach BBQ and Rum Punch Party which features a live reggae band. With the wind moderating and summer skies returning tomorrow promises to be a great day!

Our photographs tonight are generously provided by Brightlingsea based professional photographer and multi-record breaking speed windsurfer Dave White.

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