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Alton Water 2016 Fox's Marine and Country Frostbite Series - Day 8

by Martin Pavey 26 Feb 2016 08:18 GMT 21 February 2016
Exciting racing for the asymmetrics on day 8 of the Alton Water Frostbite Series © Emer Berry

So, to the penultimate weekend and overnight gales on Saturday and a forecast of 25+mph with gusts of 40mph from midday for Sunday's racing. Perhaps a couple of positives in that it was dry and the temperature was an unseasonal 14 degreesC.

With a smaller throng than usual to watch the marks being laid pre-briefing and with even fewer people changed and boats rigged the question being asked as the race officer came ashore was "is racing on then?".

A simplistic answer of "yes" was met with some surprise but the centre staff were satisfied they could provide the necessary safety cover with 5 double-crewed RIBs being made available and with the race team confident that they could run a race (provided they had some entrants) then it was as they say in Thunderbirds "go".

The Centre staff and Race team's confidence seemed to infuse the competitors with some enthusiasm and the early threat of combined starts if there were not enough for five separate fleets was not enforced for the first race with all five starts being warranted.

With the wind from the WSW the challenge was to set a sailable course with room to manoeuvre around the leeward and gybe marks for the expected accidents and early baths. With Giles Scott (or rather Giles and Scott) in the pin end boat and their pre-occupation with their tackle (!) sorted, racing got underway on a starboard biased line on time and with the incentive to have racing wrapped up before it became really windy. From the start gusts of 30mph came down the course giving some interesting sailing and opportunities, with the safety fleet being kept busy. Those who manage to remain upright had some spectacular moments and impressed those watching from the shore.

With some deciding one race in those conditions was enough, the second race of the day was 'all in' with all class flags being flown together at the warning signal, the intention being to get everyone underway and sailing for a short race before or rather as the wind increased as predicted. A re-set and fair line gave room for an expanded fleet start and in the near survival conditions it was interesting to see which boats came out on top... the 420 taking the initial lead with a Lark and ever present RS200s following behind while the larger (over-sailed) boats such as the Phantoms struggled.

Fleet by fleet, with predictions for the series:

In a smaller fleet than usual and with the new RS300s staying in their wraps awaiting better weather before their launching ceremony, it was left to the Finn of Will Patten to take two wins beating the Phantoms into submission. All good practice for the Finn Inlands at Alton Water in April.

This week's champions in the Asymmetric fleet were Ed Gibbons and Rebecca Bines in their RS200, on the day collecting two wins, taking them up to 4th place overall and a late bid for a podium position.

There were close aggregate scores in this fleet on the day with the Radial of Harry Wallhead coming out on top. Overall the honours could still go either way with next week still to sail. Will it be a Standard or (new handicap) Radial that takes the honours?

Two Lark helms together in one fast Lark was a way to the front and they actually led and won the two lap race on the water. The 420s succumbed to the conditions with an early bath and a tow ashore for one of them.

Honours were even here with a win apiece for the Cadet and Topper. It never ceases to amaze as to how much water a Topper at speed can push aside.

It certainly looks as though a Brightlingsea boat will be taking away the overall championship with just four points separating the leading RS200 (Asymmetrics) from the Merlin Rocket. (Fast) with the leading Laser in fifth just behind the first placed Medium fleet Lark. All close and a good spread across the fleets apart from the first Slow fleet boat, an RS Feva, back in 28th position.

Provisional race by race results and overall fleet placings here.

The photos probably tell a better story of the day, with contributions from our regular photographers Tim Bees and Emer Berry. A further collection of Tim's Series photos can be found here and there are others on the Alton Water Sailing facebook page.

Race 15 & 16 Results:

HelmCrewClubBoat TypeR15R16
Will Patten Alton Water SCFinn11
Bob Portway Alton Water SCPhantom32
Matt House Alton Water SCPhantom24
Ed GibbonsRebecca BinesBrightlingsea SCRS20011
Ben AlexanderEd BallardDeben YCRS20024
David ConlonSarah BinesBrightlingsea SCRS20052
Rheanna PaveyHolly PaveyStour SCRS20037
Harry Wallhead Alton Water SCRadial24
Alex Davey Royal Harwich YCStandard16
Cameron Harris Orwell YCStandard52
Pete Kyne Brightlingsea SCStandard 43
Alan KrailingHarry PynnWaldringfield SCLark11
Emily MitchellRebecca MitchellAlton Water SC42053
Benjamin Reason Harwich Town SCTopper31
Hazel WhittleCharlotte LeighWaldringfield SCCadet52
Euan Harris Orwell YCTopper25
Richard Townley Alton Water SCTopper43

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