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Graduate Open at Thornbury Sailing Club

by Paul Craig 16 Jun 2016 14:02 BST 11-12 June 2016
Thornbury Graduate Open © Alex Craig

With very light winds on the first day, keeping away from the holes and staying out of the tide were the order of the day. Locals Paul & Izzy Craig (2829) got away from the other Graduates at the start of race 1 and were able to cover them all the way to the finish even after sailing into a hole as the wind shifted behind the front that had dumped so much of the rain. David & Sandra Wilson (3010) were leading the chase and especially on the reaches looked like they might reel the Craigs in, but had to settle for second with the bright orange boat of Chris Parker & Katie Ross (2097) only seconds behind in 3rd.

In the second race it was Chris Parker and Katie Ross who got the better start, making it to the windward mark several boat lengths clear. The Wilsons were a bit trigger happy and had to return to the line leaving them playing catchup, a situation not helped by them trying to get better acquineted with the local buoyage! At the windward mark, Parker/Ross decided to gybe straight away following a local RS200, while the Craigs headed close inhore before gybing to run along the bank in far less tide, a tactic which the Wilsons also employed to get themselves back in the game. By the start of the 2nd lap, the Craigs were a couple of boat lengths out in front but it was still all to play for, and as they headed of down the final run they were overtaken by both Parker/Ross and the Wilsons. Spotting that the two leading boats were sailing each other out into the tide the Craigs soaked low back towards the bank and emerged at the leeward mark back in 2nd where they remained until the finish.

Sunday dawned in a typical big TSC way. A building breeze established as the rain made way for wall to wall sunshine and the fleet launched into a F4-5. Race 3 got underway with a fierce upwind battle between the Craigs and Parker/Ross but the Craigs were finding their jib too full for the upwind legs and struggled to stay in contention leaving them several boat lengths behind by the windward mark. The Wilsons were caught at the back of the fleet at the start and struggled to recover up the first beat. On the first downwind leg it became apparent that a real race was going to develop as the Craigs screamed up behind Parker/Ross leaving both boats neck-and-neck as they completed the first lap. Again 2097 pulled away upwind but on the downwind leg 2928 reeled them back in and capitalised on a wobbly gybe by Parker/Ross. Around the final leeward mark there was only a boat length in it with a short beat to the finish. The Craigs just managed to hang on for the win, with the Wilsons crawling in, in 3rd.

As the tide turned and Race 4 started the wind was now gusting 26mph. The Wilsons decided to sit the race out and use their discard and looked on as the battle commenced between 2928 and 2097. The Craigs got a dreadful start, mistiming their run into the line handing the first upwind leg to Parker/Ross who must have thought they had a big enough margin to cruise to the finish, however the extra downwind speed of the Craigs just didn't let up and with a few more dodgy gybes (blamed on a slightly short rudder) by 2097, The Craigs ended lap 1 with a sizeable lead which they never really allowed to be eroded.

A great weekend was had by all we even had the COAST presenter Mark Horton as assistant race officer on Saturday!

One final tip from Chris Parker; If you are planning on camping at the TSC regatta don't hide your tent poles so deeply in your van that you assume you must have left them at home. Hotels for the entire family are significantly more expensive than the free camping at TSC

Overall Results: (top three)

PosHelm & CrewSail NoClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stPaul & Izzy Craig2928Thornbury SC1‑2113
2ndChris Parker & Katie Ross2097Southport SC‑31225
3rdDavid & Sandra Wilson3010Broadwater SC233(DNC)8

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