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Learning & Skills Solutions Pyefleet Week 2016 - Day 3

by Fiona Brown 3 Aug 2016 11:07 BST 30 July - 5 August 2016

It might have been grey, blustery and decidedly wet on CB Rigging Tuesday at Learning & Skills Solutions Pyefleet Week 2016, but nothing could dampen the spirits of the competitors who enjoyed their third great race of the series. Those sailing in the morning session got the worst of the weather with poor visibility and almost constant rain, but by the afternoon session the rain had eased off to periodic showers.

The blustery conditions meant there was plenty of high speed action and a few spectacular spills to keep the patrol boat crews on their toes watching over the fleets. One of the capsizes came in the Brightlingsea One Design Class, a boat which is not really designed to be capsized. These 18 foot clinker dayboats were introduced in 1927 and have heavy metal centreplates and rudders and very large mainsails relative to their size. They are generally very stable boats, but in a good blow they do require some careful handling.

BOD regulars would all agree that Steve Heppell, sailing Aina with Richard and Rebecca Herbert, is one of the most experienced helms in the fleet and also something of a heavy airs specialist. Today though he made the simple mistake of forgetting to let the kicker off in a gybe and seconds later he and his crew found themselves over on their ear with the boat filling with water. Her hull was rapidly below the surface, but fortunately patrol boats were with them within moments including the specially equipped dedicated BOD recovery boat kindly provided by Nick Readings of Brightlingsea Boat Park & Ride, whose gear includes a high volume pump. With Steve and his crew safely in a support boat, Aina was secured alongside, the pumping operation began and before long she was one again floating and returning to harbour for a good wash down and dry out.

Whilst Aina was keeping the spectators entertained, the BOD race was won by Jeremy Newman sailing Avocet with Piers Lambert and Ian Newman, Phil, Jessica and Chris Rust in Dulcet were second and Chris Matthews, Sarah Bines and Tom Kyne in Rebel third. Only seven points now separate the top five BODs overall. Jeremy Newman leads the fleet on two points with Chris Matthews second on three points, Phil Rust on five points, Danny Fox on seven points and Alan Hicks on nine points at the half was stage in the competition.

The Fireball Class has been enjoying some incredible racing this week and a win in race three puts Roger Etherington and Jo Adams into the overall lead but on equal points with Alan Carter and C Jessop. A single point behind them are Barrie and Rose Winship.

Although scored separately the Laser and Laser Radial fleets start and race together and with a lot of talented sailors in both fleets they make an impressive sight. Chris Rust took his second Laser race victory of the series to secure the overall lead from Pete Kyne by a single point, while Steve Williams took third and now lies third overall on six points, three behind Kyne. Two further points back are Ed Slack and Ian Swan in fourth and fifth respectively.

Eddie Bridle made it two wins in a row in the Laser Radials and leads the regatta on two points. Behind him Alexander Clarke finished second in the race and Gary Pilgrim third, meaning that overall both of them now count four points with Pilgrim taking second overall on countback.

Nigel and Pete Cook won the Wivenhoe One Design race to lead the fleet overall by a single point from Nic Blower and David Tournay. Rob Maloney and Peter Goldsmith claimed their best result of the series so far with a second on the water, which puts them into third overall.

Chris Bines and David Gibbons, sailing an RS800, were delighted to see the discard come into play today as it meant they could ignore their Did Not Finish from the opening day at the same time as adding a second win to their score card. Second in the race and now second overall are Chris and Gillian Jordan in a Laser 2000, while third in today's race and now fourth overall were Nigel Edmunds and Kerrie Forster. The F18 of Nick Barns was forced to retire from the race, but immediately discarded that result so now lie in third place overall.

On windy days it is always very impressive to watch the youngsters in the Parent and Child race. For several today was their first race in significant wind, and a couple even experienced their first capsizes. But sailing kids are made of tough stuff and the grins of their faces said it all as they crossed the finish line and then came rushing ashore to tell everyone all about their incredible day battling wind and waves. The racing in this class is so close that the top three overall are all now on three points and can only be separated on countback. With a race win today Melissa Heppell and Louis Hiscocks moves into the overall lead ahead of Tim Ashworth and Amelie Heppell (sister of Louis) with Clive Goodwin, who is crewed by a rolling crew of Anna Goodwin, Kaya and Herbie Nawrot, third. All three leading teams are sailing Mirrors. Third in today's race and fourth overall are Stuart and Tom Phillips in an RS Feva.

At the time of going to press we are awaiting confirmation of the RS700 and Cadet Handicap fleet results.

After sailing the competitors came together for a scrumptious sausage supper and the legendary Pyefleet Week Quiz which is run by Nigel and Jackie Edmunds who once again put everyone through their mental paces with some brilliantly entertaining and fiendishly challenging questions.

Tomorrow is Big Wednesday sponsored by Just Trays and AOC. The day brings a change of pace with a special one off all in handicap trophy race which does not count towards the overall points series starting at 13.00.

The day will also feature the most important event of the regatta - the kids Crabbing Competition, which starts at 13.30! Those wishing to take part should register with Ali just outside the Race Office from 1pm. Entry is £1 and there are lots of prizes to be won.

Wednesday evening is the social highlight of the week with the Big Wednesday Beach Party where the BBQ will be fired up, the rum punch will be flowing and there will be dancing till late. Fortunately the weather forecast is for the clouds to clear and the sun to return so we look forward to a great day.

Racing continues until Saturday 6 August. Further information about the event including full results can be found at

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