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Hornet Open at Maylandsea Bay Sailing Club

by Toby Barsley-Dale 7 Sep 2016 15:25 BST 3-4 September 2016
Toby Barsley-Dale and Richard Nurse win the Maylandsea Bay Hornet Open © Phillip Spillane

A small but perfectly formed fleet of Hornets descended upon Maylandesea Bay Sailing Club for the first open meeting since the European Championships.

Looking at the course card and listening to the briefing, there was a strong feeling that the local knowledge of the home boats could be a distinct advantage! Once the courses for the day were published we realised this was not going to be a standard sail round Olympic triangles style of open meeting and there was much scrambling for pens as people tried to find ways to write down (and understand) the two different courses for the day, both of which looked more like Duke of Edinburgh orienteering challenges than a race course! Combined with this was a brisk, gusty breeze. It was shaping up well for a fun day on the water!

Due to the limited tidal window for racing, the prompt first race start caught a few stragglers from the beach by surprise so it was more of a pursuit for some. After initially being headed by Toby Barsley-Dale and Richard Nurse, local crew Dean and Adam Saxton pounced on a tactical error and opened up a solid lead which they held until the penultimate leg. Sadly their local knowledge failed them at the 11th hour and indecision on the final mark saw them drop their spinnaker early and allow Toby and Richard to round with them at the mark. A short tacking match ensued with Toby and Richard gaining the upper hand with the bias on the line to win by half a boat length. Michael McNamara and Tim Riley, clearing reveling in the conditions, powered through the fleet after a late start to take third.

With all teams having taken the brief break on the water, the fleet attempted to orientate themselves with the second course and some now vaguely familiar mark names, the second race got underway with a very competitive first beat with many place changes. Toby and Richard just led at the windward mark from Michael and Tim. Dean and Adam were also showing the first race was no fluke were challenging hard again. By the second mark, Michael and Tim had taken the lead and, despite many attempts to find a way round, Toby and Richard had to settle for second with Dean and Adam third. Behind the top three there had been much place changing and the occasional swim but the racing was still tight. Mike Owen and Chris Wilms clutched defeat from the joys of victory and missed the final passing mark less than 100 yards from the finish to score DSQ rather than fourth, so the reward went to Dawn Barsley-Dale and Simon Evance closely followed by Eric Styles and Catherine Westbrook.

Cheap beer, home cooked food by the club members and light hearted fun and games made for a relaxed, entertaining and thoroughly enjoyable evening in the clubhouse.

Sunday dawned with more of the same on the cards. More fun and funky wind and more knitting patterns for courses!

Using the club line meant even lazy Hornet sailors would struggle to miss the start but also meant a very short beat before the fleet set off down river. The first downwind turned out to be a nearly 10 minute flat out two or three sail reach in very flat water which was clearly being enjoyed by all! Michael and Tim continued to show their prowess in these conditions and led for the first five legs but a decision to drop the spinnaker at a gybe mark proved costly. Having discovered that subsequent leg was OK for the spinnaker, they promptly capsized while re-hoisting. Michael very graciously put it down to helm error but no one really knows what happened! Toby and Richard pounced on the mistake and led to the finish followed by the consistent Dean and Adam. Michael and Tim recovered from their swim to re-pass Mike and Chris on the beat home to take third.

Using the same course again for the final race meant the fleet now knew approximately where it was going. Making no mistakes this time, Michael and Tim led all the way followed by Toby and Richard then Dean and Adam.

Overall, Toby and Richard took the event with Michael and Tim second and Dean and Adam third showing that their lack of time on the circuit this year has certainly not slowed them down.

The class would like to thank Maylandsea Bay Sailing Club for a fun filled weekend on and off the water and for the presentation of the new trophy which we really hope will become an annual event at the club.

Overall Results:

1st 2125 Toby Barsley-Dale/ Richard Nurse
2nd 2109 Michael McNamara/ Tim Riley
3rd 2181 Dean Saxton/ Adam Saxton
4th 2185 Dawn Barsley-Dale/ Simon Evance
5th 2156 Mike Own/ Chris Wilms
6th 2142 Eric Styles/ Catherine Westbrook

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