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Byte Travellers' Series at Bowmoor Sailing Club

by John Saunders 28 Mar 2017 15:53 BST 25 March 2017
Bytes at Bowmoor © John Saunders

It was a bright and shiny morning last Saturday when 22 Bytes turned up at Bowmoor Sailing Club, supported by 17 Lasers, for the first Byte open of the season. A brisk wind blew across the clear blue tinged water from the clubhouse promising a tricky but exciting day of highly competitive sailing.

As ever the Byte fleet was made up of both male and female and is not age specific because the beauty of the Byte is that the only limitation is not to be overweight!

The fleet rigged and launched sailing across to the far side of the lake for a committee boat start but only when they attained the far side did they realise just how windy and shifty the conditions actually were. So it was to be a day of fast planning reaches, tricky beats and a nasty "To gybe or not to gybe" downwind leg.

Race one started in a frantic fashion as helms explored the first beat which offered several tactical choices. A breakaway group consisting of Stu Moore (Weston), Mike Radford (West Oxford) and Charlie Sanson (Bowmoor) taking charge. Racing was close throughout the fleet particularly at the gybe mark where masts were at all angles including horizontal! It was very close at the front but at the flag it was Stu Moore from experienced Mike Radford and junior Matt Banbrook (Bowmoor) in his C1.

After a hearty lunch where Byte sailors consumed huge quantities of food, as is their habit, they sailed out for race two.

Again conditions were blustery with gusts in the high 20's and lots of spray sparkling in the sunshine. Once again the front runners were Charlie, Stu and this time a very fleet Matt Banbrook making good progress bearing in mind his C1 handicap. Veteran Rick Whitehouse (Combs) impeded Stu at one mark and was subsequently penalised dropping him down the order. Charlie won with Mike second and Stu third.

Race three was sailed back to back with all to play for at the front. However Zoe was the star of this show! After a poor start she took an alternative line up the first beat and emerged at the front. Once there she was not going to lose it and she sailed like a demon to keep her lead and in fact increased it throughout the race crossing the line in front with a whoop of delight! Charlie and Stuart followed home with young Matt in fourth.

So, after discards Charlie Sanson emerged as winner by one point from Stuart Moore in second with Mike Radford third. Zoe Bazen was placed fourth and first Lady with Matt Banbrook in fifth and first junior. Rick Whitehouse took sixth and fastest grey haired competitor!

It was a truly great day at Bowmoor with excellent weather and the best turnout of the modern era. There were as many ladies sailing as men and the competitors spanned from the early teens to the late fifties. What other class can boast that? The C1 rig is now coming into its own with some lighter weight adults choosing to use it in windier conditions. Above all the mix of sailors creates a fun but competitive atmosphere with talented young sailors and older experienced helms all revelling in these dynamic little boats.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st3593Charlie SansomBSC‑4123
2nd867Stu MooreWeston1‑334
3rd3562Mike RadfordWest Oxfordshire22‑74
4th3588Zoe BazenBSC5‑716
5th3584Matt BanbrookBSC3‑447
6th3561Rick WhitehouseCombs6‑10511
7th485Alan RobertsLeigh on Sea‑136612
8th3583Emily WatsonBSC85‑913
9th3577Rachel MooreWeston78‑1015
10th2943Chris ConlanBSC9‑11817
11th3591Olly CookeBSC119‑1220
12th2709Charlotte HitchmoughBSC10‑121121
13th3606Maisie HarknessBSC12‑141325
14th2623Gary HoganEmberton Park(DNS)131528
15th3568Tom CookeBSC14‑161428
16th2957Teresa DoranBSC1615(DNS)31
17th3613Lucy HaydonBSC15(Rtd)DNS38
18th3132Callum CombeBSC17(Rtd)DNS40
19th811James RoseBSC18(Rtd)DNS41
20th3568Darcy LynallBSC(DNS)DNSDNS46
20th1637Tasha TustinBSC(Rtd)RtdDNS46
20th457Caroline DoranBSC(Rtd)RtdDNS46

The next event is at West Oxford on April 8th but attention is also focussed on the Weymouth Nationals in July where if an entry of 50 boats is achieved Hartley, the builder, will pay half the entry fee. To take advantage of this offer enter before April 28th. Details on the Byte UK Class Association facebook group.

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