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2000 Millennium Series Round 5 at Carsington Sailing Club

by Neil & Sarah Sims 10 Sep 2017 21:38 BST 9-10 September 2017

Five intrepid travellers made their way to Carsington on 9th September for the 5th event in the 2000 Millenium Series 2017.

They were greeted by some torrential downpours but as the day progressed it was very much a case of 4 seasons in one day: there was still some sunshine to be had, as well as at least two sets of wind conditions. Furthermore, the squally weather didn't change the fantastic views from the reservoir.

Race 1 got off to a prompt start in slightly squally conditions, with the Yardleys (Dr Lavender) able to draw out their lead as the race progressed. Further down the fleet there was plenty of close racing, but fickle winds, especially near the top mark, led to some tricky tactics toward the end of the beat. This tended to favour the boats that had chosen the right-hand side, and as the wind continued to veer starboard tack dominated the beat. This led to less opportunity for gains and losses, no doubt a huge relief to the Yardleys who by this stage had cemented a significant lead.

After race one, the wind continued to veer round to the north-west. Race Officer John Poulson and his team patiently rearranged the course, but sadly the wind insisted on moving slightly further than the top mark, causing quite a workout for the mark-layers and the postponement flag to go up and down like a yo-yo. Sailors chilled off, but Richard Harvey's impressive deck dance warm-up seemed to also work wonders for his boat speed in the remaining two races.

Eventually the wind settled on its new NW direction, and Race 2 could begin. This time, the a wind shift just before the start led to a clean pin end start for the Macgregors (Naiad). Things were tightly packed as the fleet approached the top mark, with everything to play for – or indeed everything to lose for the authors, who span after a port tack incident with club-mates Dan & Cat Rule (Knot Guilty). Close racing followed, with Richard & Eilidh Harvey (Slapdash) excelling in the light but gusty weather to create a big lead. The right side of the beat clearly favoured and so overtaking opportunities were limited, exacerbated by the bias on the leeward gate. Nevertheless, the Phillips pair (Swordfish) leapt through the fleet after banging a big corner, to finish in second place.

For the third race, a wind shift just before the start led to a log jam near the committee boat, and disappointment for two of the Carsington boats, who despite avoiding any collisions found no room for them on the line and had to concede several boat lengths from the outset. Once again Richard and Eilidh Harvey sailed with comprehensive boat speed, perhaps preferring the slightly lighter winds. Swordfish sailed a solid race to finish second, followed by Naiad. A close race between the Yardleys and Simses ended with the Simses sneaking past on the final beat.

And so day one culminated with cups of tea in the clubhouse, and a meal out for many of the visitors.

Day two started with murky low cloud, and a distinct lack of wind compared to the forecast. However, it wasn't long until the breeze kicked in. The fleet was complemented by the arrival of local sailors Eric & Theo Holmes, but the increasing breeze led to some challenging conditions for them and visitors Kenny Upchurch and Ray Porter near the back of the fleet as the day progressed. Meanwhile the Harveys continued to dominate, but there was some close racing behind them as the battle for 2nd and 3rd place intensified.

Race two saw some stronger wind which led to an unfortunate capsize for Dan and Kat Rule, giving yet more upset to what had been a frustrating time on the water for the event organisers. There was yet more close racing in the middle of the fleet with some close calls at many of the mark roundings, as well as the finish.

By the time of race three the wind had built yet more, and the Harveys made perhaps their first mistake of the series: whilst dropping the rig back their forestay became dislodged, leading to an early retirement but safe in the knowledge that they had already won the event. This led to an exciting race for first place in the final race, with some close quarters sailing between several boats. The Simses were next to suffer some bad luck, when their halyard failed as they rounded the second leeward mark in first place. The Phillipses managed to claim victory, which gave them a one point lead over the Yardleys for a 2nd place overall.

So the weekend came to a close after a great mixture of good wind, close racing, and off-the-water banter, all washed down with plenty of tea, cake, and a Chicken Tikka. Our thanks to the race officers and rescue / mark laying teams for their support over the weekend, particularly given the fickle wind conditions on Saturday.

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