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Ocean Elements 2018

Byte open meeting at Combs Sailing Club

by John Saunders 15 Sep 2017 16:12 BST 2-3 September 2017
Byte open meeting at Combs © John Saunders

Over the weekend of September 2nd and 3rd it was the annual Combs SC Byte open and impromptu foodfest. Racing is important at this club of course but it would not be Combs without substantial consumption of victuals and as usual competitors were greeted on Saturday morning by the tempting smell of cooking bacon and a splendid view of the surrounding hills. Sunshine burned mist off the still waters of the lake and the ducks quacked, while sheep bleated, but of wind there was none! So, that was a good start and the day continued much in that vein. However still air and sunshine do not make for good sailing!

The race officer did manage two races on Saturday under very odd conditions where boats sailed two lengths forward and one length back and if a zephyr of wind gently touched one boat it could cruise gently away from the fleet as if propelled by a mystic presence. After two races it seemed an excellent opportunity to stop for lunch. Stu Moore (Weston) had won the first race followed home by Oliver Dumbleton and then Rick Whitehouse (Combs). Race two went to Oliver then Stu with Rick in third. Now a lunch of lasagne with rolls, salad and cake was needed to restore the spirits. During the meal there was no sign of wind so napkins were untucked from collars and racing was abandoned for the day.

So a relaxed afternoon with sunbathing and country walks was called for, usually passing the local pub to fill in some time until returning to the pub for dinner and drinks on a soft summer evening. Bliss! Sunday dawned displaying a very different picture with grey skies and a brisk SE wind blowing straight down the lake. Again the bacon egg and sausage but this time hurried rigging and extra clothing layers. Results from the previous day meant that it was all to play for in the planned four races.

The wind was gusty and provided an excellent hard beat off a tight line. Downwind was more awkward in a to-gybe-or-not-gybe sort of way with considerable swimming! Race three was won by Rick from Louis (Combs) and Stu.

In race four Louis came into form and led Rick home who in turn was in front of Stu. The increasing wind strength made it hard work for the lighter members of the fleet.

Race five went to Rick from Louis followed home by Stu. This race win gave Rick overall victory with one race to go.

Race six, the final race saw Louis blast to a good win and stayed ahead of Stu with Jenn Bennet (Combs) in third Rick bringing up fourth.

It had been a hard morning of sailing and the wind was continuing to increase as the boats were packed away.

Now for lunch, quiche with salad and cake before the presentation. Louis and Rick ended on equal points but Rick took the win by virtue of his three wins to Louis two. Stuart was third. Fastest lady was Jen Bennet (Combs) and top junior Victoria Theaker (Combs).

All declared it an excellent and enjoyable weekend more like a short Peak District holiday with some highly competitive sailing thrown in! Bytes will be active in next Sundays Battle of the Classes and after that the Inland Championships at Bowmoor. Louis and Rick from Combs have pretty much dominated the class over recent years but Bowmoor have a huge fleet of mainly juniors thirsting for blood. Not to mention the ever dangerous Stuart Moore! It should be an event not to miss.

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