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'Grafham Light' 4000 Open at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Fran Howell 26 Apr 2018 07:42 BST 21-22 April 2018
4000s at Grafham © Richard de Fleury

The 4000 fleet arrived at Grafham last Saturday from as far afield as Devon and Yorkshire. The event was the "Grafham Light" open meeting, where we had planned an informal mix of racing and training on the Saturday, according to demand from those attending, then joining in with the club racing asymmetric fleet on Sunday.

However, despite a glorious spring day on Saturday, the wind never materialised. So we spent the day catching up with old friends, bimbling, and helping the newer members of the fleet with boat setup.

Sunday began with the correctly forecast F3 south-easterly. Neil Heffernan & Jo Morrison (4343) had a great first beat, followed by a disastrous hoist, when the knot in the downhaul got jammed through the ring on the second patch of the kite. This is the classic way to discover why most of us use a bobble on the downhaul with the newer kites which have thin metal rings instead of the older chunkier ones! This allowed John Reynolds & Fran Howell (4682) and Matt Reynolds & David Marchant (4568) to get away.

In race 2, Matt & David were leading for most of the race, but at the final rounding of the top mark they gybed off to the left towards very light wind. John & Fran stayed in the stronger wind down the centre of the racecourse and gained a comfortable lead by the finish.

Jo de Fleury was helming for a change, with husband Richard at the front of the boat. The wind was due to increase to F4, but Jo was glad this never happened. Gaining in confidence all the time, they had a cracking pin end start in the final race, to lead round the top mark, but were then overhauled by the two faster boats in the fleet. Kevin Reed & Mark Stitson (4218) as the newest members of the fleet were unable to make many inroads in the results, but stayed in touch and still enjoyed their weekend.

After the French nationals and Paignton in May, the fleet is due back at Grafham for the full open meeting in June, when we hope to attract good numbers.

Overall Results: (three races, all to count)

1 John Reynolds & Fran Howell (4682) 1, 1, 1 3pts
2 Matt Reynolds & David Marchant (4568) 2, 2, 2 6pts
3 Jo de Fleury & Richard de Fleury (4572) 4, 3, 3 10pts
4 Neil Heffernan & Jo Morrison (4343) 3, 4, 4 11pts
5 Kevin Reed & Mark Stitson (4218) 5, 5, 5 15pts

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