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Heron Open at Bewl Sailing Association

by Amanda Conrad 15 May 2018 13:58 BST 12 May 2018

This was the first Open Meeting for Heron dinghies to be hosted by Bewl Sailing Association, so the single home boat was delighted that visitors had travelled from Hull, Essex and Chipstead to sail on this great expanse of water.

Alas the wind was light and fluky. Race Officer Colin Nutt set a large trapezoidal course with the windward mark to the west to provide a good beat. However, the rain came in as the start gun sounded, and this caused the wind to back and produce a fetch.

There was a distinct lack of wind at the first mark, but Matt Pickett managed to pull ahead, closely followed by Dave Butler and crew. James Russ was in third position, and newcomer Jo Mayes crept up from the back to overtake Sean and Duncan at mark 2. At the beginning of the second lap, a sound signal and compass bearing at the committee boat denoted a change of course to give a beat to the first mark, but there were no further changes of position.

The wind was slightly better for the start of the second race, and Matt Pickett and Dave Butler were soon in front again. Jo Mayes and crew were becoming more confident in their new boat and getting the knack of the spinnaker. This enabled them to pass James Russ and take third place on the downwind leg. Sean Chapman was clearly having a problem as the wind dropped, so he decided to retire from the race. Matt Pickett was first over the line in this two-lap race.

During the lunch break, it transpired that Sean Chapman's buoyancy tanks had taken in water, so these were drained and a speedy repair was effected.

As the wind decreased on this cold drizzly day, the afternoon race was postponed until there was just enough wind. With significant shifts before the start, it was difficult to work out which was the windward mark. Matt Pickett again showed us the way on the long beat, followed by Dave Butler. There was virtually no wind for the downwind legs, and two drooping spinnakers allowed the trailing boats to catch up a bit. In the final leg of this slow one-lap race, Sean Chapman caught up with Jo Mayes and managed to drift past for a nail-biting photo finish.

Matt Pickett was sailing single-handed and, even with the handicap applied, managed to win all three races. Prizes were awarded to all competitors by the Bewl Commodore, Mark Munday.

In the evening, visitors joined forces with Chipstead Heron sailors for a convivial meal at The Bricklayers Arms in Chipstead.

Overall Results:

1st Matt Pickett, 9812 (Up River Yacht Club)
2nd Dave Butler & Emily Clixby, 10340 (Welton Sailing Club)
3rd Jo Mayes & Amanda Conrad, 10343 (Bewl Sailing Club)
4th James Russ & Suzy Wooff, 10089 (Chipstead Sailing Club)
5th Sean Chapman & Duncan Coombe, 10339 (Chipstead Sailing Club)

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