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Ocean Elements 2018

Vane 36R Leech Cup at Fleetwood Model Yacht Club

by Tony Wilson 4 Jun 11:16 BST 1 June 2019

With a favourable weather forecast looking to be dry, although light winds again we had the chance to test our vane fitness. For some it may seem wise to train a little with a couple of gentle short jogs, for when the boat just heads off on its own course and you suddenly find you're chasing the runaway.

Although at least two of our favourites for winning were away, we had a couple of new entries to the game. David Foster had been wisely testing out his latest vessel somewhere up near Barrow and Mike and Sue Parkington had also joined us for the day.

Four club boats put on their largest rig for a slight breeze, that was just gently fizzling in from the road side. So the idea was to go fixed vane and crab along on a reach near the footpath if possible.

David just a little nervous on the start block was asking Tony, "now what do we do?" as he had never raced his against another boat. No fear as it just went fine and maybe Tony should have been asking Dave as he steamed up the lake to the other end.

Mike was sailing against John and he also secured a few points in either direction. It looked like the new boys were showing us what to do, but that's fine. Eric A was helping David and doing most of the running and Bob and Darren were also manning the far bank for Tony and John.

Mike and Sue were then to race Tony and Bob. It was on the return leg that Mike's boat decided to do a 180 degree turn and head back to the start. Then Tony's boat did something similar, while Mike's turned around again and headed up to the finish, Tony remained stranded and it was only after 20 minutes of threatening recovery with a fishing rod, that it decided to drift in to the side.

It wasn't looking too good for Tony as he hadn't made the score card yet and still had to race against John just before lunch. John wasn't doing much better, but he beat Tony.

After lunch the wind had got up just a touch and it looked like we could chance broken vane as the wind was coming from the far left of the lake. It fluctuated to the right corner now and then, so kept us guessing all the while.

Three of the boats were sailing with the well respected Walter Jones vane gear. Eric A was now really getting into knowing how vanes work and able to tweak these works of art as his Skipper had been driving his boat 'Naima' to that far bank. Usually the Skipper wants to take control but Eric A was doing a brilliant job. Eric Watkinson our Race officer was telling us that the boat was a Vic Smeed Krispie design, originally planked with strips of Kellogs Rice Krispie carton, but as it wasn't April fools day, we have to believe him.

By the end of the day and after all sailing a second round it was David that won the cup, hardly dropping a leg and with team Parkington in second place. They had gained lots of points and we hope they return for more of the fun in three weeks time.

When chatting with Eric A about how it all works, he said that it's probably better that they don't know, as they had done just fine.

Thanks goes to all on the day, for those that helped with poling and to our Vane captain with the score cards Eric Watkinson.


1 Dave Foster 26 pts
2 Mike Parkington 17 pts
3 John Plant 14 pts

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