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Felpham Sailing Club Fisher's Flipper Series - Day 1

by James Gerwat 29 Jul 2019 17:25 BST 28 July 2019
Felpham Sailing Club Fisher's Flipper Series © Ian King

This is a popular series where competitors are given personalised handicaps to shake the usual order up. 25 boats came to the start line in a WNW Force 3 breeze. A trapezoid course was set with a Committee boat start.

The highlight of the first race was Ross Fisher (Blaze) collecting a lobster pot and taking it to the windward mark... unintentionally.

The usual boats were towards the front of the fleet, but it was towards the back where the true stars would emerge. Amanda Anderson in her Laser 4.7 won both races to end the day with a healthy lead overall. Lauren & Abi Bentley had a very consistent 2nd & 3rd to sit 2nd overall & Emily Climpson is in a well-deserved 3rd place.

We all came in for lunch, the tide turned & the wind went SW with the waves building.

Nine boats ventured out for the first 2 races of the Sidmouth Shield, featuring the Bruce Mclaren cup for the slow fleet.

The conditions proved challenging & only 4 boats finished the first race. The D-Zero of James Gerwat was first to the windward mark but 'kissed' the mark. He tried to get his turns in quickly but turned the boat over. The rest of the fleet seemed to sympathize & also capsized.

Once everyone was upright again, Richard Bentley (Aero7), Roshan Verghese (Aero5) were steaming down to the gybe mark. In pursuit was Mark Aldous (D-Zero) and some way back was the other Dzero along with Ollie Wattam (Topper).

We all successfully navigated the upturned Blaze (Richard Ganley). After some successful gybes, the boats headed down to the inner mark on the 'P' course. Getting round this next mark was tricky to say the least! The waves were rolling in, the wind 18 knots, gusting in to the mid 20s.

Roshan Verghese decided to head straight for the beach instead, Mark Aldous did his best submariners impression, which was a sight to be seen - and then headed for the beach. James Gerwat just got round & chased after Richard Bentley who was clearly wondering what the problem was. Richard Ganley somehow managed to wrestle his Blaze around the course, between swims.

When the music stopped, Richard Bentley was 1st, James Gerwat 2nd, Richard Ganley 3rd & Ollie Wattam 4th.

The final race had 5 boats start & all 5 finished. Once again the D-Zero (James Gerwat) was first to the windward mark and had a 20 second lead over Richard Bentley (Aero 7) after the first lap. Richard Ganley (Blaze) was still 3rd on the water but fighting it out with the Topper of Ollie Wattam & the Laser Radial (Dylan Collier). On the third and final lap the D-Zero capsized at the gybe mark, the Aero caught up... and then capsized.

The D-Zero was heading for a moral victory over the Aero 7, on the water. Alas, the speed of the Aero downwind with Richard Bentley at the helm was too much & the D-Zero finished five seconds adrift. Ollie Wattam sailed through the dramas & came 3rd, Dylan Collier (Laser Radial) was 4th & Richard Ganley (Blaze) 5th.

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