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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2019 - Day 1

by David Harding 19 Aug 05:56 BST 18-23 August 2019

The first day of Poole Week 2019, sponsored by Bournemouth Digital and supported by Zhik and Hall & Woodhouse, was definitely one for sailors who like a breeze.

Gusts of 30 knots were kicking up a steep chop in Poole Harbour and making for conditions that could be described as challenging. But the standard in many of the fleets is such that plenty of happy sailors in Parkstone's clubhouse afterwards could be heard saying it was the best day's sailing they've had in years.

Despite the enthusiasm of those who lived to tell the tale it was, perhaps, unsurprising that the results also showed a good number of 'DNCs' (did not compete) and 'RETs' (retired). Only a handful of the handicap entries set sail and just one from each of the fast and slow handicap fleets recorded a finish. These were respectively Ian Duke's K1 and Nigel Pearce's Fusion.

Four Darts started and one finished. The RS200s fared better, four of the 15 entries starting and all four crossing the finishing line, led by Georgie and Dan Vickers.

The highly competitive fleets of Lasers and Laser Radials were predictably among the more gung-ho. The 15 or so of each who made it round were watched and recorded on video by Niall Myant-Best and Annie Lush, the coaches who will be covering all the fleets during the course of the week and offering tips, encouragement and constructive criticism in a de-brief after racing. The Lasers benefited from a highly informative and entertaining session in the training room having come ashore, showered and put away a beer or two.

On the water it was Alan Davis who won in the standard Lasers despite being given a hard time in the early stages by local heavy-weather specialist Michael Atkinson. Andrew Hartley had a scorching last downwind leg and closed to within a few yards of Davis by the finish.

Last year's winner in the Laser Radials, James Foster, made his intentions clear by sailing to a win with Angus Kemp in 2nd.

Whether or not having a lump of iron attached to the bottom of the boat might have helped, the Flying Fifteens encountered the fewest problems on the opening day. All the competing fleets sailed only one shortened race instead of the two scheduled for most, but all 15 of the Fifteens completed the course with no drama bar the occasional broach. 'It was easy sailing', said Bob Alexander, who showed the way round crewed by Huw Willetts. 'We could have gone round again.'

As one would expect, the XODs were seen doing a little rocking and rolling and some near-submarining on the downwind legs. Team Bedford (Will and David) finished in front of the 10 others who ventured out.

After an opening day like this, those who prefer slightly less boisterous conditions will be looking forward to the rest of the week: winds look set to remain brisk for a day or two, but not quite 30-knot brisk. The first day of Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2019 won't be forgotten for a while.

Provisional results on www.pooleweek.org. More photos on www.SailingScenes.com

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