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MS Amlin 2019 - 728x90

Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2019 - Day 4

by David Harding 22 Aug 08:02 BST 18-23 August 2019

You would have been hard pressed to find a face without a smile as competitors in Poole Week came ashore after racing on Wednesday.

There was little not to like about conditions in the harbour, whichever part of it your course took you to. Between them, the 12 fleets used pretty well all of it, from the Top Triangle near Arne and Long Island down to the far eastern end off Sandbanks and, in the case of the Wayfarers, all the way up South Deep too. That's where they went in their first race, via a few marks in the middle of the harbour before beating past Brownsea Castle and on up to Amy. Kites were hoisted at Amy for the run back from the quiet, green and pleasant south to the bustle of the main harbour.

Once again, the battle at the front was between Jackie Dobson crewed by Dave Mitchell, and Brian Lamb sailing with Sam Pygall. After a number of lead-changes, the latter pairing had eked out a slight advantage by the penultimate mark. They then converted it into a comfortable win after a course-reading error by their rivals let them off the hook and also allowed David and Sally Wall, who had never been far from the leading duo, to sneak through to 2nd.

Although local knowledge in a harbour like Poole can never be considered a disadvantage, it's clearly not essential when it comes to leading the fleet home. Brian Lamb's home club is Wilsonian, on the Medway, though he has been a regular visitor to Poole Week for many years and has gone home with the spoils more often than not. Another visitor topping his table is Alan Davis from Oxford Sailing Club in the standard Lasers. He hasn't had things all his own way and scored his lowest result to date in Wednesday's second race - a 4th, which is currently his discard - but he still leads by 8 points. Parkstone's Andrew Hartley has been consistent in the Lasers all week and is lying 2nd, two points ahead of Michael Atkinson who won Wednesday's first race and has been finding good boat speed across the wind range.

After only a handful of RS200s turned out on the first two days, Wednesday saw them 16-strong on the start line. Duncan and Lorna Glen didn't sail on Sunday or Monday, but have since put together a string of top-three results to lead Ian and Tally Mairs by four points.

The RS200s have some visiting boats in the fleet, as do the RS400s - most notably in latter's case in the form of Steve Middleton from Burghfield, whose 2-1 scoreline today matched the 1-2 of local sailor Andy Hadfield to keep him just one point off the lead.

One fleet with no visitors is the Poole Dolphins - the clue is in the name - but that makes them no less competitive. As many top sailors know, the slower the boat the closer the racing tends to be and the harder you have to work to gain half a boat-length up a long beat. Barry and Pat Harris got it right today, chased hard by Nigel and Tessa Yeoman who were only a few seconds behind after several hours of racing.

Close finishes were very much the order of the day, the top half-dozen Flying Fifteens crossing the line so tightly grouped you could have hopped across their decks from the committee boat to the ODM. Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts came out on top for the fourth time in five races and now lead the fleet by 13 points from Burghfield's Ian Linder and Kevin Sweetman. Alexander and Willetts have the biggest lead in any fleet apart from Nigel Pearce in the slow handicap. It would be a brave man who placed a bet on anyone else to win the Fifteens this week.

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

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