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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2019 - Day 5

by David Harding 23 Aug 2019 06:21 BST 18-23 August 2019

Given that Dorset is home to several vineyards producing world-class English sparkling wine, it would seem inappropriate to use the term 'champagne sailing' in the context of Day 5 of Bournemouth Digital Poole Week.

The event is English and conditions were as sparkly as they could possibly be. As for the wine - well, that might have come later for some. Besides, you only have to change one letter to turn 'wine' into 'wind', and there was just the right amount of that in the harbour too: a perfect 12-15 knots from the south west. It peaked at 18 once or twice to keep everyone on their toes before gradually moderating during the course of the afternoon.

The race officer for the Bournemouth Digital course in the Top Triangle, David Lush, gave the Lasers, Flying Fifteens and RSs (200s and 400s) three races each to bring the event back on track after the seriously breezy one-race days on Sunday and Monday. All his fleets have now sailed 10 races. Some have leaders whose margins either assure them of overall victory or, at the very least, are extremely comfortable: Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts in the Flying Fifteens, James Foster in the Laser Radials and Alan Davis in the standard Lasers, all of whom scored at least one bullet from Wednesday's three races.

For a while in the Radials it looked as though it might be girl-power day after Ann Keates and Alice Woodings Hyde occupied the top two places at the first gybe mark in race 1. Keates went on to win and ended the day in 4th place, only two points adrift of Ollie Sturley in second.

Lady crews are very much to the fore in the RS200s, particularly those who are related to their helm. Duncan and Lorna Glen have established a four-point lead over Ian and Tally Mairs, with Harry and Jane Cowell a few points adrift in third.

Further down the harbour, meanwhile, it was the turn of the Dolphins to come under the watchful eye (and video camera) of Poole Week's coaches, Niall Myant-Best and Annie Lush. The Dolphins are not the fastest boats on the water, but a surprising number of well-known names have sailed them over the years. What's more, few fleets have ever been scrutinised by coaches of this calibre, so the Dolphins can hold their collective head as high as they always - and quite rightly - have.

Whether or not he did things by the coaches' book, Sean Meharg took over where Barry Harris left off on Wednesday, helming D42, Hey Jude, to victory in both races crewed by Barry's wife, Pat.

Having elected to sail for just the last three days rather than the whole week this year, the Shrimpers hit the line for the first time on Wednesday and increased their turn-out to eight boats on Thursday. Malcolm Bell took the win ahead of current points leader Rod McBrien. Again, as so often in the non-planing classes, there was plenty of close action and any gains were hard won.

Faster but more widely spread out was the fast handicap fleet, headed once again by the Merlin Rocket of Steve and Ally Tyler. Faster still were the Darts, the fastest being sailed by Dave and Jan Pointer who won both races to make overall victory in the week look extremely likely.

Things are tighter in the XODs, however, John Edmonds and Willie McNeill being tied on 10 points but Edmonds counting two firsts. While some of the fleet leaders can start to relax and enjoy themselves on Friday, the battle in the XODs looks set to continue to the end.

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

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