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Sunsail 2018 January Leaderboard

Royal Lymington Yacht Club XOD Saturday Series - Race 18

by Robin Balme 3 Sep 19:46 BST 31 August 2019

The Race Officers led by James McGill set a good course on this very blustery day. With a stiff South West wind and a falling Spring Tide in opposition to it, conditions were interesting, to say the very least of it.

The first mark was a beat with the tide to Pennington. A couple of boats decided that the wind, gusting over 27 knots, was too testing and so retired. Robin Balme in his borrowed boat (Vexilla) was first to the mark closely followed by Rory Paton who quickly swept past the leader whilst the crew struggled to find their way amongst the unfamiliar controls.

There followed a really long downwind leg down to Tesco mark off Sowley boom, when most boats went inshore to get out of the worst of the tide. However, they were shown the way to go by veteran X boat sailor Eric Williams in Mersa who opted for the direct-line course, and who rounded in second place, behind Rory in XL. This was a really exciting leg catching a lot of waves on which to surf, however it was a testing leg for the boats and James Markby in Expeditious was unfortunate enough to break his kicking strap, which clearly slowed his boat down.

There was then a beat to D off the RLymYC platform, with the wind still blowing a good force 5/6. Indeed, with the big waves and confused seas, the wind speed seemed even greater. Eric Williams misunderstood the course and thought the race was ending at the line, and thus retired. Robin Balme was following and had to turn back after over-standing D by a large margin, and so letting Xpeditious and Madcap through.

The next leg was downwind to Pylewell and then a beat back to the finish line. Rory in XL showed the way. About halfway up the last beat the wind suddenly backed 40 degrees and died to half the strength.

Many skippers had decided against racing in so much wind, so it was a much-reduced fleet that set off, and an even more reduced fleet that returned. But it proved to be an exhilarating race, and the fleet of 6 remaining boats all finished fairly close together.

Race 18 Results: (top four)

1st Rory Paton, XL
2nd James Markby, Xpeditious
3rd Chris Torrens, Madcap
4th Robin Balme, Xray

Full race and series results can be found here.

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