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Pwllheli Autumn and Challenge Series - Weekend 3

by Vicky Cox 21 Oct 06:13 BST 19-20 October 2019

After early showers, the fleet faced menacing clouds out into Tremadog bay for the third weekend of the Autumn Series, part of the popular Pwllheli Challenge.

With winds around 10-14 kts gusting up to 17 kts from the north west, race officer Robin Evans set an interesting course up wind along the beach before a kite leg further out in the bay. Will Partington's Hunter Honey Bee got the best start but soon had the wind taken from them by the larger sails of Peter Dunlop and Vicky Cox's J109 Mojito and Steven Williams's XP33 Darling.

With northerlies in Pwllheli come shifting winds inshore and although not the best of starts from Mojito, they managed to capitalise on the shifts to get well clear of the fleet by the windward mark and with a successful hoist they made steady progress downwind.

Behind, a few errors crept in, seeing a brief broach from Nigel Ingram's J109 Jetstream on their hoist and a kite in the water on the drop from a short handed Darling xx. Meanwhile, Eleri Griffiths and Andrew Brookes's Cork 1720, Luvly Jubbly love the kite legs and were making significant ground on the leaders but not quite enough to get ahead of Jetstream who recovered well from earlier.

Mojito took 1st overall and class 1, Jetstream 2nd and Luvly Jubbly 3rd. In class 2, Dave and Sarah Leather's J80 Harley Quinn took 1st followed by Will Partington's Honey Bee and newcomer Wim Batist's J97, Only Magic who managed to finish ahead of Darling xx.

Luckily, the fleet managed to finish before a shower, which completely shut off the wind, meaning Robin Evans was forced to deploy the AP. Patience prevailed and with wind shifting over 100 degrees, a second race was under way in the opposite direction along the coast past Gimlet rock to PSC mark number 6. The fleet then headed down to number 5 before turning up to number 8 and back inshore.

Mojito started from the back of the fleet but managed to get to the windward mark first with stiff competition from Jetstream. But a peel from A2 to code zero allowed them to pull ahead and get another comfortable win. Race 3 was eventually abandoned as the wind disappeared for the day and the fleet retired to Plas Heli to discuss the days results.

Sunday brought bright skies, flat seas and 15-20kts from the North east gusting and shifting over Gimlet rock. But with everyone's enthusiasm boosted after a Welsh rugby victory before heading out into the bay, the will to win was high and resulted in some very close racing indeed.

Steven Williams's XP33 Darling xx was not going to let Mojito out of their sights, closely followed by Paul Sutton's J109 Jaydreamer but it was Eleri Griffiths and Andrew Brookes Cork 1720, Luvly Jubbly that appeared from nowhere, kite up and planing past the bigger boats at speed to make the leeward mark first. Back up wind and Mojito regained the lead with Darling xx hot on their heels.

Mojito took 1st overall and class 1 followed by Darling xx and Luvly Jubbly in third place. Class 2 saw another win by Wim Batist's J97 Only Magic followed by Sarah and Dave Leather's J80 Harley Quinn just 6 seconds behind on corrected.

Rivalry boosted, and race officer Robin Evans was forced to call a general recall. Another go at the start still saw all boats pretty much at the start when the gun went. Darling got ahead to lead the fleet around the windward mark joined shortly after by Mojito, again both overtaken by Luvly Jubbly on the downwind leg. Back up wind and Mojito regained the lead, but tactics from Darling xx held them out at the mark giving Darling xx the lead but consistent sailing resulted in another first for Mojito, shortly followed by Luvly Jubbly and Darling had to settle for 3rd overall followed by Jaydreamer just 6 seconds behind.

Meanwhile in class 2, Will Partington's Honey Bee took a convincing win, 4 minutes ahead of Wim Batist's Only Magic after maintaining their kite in some very tight legs.

Everyone agreed that the series had brought some great rivalry and competition, and thanks to race officer Robin Evans setting some testing courses, a great chance to hone the sailing skills on all points of sail.

Mojito look set to take the Autumn Series overall but no one can relax just yet, as there are still plenty of points on the table on the last weekend of the Autumn series on the 2nd and 3rd of November.

And as part of the popular Pwllheli Challenge series, more points and prizes are up for grabs in the winter series starting on the 16th and 17th November. For more information and full results go to www.pwllhelisailingclub.co.uk

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