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Parkstone Yacht Club Flying Fifteen Autumn Series - Race 4

by Simon Redhead 27 Nov 10:44 GMT 23 November 2019

A fleet of sixteen Flying Fifteens assembled on the race course expertly set by Fi Linford and Mike Kilbee, with a nice tour round the harbour via NC12 and Lathams to a couple of windward leeward legs from Oyster to Rebbecks which kept us clear of the Ferry, followed by a hitch to 28 and back to the line with more windward leeward laps of NC12 and Hamish race mark to the finish.

With a light easterly breeze under slate grey skies there was a considerable ebb tide to contend with taking us over the start line. Most of the fleet were quite conservative, no one wanted to be over early, Dick Linford and Peter Biggs in 4036 made the best start and led up to NC12.

Close behind there were some place changes up the first leg, having rounded the first mark we saw 4036 doing a turn. The leaders, team Scroggie in 4020 and Crispin Read Wilson and Steve Brown in 3922 sailed a little high of the lay line to Lathams. The fleet closed up considerably and there were some neat gybes and precision steering rounding Lathams, which is typical of the expert level of competition found in this most elegant craft.

The run to Oyster saw Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts in 3537 take the lead followed by Patrick Keats and Jake Grant in 3821 with a small group having a luffing match out to the right led by Dave Tabb and Chewey Sherrell in 4052.

On the beat 4052 went left with the others in a procession to the right. The battle for first continued down the run and with a repeat of the tactics on the next windward leg, 4052 came out best and into the lead. Number 28 buoy used to be a cage, but now it is not, sadly for 4052 they couldn't read the number, and sailed off into the distance. It appeared to be Graham Davies in 3934 who bore off first to the correct mark. Patrick in 3821 reacted quickly and with a better angle with his spinnaker was able to be first to 28, the uncaged one.

The wind died and it seemed with the tide having changed we might be stranded. On the box Fi observed only 3kts and shortened the course. 3537 stood on slightly longer than 3821 with 3934 further to the right. As the wind filled in from the North those on the left had their prayers answered earliest and so to the finish:

Race 4 Results: (top four)

1. 3537 Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts
2. 3821 Patrick Keats and Jake Grant
3. 3916 Mike Riley and Simon Redhead
4. 4036 Dick Linford and Peter Biggs

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