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Medway RC Laser Winter Series event 9 at Barton Point Country Park Lake

by Jamie Blair 3 Feb 19:47 GMT 2 February 2020

The weather watchers had been enthusiastically watching as the wind strength predicted for this Sunday changed almost every day during the week.

Even up to the night before were we going to get wet and blown away. Ten racers were greeted with the rain gone and clear skies but with D rig still the only option for morning racing.

Race area for today provided the usual triangle sausage but somewhat compressed in the area behind the headland. The main area was consumed by waves that hard working dinghy sailors would have enjoyed. At 10.00 the wind was down at around 13 knots but was gusting towards 20 knots. Race 1 got under way after a practice start that confirmed a square line so no advantage but to be near the starboard end (the furthest away from the sailors on the shore). Two schools of thought for the start - those prepared to be closer to the line and those that stand off and seek to find a way though as the seconds count down. What happens is those in the second and third row come to the line and think there will be a gap. Sometimes a gap but the inevitable shunt from behind or moving into a gap where the main boom obstructed the way through. It was difficult at times with the wind strength to fine tune the control and even after the start the calls of "Windward boat" were often heard.

In Race 1 Jamie appeared early at the start and ended up towards the middle of the line with four boats above him. Tim Townsend (45) was one of those boats and the group continued towards the port lay line for the windward mark, holding out those to leeward. Finally the fleet tacked on to port. Jamie (51) furthest left, but with an ease of sheets moved forward on the approach to the mark so that he was able to tack ahead of the incoming starboard tackers. Some of the port tackers found nowhere to go and penalty turns called. The reach across gave opportunity to aim at the overlap and request for Mark Room. Jamie held on to the lead, Tim (45) 2nd and Pete Freeman (63) 3rd.

For Race two with the wind shifting right in the gusts Race 2 started with the usual gaggle at the starboard end. On of the late arrivals at the line, Jon Moon (84), set his lane as the windward boat and held the fleet to ransom. A tack off early and a lift towards the windward mark also added space that allowed him to win the race from Jamie and Tim.

8 races were completed before the coffee break with a right tussle between Tim, Jamie, Jon and Pete. Some good showing in the breeze from Richard Stone (83) Roger Gibb (32) and Mark Penny (03); all with top 2 places to count - Tim was ahead on points but only a few points dividing the first four.

Out from the break the breeze had shifted right and increased to nearer 20 knots. A further seven races were completed - the starts and mark rounding always a challenge. Added to this the ability to tack either won you places or lost them. Jamie won Race 11 from Pete who got the last tack wrong and time in irons whilst Jamie gybed round and headed for the finish. Sorry Pete. Steady performance from Andrew (613) and Sarah who got the hang of the high winds and recorded a couple of 5th places. Brian suffered again with electrics - the dreaded green in the receiver...

Despite the trudge to the race area and a bit of mud on your boots the racing was intense and individual battles in every race. A couple of hook ups that spoiled scores and some OCS to add to the flavour of the racing. Before the last race the wind strength was recorded at a nearby weather station as 38 knots. Must have been the race just for a moment all the boats were seen laying on their sides! We completed 15 long races before the 12.30 cut off. Jamie showed his ability in the high wind with after the break taking all the races apart from the last one where Tim spoiled his run. Hasty calculation of the results by our RO Fiona confirmed Jamie as winner overall and Tim 2nd, Jon 3rd and Pete 4th. The third and 4th places had to be calculated on countback and went through the process of equal 1st's 2nd's, 3rd's, 4th's and 5th's so the last race was the counter! Amazing.

Round 9 Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12R13R14R15Pts
1st51Jamie Blair1233‑61‑63111111221
2nd45Tim Townsend231‑634112544(DNF)3134
3rd84Jon Moon412243523‑85‑645444
4th63Pete Freeman34515‑844532224(DNF)44
5th3Mark Penny654525354‑76‑756359
6th83Richard Stone56(DNF)7127‑8663338865
7th32Roger Gibb88648627829(DNF)(DNF)2777
8th613Andrew Nicholls‑9‑9787786747867688
9th17Sarah Mason‑1010(DNF)999999985795107
10th958Brian Lev'y7781010(DNF)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNSDNCDNCDNCDNC130

Next for Round 9 - Sunday 9th February. Details on http://www.rclaser.org.uk/events

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