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RS Elite class in the Frostie Series at Strangford Lough Yacht Club - Day 3

by Ed Cody 7 Oct 10:03 BST 3 October 2020
Phil Anderson and Clive Corry finishing race 2 - Strangford Lough's Frostie Week day 1 © Martin Mahon

Weekend three of SLYC's Frostie Series took place in a northerly breeze of 12-18 knots and thankfully the Race Officer timed it perfectly for the rain to stay off until after racing! All six elites were on the start line of Trasnagh island, although Irish Elite class chair Ed Cody was absent but had Speedwell out on the water.

Race one had all the elites in tight formation on the start line, with Speedwell and Merlin getting strong starts. Storm and Illegal headed left, whilst Usain Boat, Bamboozled, Merlin, and Speedwell went right. At the windward mark Speedwell slipped into the lead, closely followed line astern by Storm, Illegal and Bamboozled. Unfortunately Speedwell headed to the wrong mark, letting Storm and Illegal slip inside and get inside for the wing mark. Illegal had a few issues hoisting their kite, but Speedwell and Merlin were neck and neck downwind, whilst Bamboozled and Usain Boat were gybing together downwind.

At the leeward mark Storm had a tidy rounding, closely followed by Illegal sneaking ahead of Merlin and Speedwell. Storm and Illegal diverged up the beat, with Illegal hoping to get more favourable tide out right, with Usain Boat following and catching up. Despite spinnaker issues for the downwind leg, Bamboozled had good upwind speed and caught up the fleet again. First to fourth was extremely tight, and at the windward mark Storm led Illegal, with a small gap to Merlin and Speedwell. Another tight downwind leg led to Storm and Illegal heading over onto starboard gybe while Speedwell, Merlin, Usain Boat and Bamboozled headed on port gybe. A short beat to the finish ensured the battled for 2nd - 5th was still up for grabs, with Storm taking the bullet, followed by two of the SLYC boats of Illegal and Merlin. Speedwell was in fourth, Usain Boat fifth, and Bamboozled sixth due to spinnaker issues depriving them of a kite on the downwind legs.

Race two got under way pretty quickly and was the same course as race one. The pre-start was a pile up at the pin end, with Storm and Bamboozled getting the cleaner starts at the pin and Merlin starting in clear air got off the line quickly. Once again the first beat proved to be extremely tight - a feature of RS Elite racing, and this frostie series in particular - and Storm only just led from Illegal, with Speedwell and Merlin converging at the windward mark on opposite tacks making for some colourful discussions on the first part of the downwind leg! Illegal caught up Storm slightly by the leeward mark, but blew it when a kit refused to drop cleanly. Merlin and Speedwell were neck and neck, with Usain Boat only just behind.

Unfortunately Bamboozled's spinnaker woes continued and they were unable to use the kite downwind, making try to claw back some time to get into the mix upwind. Upwind was extremely close once again, with Storm having a relatively modest lead over Illegal, Speedwell and Merlin. Usain Boat heading out right ensured they caught up the main bunch once again. After coming together at the windward mark, Speedwell retired leaving Merlin jostling with Illegal for second, Usain boat fourth and Bamboozled retiring with gear failure. And so the positions stayed the same for the downwind leg, with Illegal making small inroads to Storm's lead. A short beat to the finish had Storm win with an impressive lead for a one design class. Illegal and Merlin were once again second and third and Usain Boat fourth.

With six races sailed Storm are lying on 7 points (Illegal depriving them of straight bullets!), Illegal second on 15, Speedwell third on 20, Merlin fourth on 21, Usain Boat fifth on 35, and Bamboozled sixth on 39. Despite showing near straight bullets, Storm have had to work for their race wins, and the fleet is a lot tighter than the overall scores might imply. We've had three great Saturday's of sailing so far, and there are two Saturday's and four races to go. So despite a very late start to the season, everyone's pleased to be out racing and even more pleased the fleet is so tight and such great sailing to be had. Normal Service resumes next week with Ed Cody back in the driving seat of Speedwell and Bamboozled set to have the niggling gear issues sorted by then!

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