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ILCA Spring Series at Queen Mary Sailing Club - Day 2

by Mark Lyttle 14 Apr 11:44 BST 11 April 2021
ILCA Spring Series at Queen Mary © Simon Winkley

34 ILCAs lined up on the second Sunday of the Spring Series at Queen Mary Sailing Club after a very tedious lockdown. It is the tradition at QM that the first to round the windward mark of the first race writes the race report - this week that honour comes to Mark Lyttle. It's worth noting that the ILCA club racing at QM is without doubt the most competitive in the country - so hats off to all those who took part.

Race Report by Mark Lyttle

Great racing today with so many boats in quite challenging conditions and lots of place changing. I certainly have enjoyed the last two Sundays sailing a lot more than my usual lockdown walk.

The first start was delayed slightly by a persistent leftie with Andy and Jill Peters resetting the course perfectly. The line was reasonably even and I launched off the middle and tacked on the first header. I think Orlando Gledhill was furthest to the right of those that got away quickly on that header with Mike Hicks above him and then Tony Woods, myself and Steve Janering. As we went across I started to lose to those below as the wind headed and with lots of room on the left (meaning you could take the lift with lots of time for it to head before the port lay line) I decided to tack as did Steve. We took the lift and then got a gust and header and were able to come into the mark on port at a nice angle just ahead of Tony (I think). Sadly for us we rounded in a lull and the rest of the fleet charged down the run, bunching the leaders up.

Next beat summed up the day - left or right? Let me give you my view (sorry this is more serious discussion on tactics than humorous commentary). The wind was fluctuating randomly in direction and strength but around the same median i.e. it always returns to the median eventually (unless there's a persistent shift like before the start). What does this mean? Well at the start of the second beat the wind had returned to the median direction but the next shift is random - left or right - it is not an oscillation where the wind shifts back and forwards in a rhythm. And the strategy is to stay on lifts in gusts but don't look for a pattern as there isn't one.

Darragh, Tony and I were taking the shifts on the middle left when a big right came in - I dropped to about 10th, with Steve and Mike (amongst others - sorry I don't recall as I was in a state of awe) coming through strongly. After more bunching the fleet on the reaches, Steve broke his tiller extension leaving Mike and Darragh to fight it out on the next beat, both leading at different stages until the leeward mark where Darragh decided to give us all chance by finishing (too) early. Myself, Tony and Mike fought it out over the last beat and were within a couple of boat lengths of each other on the reaches (Tony even rather petulantly asking me to speed up on one of them as the others were catching), finishing in that order.

The second race was another tricky affair. With a heavy port bias, Roger O'Gorman virtually jumped over the pin mark on to port and crossed the fleet. Chris, Dick and Orlando got away from the pin in style, tacking straightway on to a one-sided beat (as an aside when this happens you have to be near the pin). Roger pipped Orlando at the first mark followed by Chris Ellyatt and Dick Soderberg with Tony, Darragh and the author close behind. The leeward mark was the craziest I can remember at QM - 6 or 7 boats overlapped in 12 knots as we went around - I know as I was on the outside! We will need a gate soon.

Special mention for Gareth Edward's death roll into one of the trapezing single handers - thankfully no damage to crew or boats. It stayed close for the next lap with Roger staying ahead but unable to extend. At the start of the next beat, most of the top group headed left but as I was just behind, I stayed on right and crossed everyone - now you may think "left or right, 50:50, he was just lucky" or I could claim everyone else took the header as they went left but that's sailing - what would we talk about afterward otherwise. Anyway I fell asleep on the run and Orlando cunningly cut inside to take the lead which he held up the last beat and to the finish, with Tony slotting in behind me and ahead of Chris and Roger.

I think we all felt the boat handling needs sharpening and we need to get the head out of the boat in those conditions - there was so much happening around the race course and it seems to happen so quickly early in the season, so sorry if I have missed some elements. Word of praise though for Tony - 4 races on Sundays in very difficult conditions and he hasn't finished outside top 3 - he is fast on all points of sailing, no boat handling errors and not making major mistakes!! Well done, boss.

Spring Series Results after Day 2: (four races)

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4Pts
ILCA7 / Laser Fleet
1st214610Tony Woods232310
2nd211165Mark Lyttle1091222
3rd213463Guy Noble67141037
4th213569Markus Bird12122338
5th211374Steven Fowles71271541
6th194130Tom Nash44181743
7th204678Mark SanckenUFD516952
8th203157Mihail Yankov81301655
9th217877Matthew Knight161992064
10th209009Andy Omasta96262667
11th211166Josh Lyttle1513281470
12th216547David Bates1317222173
13th206891Ben Sharp12DNC131278
14th212199Ninian EadieUFD1410DNC87
15th202549Orlando GledhillDNCDNC5188
16th191822Mike WoodUFD20242490
17th209265Michael HicksDNCDNC3691
18th215380James Baxter38DNCDNC93
19th209122Roger O'GormanDNCDNC6593
20th215380Darragh O'Sullivan (NM)DNCDNC4894
21st144731Luca SimoncelliUFD1615DNC94
22nd215300Simon Cavey1110RETDNC96
23rd217528Chris EllyattDNCDNC11497
24th200668Steve Pears515DNCDNC102
25th5186Michael PryerDNCDNC813103
26th215302Tom Tindall1411DNCDNC107
27th211257David CasaleDNCDNC197108
28th212201Dick SoderbergDNCDNC1711110
29th201100Paul CooperDNC212325110
30th195064Ben Swyer1718DNCDNC117
31st215230Gareth EdwardsDNCDNC2018120
32nd177861Alison StevensDNCDNC2119122
33rd182689Andrew WhittakerDNCDNC2722131
34th186130Aaron BrookesDNCDNC2528135
35th212396Adrian ElwoodDNCDNC3127140
36th215788David PopperDNCDNC29DNC152
37th6651Steve JaneringDNCDNCRETDNC157
38th208837Patrick HicksDNCDNCDNCDNC164
38thBER214933Sebastian KempeDNCDNCDNCDNC164
38th192575Tim CrookDNCDNCDNCDNC164
ILCA 6 / Laser Radial Fleet
1st211166Josh Lyttle11619
2nd191822Mike WoodUFD34617
3rd217887Matthew KnightDNCDNC1324
4th177861Alison StevensDNCDNC2224
5th195064Ben Swyer22DNCDNC24
6th216547David BatesDNCDNC3427
7th182689Andrew WhittakerDNCDNC5530
8th212396Adrian ElwoodDNCDNC7734
9thBER214933Sebastian KempeDNCDNCDNCDNC40

Podcast - An Hour With Flower - UKLA at with Orlando Gledhill, Mark Lyttle & Tony Woods

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