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Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 3 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 16 May 21:12 BST 15 May 2021
Conwy Fife One Design 2021 'A' Series race 3 © Ian Bradley

In a complete contrast to the previous week, the forecast for Saturday was for light winds, and that was certainly the case as 10 Fifes prepared for Saturday's race. Bosun Guy and apprentice Arwel towed the fleet to the start area as the tide was heading towards Menai Bridge faster than the wind could carry us towards the line.

Group think was to start on the Anglesey shore, However 38, Mike & Steve (we was robbed!), and 34, Tom, Paul and Helen decided to risk a start on the 'Big Island' side, by the limit marks. 34's decision was driven as much by fear of damage to her shiny new paint job amongst the likely short tacking mayhem on the Anglesey shore, as by any clear tactical choice I suspect!

Our race team set an X course of B5, Aber, Castle, Hwfa, with the usual requirement to pass inside the limit marks each time. The course selection and distance mark requirement led to some 'lively' debate post-race, I will say no more.

At the start (exemplary flag work this week, by the way Chris & his trusty minions) 42, Henry & Tim and 5, Andy & Pete (who isn't Dave) were OCS, although both later claimed it was a tactical ploy? On the limit marks the breeze started to fill in allowing 38 to make B5 in 2 tacks and establish a lead of maybe 10 boat lengths over the pursuing pack of 39, Gavin (I need new sails) with Dr's Charles & Annika, 30, Gwen Jay & Dad, 15, Stevie (our beloved leader) Tak & Dave, 18, Alistair, Mark and Harrison (not Ford), 41, Family Yates & 29, Trigger, G and Dan the man (making a welcome return as tactician and demon downwind helm)

Now, its quite possible that I haven't got boats in the right order, as normally I am in the middle/ back of the fleet making it both easier to see what's happening and to gossip with other boats (it's a much nicer class of person at the back I find!), however in Saturdays unusual situation I was more concerned with what was in front, weather wise, so apologies in advance for any errors.

38 held onto its lead, followed by 18, 39, 42 (I think) until just before they arrived at Hwfa for the second time, when the fleet sailed into a windless hole and floundered about for a while. In a weather anomaly, which happens occasionally at Beaumaris we had an NE from Puffin and SW from Menai Bridge competing for dominance with an area of nothing in between. At times during the next leg, all points of sail (Spinnaker up, Spinnaker down, in out, shake it all about!) were explored by the fleet in a desperate attempt to see where the wind was and boats went from hero to zero quicker than a Beaumaris seagull steals chips!

With the SW eventually gaining dominance, 18 were the first to throw a double six and escape the chaos, and rounded B5 with a clear lead from 38 who had recovered from 'down the pan' back to second, with everybody else in close attendance. The next leg saw the wind die again, allowing the fleet to close up and 42,5 and 39 to pass 38, meanwhile, 15, who had suddenly found an unexpected turn of speed was left with no option other than to complete a 360 turn, as there was no room for her at the mark.

At this point, the race team, having finished their afternoon tea and cakes (apparently they were inundated with home bakes, which Andrew & Gunner Bob did their best to demolish) decided to shorten course, allowing 18 to take her maiden win of the season, followed by 42 and 5 separated by only 3 seconds at the finish. 38 (we was robbed!) next, then 39, 15, 41, 30, 29 and 34.

So in typical Fife style, we have had 3 different winners in the first 3 races, both flat calm and 'looks a bit breezy' weather and varying levels of catering on the line.

As we drank our post-race beers a Rainbow appeared and the end was illuminating the Race control box (see attached photo), revealing the location of Andrews chocolate biscuits no doubt.

Series Results after Race 3:

1st 42, Family Booth & Henry, 3pts
2nd 38, Mike & Steve, 4pts
3rd 15, Tak & Dave, 5pts
4th 39, Gavin, Annika & Charles, 8pts
5th 18, Family Hogan & Alistair, 9pts
6th 5, Andy & Pete, 11pts
7th 30, Family Beeken, 11pts
8th 29, Family Robinson & G, 14pts
9th 41, Family Yates, 14pts
10th 34, Family Flower & Tom, 21pts

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