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Typhoon 2021 - FOOTER

Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 4 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 23 May 13:10 BST 22 May 2021
Conwy Fife One Design 2021 'A' Series race 4 © Ian Bradley

Truly a day when it wasn't over till the fat lady sang!

The fleets of the R.A.Y.C. have traditionally had a number of starts every season at Glyn Garth (the site of the long gone, ferry to Bangor), I am told this area has some historical significance and therefore sentimental attachment for the two classes sailed, the Fife and the M.S.O.D. However, I suspect the proximity of the Gazelle Public House to the race control position may also have some attractions for the Race Officer and his minions.

With a forecast NW wind there was some debate as to the suitability of Glyn Garth as a start line, But our Race Officer Garth was insistent we go, so go we went, not however without some muttering from certain members, as to the wisdom of the Race Officers decision.

Four Fifes came to the line for the delivery trip (sorry, Crews race) to Glyn Garth, with a simple Friars, finish at the Gazelle course set. Number 5, Pete (who isn't Dave) & Andy leading 15, Annika & Gavin (AKA the love boat), 38, Steve and Mike, the Navigator (NOT!), Followed by 29, G, Cheryl and Trigger. At Friars, 5 led, followed by 38, 15 and 29. 5 held her lead until she found the bottom off Beaumaris Green and parked (short stick again Andy?)* 38 following close behind tried to avoid the same fate, but failed and also parked. 15 and 29 passed serenely by avoiding the bottom and wreathed in smiles. 5 had to be subsequently towed off, but 38 managed somehow to get away and set off in pursuit of a distant 15 and 29, who by this time had got to Gallows Point. As the wind came and went and rotated to various points of the compass, 38 managed to close the gap and then pass to leeward of the leaders by skirting the banks, dipping all the way, thus snatching 'victory from the jaws of defeat' as the saying goes, 29 was second with 39 an honourable third.

For the main 'A' series race, the Race Officer set an 'X' course of Friars, B10, B8, B12. With the NW breeze coming over the hills on the Anglesey side, the Group wisdom was to start on the Bangor Pier side, with 5 showing early promise by sailing close to the banks. 38 recovering from a poor start worked her way through the fleet to sit to windward of 5, with 41, Family Yates (Honourable mention for babysitter Patti) 34, Paul, slightly younger Paul & Helen & 42, Tim & Henry (my other boats an MS) never far away. 18, Mary, Emily & Jay and 15, Mervyn, John & Dave & 29 rounded out the fleet.

As the wind came and went, in both strength and direction, first 5 and then 38 fell back into the clutches of the pursuing pack and 34 sailed into the lead as we passed Gallows Point and the wind settled (more or less) into the forecast direction. 38 managed to retake the lead of Beaumaris, but then relinquished it to a charging 41 who sailed through to leeward in stronger tide. As we approached Friars, 41, tacked for the mark thinking the tide would carry her up to round the buoy, but the tide had now turned requiring an additional 2 tacks, this allowed 38 to retake the lead by somehow wriggling around without touching and establish a fair lead from 42, 34 and the pack. The close reach / fetch to B10 saw no changes and 38 rounded clearly ahead.

Now, It might have been the excitement of leading, or maybe the thought of Draught Doombar waiting in the club, or even wishful thinking, but 38, in an act of monumental stupidity decided to 'shorten course' by rounding B5 rather than continuing on to B8, thus allowing the whole fleet to pass (in silence it should be noted, with the honourable exception of 29 & 18 who pointed out the mistake, always a nicer class of person at the back I find!!) so 38, unlike in the Crews race managed to, 'snatch defeat from the jaws of victory'.

41 gratefully took the lead and rounded B8 in front, with 5, 42, 34 and 39 chasing hard. The fetch to B12 saw the usual variable winds allowing 5 to move into second and 42 grab third, followed by 39, 34 and 29. Meanwhile at the back, 38 having recovered her composure after her navigational error and the ensuing full and frank discussion on board in an attempt to avoid being blamed (I lost, although my crew was very understanding and supportive!!) was chasing 15 and 18 in a desperate attempt to avoid the wooden spoon. 15 obligingly went aground, and the race was on between 18 and 38 for last. As they approached B12 in no wind, 38 closed right up, but 18 managed to squeeze around the Buoy, just as a gust arrived making it impossible to bear away from a standing start, Mary, by now heading straight for the bank at an alarming rate of knots, decided it was probably better to tack round and this allowed an extremely grateful 38 through with 15 eventually escaping the clutches of the banks to finish in wooden spoon position.

So 4 races, 4 different winners, watch this space.

* For those of you unfamiliar with the class, no electronic aids are allowed, meaning that the preferred method of establishing depth is by dipping with a stick, a considerable skill, developed over many years. We also have no kicking strap and a Spinnaker which sets inside the outer forestay, making for interesting reaches!

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