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Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 5 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 31 May 08:46 BST 29 May 2021
Conwy Fife One Design 2021 'A' Series race 5 © Ian Bradley

On a grey and chilly day (it was a Bank Holiday weekend after all) All currently floating Fifes (12) came to the line with 7, Howard & Leo and 28, Jeremy & Sarah being the latest additions to the growing fleet.

With a weak Northerly breeze and a strong adverse tide, Chris and his trusty Minions set course number 9, (which is too long to list here, but basically a simple Windward / Leeward) from the 'Boys Own Bumper Book of Beaumaris Courses' as our challenge for the day.

In the prevailing conditions, starting choices were limited, with the Anglesey shore, by the wall being the preferred place to be. 18, Alistair (aka Kayak) and Lauren had a blinding start, unfortunately they were about 10 seconds early, so 5, Andy & Pete and 39, Gavin and Tim (who isn't a Doctor) moved to the front of the pack as we short tacked along the Anglesey shore. While the chasing pack squabbled over the minor placings, 15, Tak and Dave put in a long port tack towards the banks, followed by 29, Trigger and G and sailing in clear wind they re-joined the fleet in good shape.

5 rounded the windward mark first, followed by 39, then 42, Tim, son of Tim and Mary, 15, 29 after that I'm not sure, but 34, Tom, Paul and Helen, 30, Gwen, Jay and Kevin?, 28 and 41, Nicki & Barrie (Honourable mention to Nana Patti, for babysitting) and 38, Mike & Steve followed the leaders onto a long, and slow run back to Castle. I think the order remained pretty much the same, I wasn't near enough the front to see what was going on. And was also fighting off (unsuccessfully as it turned out) the attentions of 41, 18 and 29, who all passed me by.

5 led 39 & 15 around the Leeward mark, followed by the pack. At this point in Proceedings 29 was seen to do a 360 turn, which either signified a hat overboard situation, or rather, having tried to grab some room at the mark (to which he wasn't entitled, apparently) she touched the buoy and following the 'laser death Stare' from Gwen on 39, decided to do his turns, rather than face the wrath of a woman scorned, when they returned to shore.

With the tide slackening, the fleet had choices for the second beat, with some electing to sail over the banks, However, 39 decided to stick with the Anglesey shore and was followed that way by 15 and a few others. The Gamble (sorry Gavin, Calculated tactic) paid of for the first 2 on the Anglesey shore as they managed to take the very last of the favourable tide to B8, whilst those on the banks were meeting the start of the turning tide. 39 rounded first, followed by 5 and 15 and the pack. Another slow run followed during which 5 managed to get past 39, with 42 and 15 not far behind. A recovering 18 and a charging 41 had also moved through the pack with the rest of us trying to avoid the wooden spoon.

This order remained until the finish, with 5 taking a hard fought victory from 39, with 42 in 3rd, followed by, 15, 18, 41, 29, 38, 30, 7, 28 and 34.

The tides in the northern end of the Strait (do not under any circumstances say Straits!) are 'interesting' and present a challenge to all who sail here, this allied to the ever changing sandbanks make for a degree of, dare I say, chance on some days. Just like 'Bitcoin' which we all know exists, nobody really understands how the tides work here. Today being a good example, with the tide going in opposite directions on opposite sides of the Strait at one stage.

So 5 races into the series and 5 different winners, its not an easy fleet to win in, that's for sure.

Once again, us sailors are indebted to those willing souls on the line, whom we are quick enough to criticise when things go wrong, but are often too slow in thanking, when we have a good day. So thanks folks.

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