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Osprey Open at Isle Of Sheppey Sailing Club

by Lee Marriott 28 Jun 2021 09:34 BST 26-27 June 2021
Isle of Sheppey Osprey Open © Chas Bedford

As dawn broke on the tropical island of the Sheppey located in the Thames Estuary, a clear sky and gorgeous 8kts of wind greeted our visitors. The forecast of 8 to 10kts from the East would provide champagne conditions for the first open event for many due to Covid-19.

Race 1: The competitors sailed to the race area and racing promptly started on time at 1300. 1234 Terry Curtis & Peter Grieg, favourites for the title looked like a port flyer could be achieved. Sadly for them, 1292 Paul Heather & Jonathan Osgood, and 1372 Mick Greenland & Lee Marriott saw it coming and stuffed them on starboard, 1292 having a near perfect start, lead to the windward mark chased by the rest of the fleet set off on the reach. 1363 Alistair Raynard & Rob Burdekin attempted a cheeky nip in front manoeuvre but hit the mark thanks to the strong flood tide. 1372 sailed passed in second followed by 1234. Positions didn't change much down wind, however on the next beat the experience of 1234 shone and they tacked off early and got ahead of 1372. It was tight all the way but 1234 managed to pass 1292 in the final stages to take the win.

Race 2: Obviously someone had upset the gods. The beautiful 8 to 10kts turned into 20kts resulting in a short but steep chop. All those who went out in just short sleeves and factor 50 where wishing they had a spray top. The racing however was superb. All boats crossed the start line after a short delay as the windward mark had unseated from its holding as the tide changed and drifted. The Mk3 Osprey's of 1234 and '1' Russell Wheeler & Mark Mahwhinney battled it to the windward mark followed by the Mk 5s 1363 and 1372. Gear failure on '1' and a capsize (not sure which came first!) saw them out of the race leaving 1234 un-opposed. A small battle was developing between the Mk5 Ospreys of 1363, 1372 and 1369 Roger & Jamie Blake, with several position changes throughout. 1363 did prevail leaving 1372 & 1369 looking for the advantage. The wind was steady at 20kts and the reaches where near perfect for the 3 sail reaches. 1234 took line honours followed by 1363 and then 1369.

Race 3: A very quick reset by the PRO Chas Bedford and his team allowed for a prompt start. 1372 being a little over zealous was OCS when the gun went. They know it too! They turned around and ducked the line whilst the rest of the fleet sailed off into the sunset. Some good rolling waves had developed during this race which changed the dynamic yet again. 1234 had settled into their stride and were unchallenged. 1363 sat comfortably in second throughout, whilst the usual battle between 1372 & 1369 continued... However a new player had joined in the fun and games. 1316 Keith McDonald & Andy Brittain, was hot on their tails. A slight miscalculation of the now roaring ebb tide caught 1316 out as they were pushed onto the anchor cable of the committee boat and came to an almighty halt. Luckily only a couple of bruises to their pride and an exchange of paint resulted from the incident.

All boats are sailing well. The long period between sailing events due to Covid took its toll on many boats, with gear failure being the main problem for the DNF's. We would also like to welcome new members to the class, Richard Bowers and Jo Many from CCSC and Alex Perriman from IOSSC who is new to the sport. All competitors raced fantastically well in challenging conditions (albeit not forecasted by the Met Office). The evening finished with a socially distanced meal and a sun-downer drink on the beach. Lets see what tomorrow brings.

It was clear someone had upset the gods and we all had far to much fun on Saturday. Sunday was greeted with mist, rain and 25 to 30kts of wind from the NE. The one direction which really puts a spanner in the works for our little club. With the fleet still nursing bruises, aches and pains, as well as some hangovers, the decision not to sail was made after a 1 hour postponement. The wind, tide and waves continue to build even whilst writing this report and a sense of relief dawns on me knowing we made the right call. Safety is everyone's top priority these days and all though us Sheppey folk are a little mad we know our club and surrounding waters.

Terry Curtis and Peter Grieg took the well-deserved win with Mick Greenland and Lee Marriott taking second and Paul Heather and Jonathon Osgoode Third. The PRO, Chas Bedford has done a sterling job, as well as all the safety boat teams, galley staff and all the members that made the weekend possible. The Isle of Sheppey Sailing Club can not wait to welcome back the Ospreys so we can showcase how good it is on our little Island.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3Pts
11234Plan BTerry CurtisPeter GreigWeymouth SC1113
21372Mellow YellowMick GreenlandLee MarriottIsle of Sheppey SC34310
31292Light & BitterPaul HeatherJonathan OsgoodSW SC25411
41363Robbers AlleyAlistair RaynardRob BurdekinCarsington SCDNF [10]2214
51369Dark MatterRoger BlakeJames BlakeGreat Moor SC43DNF [10]17
61316Uzi JaneKeith McDonaldAndy BrittainSmall Heath YC5DNC [10]520
71273FrustrationJo Mahy FRichard BowersCastle Cove SC6DNF [10]DNC [10]26
81183Lee's BoatRussell WheelerMark MawhinneyIsle of Sheppey SCDNF [10]DNF [10]DNC [10]30
81245Two Bob BitKen BrownAlexIsle of Sheppey SCDNF [10]DNC [10]DNC [10]30

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