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Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 13 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 19 Jul 07:38 BST 17 July 2021

On a day with wall to wall sunshine (and tourists) with not a cloud in sight, stunning, clear views of Snowdonia and a fresh barrel of Doom Bar waiting to be emptied, the Fife fleet counted their blessings and looked forward to an interesting day afloat (well, most of them did!).

With a steady North Easterly blowing and the chance of a sea breeze adding its weight to proceedings, race supremo for the day, Garth and his slick team decided that we would go to the Gazelle for the programmed Glyn Garth race, a decision which didn't please everybody it has to be said, but you cant please all of the people all of the time.

The preceding final Crews Race of the season, was contested by 5 Fifes, with a simple Nwy, Finish course. The short beat to Nwy saw 39, Dr Annika & Gavin round first followed by 5, Pete and Andy, 29, G & Trigger, 40, Men of Panache and finally 38, Steve & Mike, trying their now familiar tactic of leading from the back. The long run down to the Gazelle saw 39 take the cannon, followed by 29, 5, 40 with 38 in last place.

For the 'A' Series race a gratifying fleet of 16 turned out making for a crowded start line, but an interesting spectacle for the Teithiwr hordes (look it up!) eating lunch at the Gazelle or standing on the end of Bangor Pier at the other end of the line. The race team, working in limited space and surrounded by dogs, drinkers, diners and drunks, set course 26, which is basically up (towards Gallows) and down (towards Menai Bridge) lots of times.

Before we get into the fine detail of the race, I have been asked how I manage to both race and possibly more importantly, remember, the events of the day. Well, I have never claimed that the reports are accurate and would advise that the story is not always backed up by the truth! So please take these reports with the proverbial 'pinch of salt' hopefully they give a taste of events, rather than an accurate ball by ball account.

With a crowded start line and people pushing for a good start, it was inevitable that dreaded second gun was heard. From our position in the middle of the line we could not see the offenders, so carried on, and I suspect like lots of other boats wondering if we were blameless? 29 was first to poke their nose in front with 7,Howard, Leo & Georgie, 35, Hugo, Lauren & Bob,39, 34, Family Flower, 15, Tak, Dick & Dave, 41, Family Yates, 33, out for the first time this season and sailed by Merfyn & Son also in the pack. Also out and about where (in no particular order) 37, Rhys & Rowan, 6, Ally & Stevie (she who must be obeyed) 30, Gwen & Jay, 24, Pippa & Simon and 42, Family Booth.

The long beat up to Ogwen, favoured those who stayed on the 'Big Island' side, I think, I was on the Anglesey side losing out badly at the time! From my distant vantage point at the back, it was difficult to see who rounded first, 7, 29, 35, 15 & 39 were all there or thereabouts. The fleet must have made a colourful sight, spread across the Straight, as it ran back towards Menai Bridge. As it arrived at the Gazelle, the fleet had split, with most favouring the Anglesey shore and with 6 & 24 suddenly finding the sweet spot and powering into the middle of the pack. 7 and 38 (Follow Howard, he knows what he's doing) stayed out in the middle and benefitted from clear air while the rest of the fleet bunched up and swallowed the early leaders. 7 rounded Cadnant first followed by 39, who just escaped the clutches of the pack, followed by a surprised 38, who had moved from last to 3rd, with the baying pack, not too far behind. The short reach to Cadnant saw no significant place changes and so we began the long beat against the tide to Magdalen. After some short tacking up the Bangor shore the bulk of the fleet sailed across to the Anglesey side and benefitted from more pressure and made gains on those who had continued to short tack up past the baths.

By the time the fleet arrived at the windward mark for the second time, 7 had opened out a clear lead followed by 39, 35, 34, and 15. Another long run with the tide towards Menai Bridge followed, with 7 holding onto her lead, but with the chasing pack not far behind. From our lofty position at the back of the fleet it looked like a real ding dong battle at the front. The race committee, who were by now starting to wilt in the blazing sunshine, decided that it was time to shorten course and as we rounded George for the final time, 7 led from 39 and put in a few short tacks along the Bangor shore before covering the following fleet who had tacked around the mark and headed for the Anglesey side. 7 held on to cross the line first, but was greeted by an eerie silence, having been judged OCS at the start, this allowed 34, who had sailed through the fleet to take a maiden win this season, followed by 35, 39, 15, 41, 37, 6, 38, 29, 40, 5, 33, 30 and finally 24.

So, that's 10 winners in 13 races. With 32 threatening to launch next week that will make 20 on the water, so things are looking good for the Class.

See you on the water, remember next week we are scheduled to go round Puffin, weather permitting, so stock up on pies! (Central Bakeries or Swains, you decide.)

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