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Comet Open at Bala Sailing Club

by Chris Robinson 9 Sep 2021 12:09 BST 28-29 August 2021

The 2021 Nationals should have been at Bala over the August bank holiday, but due to a Covid outbreak at the club the event had to be cancelled at the last moment. However, several Comets arrived at the club before finding out about the cancellation, and some club members offered to put on two days racing.

By Saturday morning twelve Comets had made it to Bala. The format for the racing was set as three races Saturday and three Sunday using the club line. There would be a single start for the Comets and the local boats that were also racing.

The first race started in very little wind. The fleet was spread out as it arrived at the downwind mark and began the reach across the lake to the next mark. However, this couldn't be easily seen as its blue/green colour merged perfectly with the background. It wasn't until the leaders were half way across the lake that they realised that they were sailing to the wrong mark. This worked in favour of the boats behind and the tailenders were able to catch some of the leaders. Steve Gregory, who had done the sensible thing, and followed the local boats went into the lead. Finally, the wind finally filled in a little, which allowed the fleet to sail back across the lake to the finish. Peter Coop caught Steve on the last mark to take the win.

As the wind filled in it had also changed direction, so the race officer changed the course, also shortening it considerably as the first race had taken one and a half hours to do one lap. The port end of the line had the most wind, but would mean coming in on port to the windward mark at the end of a very short beat. Most boats started on the starboard end of the line hoping to make it in one to the mark. Peter was first to the windward mark, followed by Nigel Austin and Chris Robinson, although Chris overtook Nigel on the run. To get back on time the race was shortened after one lap, which left the top two places unchanged, although Chris had to cover Charlotte Coop to the finish to keep his second place.

The wind was holding up, so the course was kept the same. The first three to the windward mark were the same as race two. However, this time the front three sailed clear of the rest of the fleet. The Race Officer elected to sail a second lap despite the dropping wind. On the last run the wind filled in from behind allowing the boats behind to close the gap to the top three. Chris was almost caught by John Sturgeon, Andy Dale and Charlotte, but managed to get round the final mark ahead of them and keep his third place at the finish.

Sunday morning, as the weather forecast predicted, had no wind. However, as the boats launched it began to fill in. Unfortunately, there was also a 180 degree wind shift so the start was downwind. Peter won the race followed by Steve Bellamy and Henry Jaggers.

After four races Peter Coop had won overall. However, the other places were all to play for as there was only six points between second and seventh place. In addition, Andy and Steve behind the top seven could still improve their overall positions considerably with two good positions in the final two races.

A new course was set for race five. The first start was a general recall, but the fleet had a clean start second time round, apart from two Comets that collided and got locked together when their mainsheets got tangled. The wind continued to build in strength giving some good sailing. Although the wind was very steady there were still wind shifts and the wind did vary in direction and strength across the course. Peter won again followed by Charlotte Coop and Andy Dale.

The last race had a short beat to the first mark. It was possible to make this from the starboard end of the line, where most of the boats started. However, some boats successfully started from the other end and managed to round the mark on port tack. The wind continued to increase, so the Race Officer let the Comets sail for three laps, which made it the most enjoyable sailing of the weekend. Steve Bellamy got into the lead early on and kept ahead of Peter, denying him the grand slam.

Peter Coop was the overall winner, followed by Steve Bellamy and Charlotte Coop, all from Winsford Flash. The results in the middle of the fleet were really close with only one point separating each place from second to seventh.

Overall Results:

1Peter CoopWinsford Flash1111124
2Steve BellamyWinsford Flash461227113
3Charlotte CoopWinsford Flash73652414
4Henry JaggersBeer34835715
5Andy DaleEyott1010463316
6Chris RobinsonBurghfield92396617
7Nigel AustinCransley87274518
8John SturgeonHawley Lake685412DNS23
9Steve GregoryFrensham Pond2591091025
10Martin LoudWinsford Flash49788927
11Steve DaleEyott11111011111143
12Roger HarrisonRedditchDNSDNSDNSDNS10846

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