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Typhoon 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 20 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 20 Sep 06:27 BST 18 September 2021

On a quiet and rather grey day, with little wind, 10 Fifes decided to brave the elements and venture forth to see what delights the day held. With a light NE in place and a strongly ebbing tide, Chris and his team, after consultation with Guy the Bosun in the trusty Bronwen, decided to set a relatively short (and mercifully simple) X course of, Friars, Hwfa.

Onboard all boats there is an established crew dynamic, with some making decisions and taking the blame as a team, on other boats the helms word is law its all the crews fault when thing don't turn out as planned, whilst on others it's a constant squabble with blame being apportioned at random (but that said, its rarely the helms fault). On 41, Nicki and father Barry (AKA Family Yates), the roles are clear, Barry is the tactician and Nicki the talented helm, an established combination which has worked well over the years.

Having seen the small fleet out, Barry decided to take the tricky and potentially risky option of a port tack start on the Anglesey shore and they carried it off in great style, probably one of the best starts this season, (take a bow, Barry), this took them into an early lead which they held all the way to Friars.

Behind them the remainder of the fleet who had opted for the safer Starboard tack start, scrapped their way to windward trying to find the most favourable tide and best wind, 35, Tak and Dave (who is Dave) rounded 2nd followed by 37, Rhys, Helen & Rowan and 34, Tom & Paul.

Meanwhile, 29, Trigger & Dave (who isn't Pete) playing the tide in an outrageous fashion, went from 8th to 4th, as 7, Howard & Leo, 42, Tim & Mary (Aka Family Booth), 38 Mike & Steve and 5, Andy & Pete (who isn't Dave) watched in disbelief (as 'he's never going to make it', changed to 'he might make it' to finally 'he has made it!!) fortune favours the brave as the saying goes.

On board 41, master tactician Barry, still glowing from his brilliant start decided to stay away from the Anglesey shore and the rest of the fleet to avoid being blanketed by the chasing pack, always a problem on a light wind run against the tide, as the fleet tends to compress (it's also the case that sometimes there is a little more breeze further offshore, thus negating the stronger tide). Nicki, following Dad's orders, watched quietly as the fleet, in less tide, first caught and then passed them to leeward, thus wiping out all the Brownie points Barry had earned for the stunning start, from hero to zero in a flash!

35, moved to the front to round Hwfa with a clear lead, which changed from good to enormous as they hit the favourable tide on the Anglesey shore. 29, 34, 37, 5 and 7 rounded in a gaggle amidst some discussion as to rights? 41, 42 and 38 rounded peacefully (it's a much nicer class of person at the back I find). With 24, Pippa and Simon having closed considerably on the run to round in a competitive last place.

The beat to Friars saw 35 extend away, with 29 in second and 37, 7, 5 and 34 not far behind, 41 rounded next followed by 38 and 42, with 24 still in touch. The run back to the finish (the course having been shortened, as all the fruit cake had been eaten) was slow, very, very, very slow, as the fleet hugged the Anglesey shore in the slowly dying breeze in an attempt to minimise the effect of the tide.

Approaching Beaumaris, it was decision time for the leaders, stay on the Anglesey shore and sail the shortest distance, or head for the limit marks in foul tide to start with but with tidal relief once they got there? 35, 37 and 7 chose to cross, 29, 5 & 34 chose to stay on the Anglesey shore whilst dipping all the way. 29, who was lying second at this point, was momentarily distracted by his watching family and friends on the beach and promptly ran aground. With all the grace of a young Hippo, Trigger leapt overboard to push (see attached photo's) much to the confusion of Lizzie his daughter on the beach, who was heard to ask her Mum why Daddy was in the water? In a feat of super human strength, he managed firstly to get 29 off the bottom, but even more impressively get back on board, with the grace of a leaping salmon, without any help from Dave (who isn't Pete), who had woken from his afternoon nap to find a strangely wet Trigger at the back of the boat.

Meanwhile, at the distance marks, 35 had taken a handsome win, from 37 with 7 collecting the final canon for third. A rather damp 29 recovered to take 4th with 5, 34, 42, 38, 41 and 24 finishing in that order. A special mention to the crew of 24, who new to the boat this season and with limited experience, but commendable persistence, can now read the sail numbers of the boats in front and certainly had those of us at the back of the fleet casting worried glances astern, roll on next season.

So we sadly arrive at the last race next Saturday. This will be followed by the inevitable celebrations and post mortems, as we contemplate the season passed and look forward to the next.

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