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Medway RC Laser Winter Series event 6 at Barton's Point Country Park, Isle of Sheppey

by Jamie Blair 26 Jan 05:35 GMT 23 January 2022
RC Laser Winter Series event 6 at Medway © Fiona Blair

Extreme conditions welcomed the 11 sailors with what looked like 0 knots, but actually peaked at 6 knots. The Southerly breeze wasn't stable and all chose the A Rig again.

Some thought it to be unsailable so were eyeing up the breakfast menu in the café. We actually raced 10 races; most of them a quality race with all the elements of a shifty and very light wind.

A one lap practice race saw the leaders become the tail enders; was this a precursor for the rest of the morning? Fortunately not, and race 1 saw Jamie Blair (51) squeeze away from the pack on the first beat and lead around the triangle sausage for the first win of the day. Tim Townsend (45) and Mark Penny (03) were scouring the track for the best wind and clocking up 2nds and 3rds. Race 2 went the same way, even with a shifting S wind and the port tack flyer by Tony Alexander (04) that got him to the windward mark first, he suffered the lack of wind moment later in the race sliding him down the order. Brian Lev'y persevered and reaped rewards in race 3 with a 3rd place and cheers all round.

There was pin end bias for races 4 and 5 but the fleet on starboard tack closed down the pin. Any port tack boats chasing the tail of that group to find themselves compromised.

With the slower racing only 5 races were completed before the coffee break. Standings at the break and one discard showed Jamie leading with a 5-point gap to second with Mark, Tim and Jon Moon (84) all close together.

The day was as usual filled with the cry of "I missed the mark". Race 8 saw Tim Townsend (45) hit the finishing mark as he was about to get his first race win and have to take a penalty turn turning his bullet into an 11th in the blink of the eye.

A 30-degree wind shift saw the mark boat out during the break to provide a revised layout that provided a fresh playing field to get one's head around (as well as the boats). After the break the fleet was down a boat. No electrics on Jamie's boat saw him miss two races whilst diagnosis and new winch servo fitted. Mark took the initiative and scored a bullet in race 6 and Tony race 7. Charles Pegram featured well in race 6 with a 3rd.

A full complement returned for the last three races and no guesses on results. Jamie took race 8 and 9. Race 9 brought the biggest cheer of the day when after Jamie finishing the wind shut off completely and even though we are on an inland lake boats were drifting away from the finish line. Eventually the light breeze returned with Brian popping through with a 3rd place in race 9.

Race 10 with a great start brought Mark in the lead on the first beat. He held off Tim, Jamie and Tony to round off a very difficult morning of racing.

After 10 races Jamie led by 4 points with Mark second and Tim third. Well done to all in the very difficult conditions, for doing penalty turns and being a bit softer on minor contacts where the light wind prevented slick manoeuvring to avoid contact. The most frequent issue is not giving enough room at leeward marks. Always room for improvement.

We look forward to the next round on Sunday 30th January, with light winds still on the horizon.

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