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Albacore Open at Maidenhead Sailing Club

by Peter Ford & Ron James 7 Apr 2022 10:02 BST 3 April 2022

The resident Canada and Egyptian Geese made for the island as 13 Albacores, 10 from the home club and 3 visitors launched on a bright sunny, but cool, morning into a strengthening force 3 from the Northwest.

The home contingent included some junior members in club boats (not the fastest) taking part in their first proper Open Meeting and despite being seriously under-weight in the stronger gusts they finished off the bottom in all races. The race officer set a course with longer and a shorter beat linked by 2 reaches and a run.

The wind was far from steady all day with holes and force 4 gusts and short-lived shifts of 45 degrees or more. One such shift came in with a minute to the start of Race 1 suddenly favouring a pin end start and maybe this caught out the fleet because as the gun went no Albacore was nearer to the line than a boat length away. The port shift lasted a minute or so before reverting to the mean. AL 8211 with Stuart McAdam and Sarah Mayhew from a start towards the boat-end gained when wind shifted back and was first to the windward mark. AL 8253 Graham Darvil crewed by Myke Bowers, and AL 7988, Victoria and Magnys McCabe, gained similarly but 7988 had slipped back by the end of the second beat and ex Maidenhead sailor Barry Wicks in AL 8132had slipped through to 2nd place. The first 3 held their places to the end of the 3-lap race having been helped by a wind lull behind them in the second beat. Good racing developed behind these three with much place changing before ending in what by the end of the meeting was to become a fairly established pecking order.

The second start was the most exciting of the day with most boats on the line and a few over with 5 seconds to go, but all managed to dip back including 8211 on port, tacking back to starboard just clear of approaching starboard boats as the gun went. 8132 made it to the first mark in the lead with AL 8130 Howard Witt and Erica Hunter just behind and 8122 next. With the wind dropping, 8132 had a 70-meter lead from a group of 5 close boats by mark 2. These six were close together again by the end of beat two (mark 4) with 8123 just holding his lead as the wind increased again to near planning strength, but only light weight juniors Ollie Casey and Geraint Head in AL 6411 actually planned for 60 meters or so. By the windward mark in lap 3, 8211 was 4 seconds ahead of 8132 with 8253 another 10 seconds behind. Next up were AL 8253, Martin Hayward and Chris Somner and 8130 which had been within 10 second of each other all race. Place changing continued in groups of three boats in the last lap with 8132 getting the gun from 8211 by just a meter with 8253 again 3rd.

After a hot lunch provided by the Club, the fleet set sail for race 3 in more wind and a cloudy sky. The race officer retained the course configuration but lengthened the beats accordingly. The start was again well contested but everyone managed to get behind the line in the last few seconds. 8211 was again leading at the first mark followed by 8130 and 8132 but by mark 3, AL 8188 Arron Mussell and Jonny Payne had spurted into 3rd place with 8130 4th. As the race developed, 8211 stretched his lead, 8132and 8253 were comfortably in second and third while AL 8151 made it up to 4th before losing that place to 8130 at the finish with 8188 fifth.

The final start of the day was less aggressive and saw 8211, 8253 and 8130 in that order at mark 1 but the first 6 boats were all very close at mark 3, but as the race progressed intermittent lulls spread the fleet with the cream coming to the top. At one point 8253 briefly took the lead in a competitive last lap but at the end it was 8211 taking the gun, 8253 2nd, 8132 3rd, 8130 4th and winner of the Silver Fleet Al 7525 Andy Pearce and Ian Simpson getting their best finish in 5th.

Overall Results:

PosFleetBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stGOLDSnake Eyes8211Stuart McAdamSarah MayhewMaidenhead SC1‑2113
2ndGOLDAL8132Barry WicksJulie MaidmentWhitefriars SC212‑35
3rdGOLDYou can call me AL8253Graham DarvillMyke BowersBroadwater SC‑33328
4thGOLDGarden Leave8130Howard WittErica HunterMaidenhead SC‑554413
5thGOLDMaybe AngeLs8151Martin HaywardChris SomnerMaidenhead SC445‑613
6thSILVERBlue Jay7525Andy PearceIan SimpsonMaidenhead SC6‑76517
7thGOLDSilver Fox8189Phil SheppardKirsten SheppardNottingham SC‑868721
8thSILVER / Y&JBlu Sonnet8188Arron MussellJonny PayneMaidenhead SC78‑10823
9thGOLDCurvaceous7988Victoria McAbeMagnus McAbeMaidenhead SC‑997925
10thSILVER / Y&J  6411Ollie CaseyGeraint HeadMaidenhead SC‑111091029
11thSILVERTe Wero Gal8129John DerrickJenni CraigMaidenhead SC10‑12111132
12thSILVER / Ladies / Y&JBillabong812Tara MillerHannah MauriceMaidenhead SC1211(DNF)1235
13thSILVERALice5866James KearnsShady Maurice / Michael McGarryMaidenhead SC13(DNF)NSC1340

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