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Shearwater TT at Bala Sailing Club

by Sam Vaughan 4 May 2022 10:58 BST 30 April - 1 May 2022

The first TT of 2022 for the Shearwaters was a series of firsts for the class. First TT of 2022, First TT at the stunning Bala Sailing Club, First TTs with some new teams and the First outing of the newly rebuilt New Flame.

The Shearwater spirit started early on Saturday morning with everybody assisting in getting boats off trailers, rigged up for the first battle of 2022. A programme of eight races over the three days was proposed and warnings of the lake is cold, as it is fed by Snowdonia National Park were issued. Subsequently a lot more sailing kit appearing in the boat park from the campsite.

Race one, stated with a mixture of cats from Nacra 20s, F18s and A classes making the start line a busy place for the combined fleet. A long one-mile-long course was set, and a mixture of options presented the fleet with what was perceived to be the correct way up the lake, at the windward mark New Flame was in the pole position, with a gaggle of boats taking the remaining places. A long downwind with the majority of the fleet playing with angles on what was the fastest way back down hill, the boat that had the best feel was New Flame, they came out on top and finished the race in first by a comfortable margin.

Race two, similar in conditions and course to Race one however the fleet were getting closer, Jessabelle and Crowns were right on the tail of New Flame, and all the fleet were changing places all the time. Airflow were also up and showing how new teams can quickly develop into front of the fleet contenders. After a close race with pressure applied, New Flame came out on top.

Race three, Shear Flamboyance led up the first beat and led at the windward mark followed by Crowns. A game of Snakes and Ladders followed with boats constantly changing places as the wind was dropping around the lake. However, a similar theme ended with New Flame taking the win, however the fleet were defiantly getting closer.

For the Shearwaters off the water is as important as on the water. Bala SC provided the bar, food and interim entertainment and the Shearwaters started the party into the early hours courtesy of our resident DJ Rob.

Sunday dawned and more breeze greeted wary heads after last night's exuberances. AS the fleet launched, twin trapezing was defiantly on the agenda.

The fourth race for the fleet got away clean and most people hit the shoreline hard, New Flame clearly had not partied that hard and led from start to finish. Followed by Jessabelle and Crowns.

Race five, breeze slightly dropped but some of the gusts were big as they rolled down the valleys, Shear Flamboyance had another storming first beat with the rest of the fleet close behind. A close downwind and Crowns, Jessabelle and New Flame came through to the front, and held to take the win.

After a brief return to the beach for lunch and a bit of a warm-up, race six took place. New Flame sailed a really safe race and were never challenged, a real showcase in how to take a victory in shifty conditions on a big lake.

Race seven, the final of the day Airflow now took their place at the front of the fleet and lead at the windward mark. Followed by Cajensa and New Flame. On the downwind New Flame took the lead and were never threatened again. However, the rest of the places were very much up for grabs, as different options were available and taken by the fleet. At the end the normal faces took the podium places.

The fleet retuned to the beach, and it was decided fast that Monday's sailing was not going to happen with no wind. The fleet then packed up and prepared for the journey home on Monday.

A massive thanks to Bala SC for holding a brilliant event at a stunning location, we certainly will be back in the future!

Overall Results:

1st New Flame, James & Philip Gibbons
2nd Crowns, Nigel & Ruben Stuart
3rd Jessabelle, Mark Norman & Hayley Britton

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