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Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 3 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 8 May 19:40 BST 7 May 2022
Conwy Fife One Design 2022 'A' Series race 3 © Ian Bradley

Maybe, just maybe, summer has arrived?

With sun shining and a gentle NE breeze blowing, 11 Fifes decided to venture forth and continue the never ending battle for supremacy that is the 'A' series (and the Terns, but more on this later in Nature Notes, part 2). Although 12 boats are now on the moorings (with another 3 or 4 not far away from launching) Number 14 (BOMO) having produced a note from their mum excusing them games, decided to go for a sail rather than race.

Race Officer Garth and his highly polished race team selected, after much careful deliberation, course number 10 from the Boys Own Bumper Book of Beaumaris courses. With the tide heading in the direction of Menai Bridge and the first mark being Friars, followed by B6, the fleet decided that the Anglesey shore was the place to be (Born on Anglesey, stay on Anglesey, as the saying goes) and with the usual pushing and shoving the fleet got a clean start, with 34 (Tom & Paul, AKA The Carpenters), 32 (Alistair, Ioan & Guest) and 33 (Merfyn and a guest Canadian Student) showed early promise.

Meanwhile at the distance marks, 38 (Mike & Steve) had a cunning plan !! Having done several practice starts, calculated bearings and added tidal flow rates and directions into the calculations, checked their horoscopes and crossed all available fingers, they decided to take a flier from the Big island side (born on the big island, stay on the big island ?) This move surprised several of the leading boats (and it has to be said 38), when, as the fleet approached Friars bay, 38 was seen to have a clear lead (the benefit of clear air?), from 33, 32, 42(Family Booth) and 1 (Martin, Catherine and Harry).

In the light and at times extremely variable breeze the beat along the Anglesey shore was a game of snakes and ladders, with gaps closing and then opening up again dependant upon the prevailing lift or header, with the Windex and tell tales often contradicting themselves. With the tide still flowing towards Menai Bridge, judging the lay line to B8 was critical. 38 managed to ride their luck and picked up lifting breeze which saw them round first, with 33, 1 and 32 next to round. 15 (Tak and Dave) and 34, having lost the will to live decided to take a long tack towards Llanfairfechan with mixed results! 15, 29 (Vice Trigger and G) 41 (Family Yates) 34 and 39 (Gavin, Annika and Guest helm Hugo) followed around with 24 (Pippa and Mike) bringing up the rear.

The long, slow, painful run back to Hwfa saw 1 and 32 pass 33, and with the wind swinging around to a more Easterly direction what had started as a run ended up as a broad reach which allowed 1 to close on 38. Rounding Hwfa the order was 38, 1, 32, 33, 42 and the short leg to B10 saw no change. The beat back to B8 saw 1 and 32 pass 38 to begin the run back to B12, at this point the course was shortened (after, it has to be said the welcome distraction caused by Lauren and new baby occupying the line staffs attention for a while), so it was a race for the line. 1 held off 32 to take their maiden win of the season whilst 38, 33 and 42 were fighting it out for the final podium position. 42 decided to sail low and showed early promise, 33 and 38 sailed down the middle, with 33 slowly closing the gap, by the time they arrived at the line they were separated by 2 seconds, with 38 just holding on. 42 finished next followed by 15,29,41,34,39 and 24.

So 3 races so far and 3 different winners in the Fife fleet, meanwhile in the MSOD'S, Steve in number 5 continued his winning streak, taking yet another win (that's 5 on the trot) from number 9, (Henry & Stuart).

Catering on the was line provided by Val, fresh Strawberry and Cream sponge I believe !!

Nature Notes part 2

Having mentioned the Terns last week I have done some further digging (as Tak and Dave did yesterday, when they discovered the Guano mountain on Number 15).

Identifying them as Common Terns last week may have been a mistake, as Arctic Terns are very similar, the only real difference being that the Arctic Terns have shorter legs (maybe due to frostbite?) If indeed they are Arctic Terns then they have migrated all the way from Antarctica to breed and will fly back when summer ends! Rather puts the planned non stop flight from Sydney to the UK in perspective.

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