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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 - Day 4

by David Harding 1 Sep 2022 06:11 BST 28 August - 2 September 2022

A different sort of same again

The second half of Poole Week started with the wind pretty much as it had been for the first half: a shifty north-easterly that occasionally swung round to the south east and kept everyone on their toes.

It was generally stronger for longer on Wednesday, though. Bands of pressure would move somewhat erratically across the harbour, sometimes lasting for 10 minutes or so and giving the crews of the trapeze boats an opportunity to stretch their legs.

For the Flying Fifteens it was a jumpy start in the Top Triangle. After a first general recall they were moved to the back of the sequences, behind the RS200s and ILCAs, only to put in a repeat performance at the second attempt. The black flag had to be broken out before they started cleanly, third time around. Eventually they were led home by Richard Whitworth who, with young Eddie Scroggie at the sharp end, leads the overall standings by a couple of points from Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts.

The winner of Monday's round-the-islands race, Jon Gorringe, is better known in Merlin Rocket circles but has borrowed a Fifteen for the week. Crewed by Kelly Aaron, he's currently sitting in third place after a 2nd and a 3rd on Wednesday.

The big story was when a boat from the middle of the fleet won the second race. Graham Davies and Homfray Vines spotted a shift to the right half-way up the first beat, rounded the windward mark in the lead, extended on the first reach and kept Richard Whitworth behind them all the way to the final mark. It was there that they indulged in a spot of spinnaker-trawling, managing to recover it up the short beat to the finish just in time to sneak over the line in front.

In some of the other fleets, the pace-setters of the week had poor races by their standards. In most cases they were able to count them as discards and maintain their positions. James Williams and Sarah Tuppen had a last-race 4th in the RS200s but still lead overall by eight points from Ben Whalley and Emma Hartley. Then again, Whalley and Hartley didn't sail on Tuesday, so are counting two DNCs.

Oliver Allen-Wilcox had his two worst results in the ILCA 6s (Laser Radials) on Wednesday - a 5th and a 4th - and is still five points clear at the top. Another front-runner to count a 5th was Hywel Roberts in the ILCA 7s (full-rig Lasers). Alan Davis won that race having finished a discarded 7th in the first.

Similarly, the top two Wayfarers were able to discard their last-race results, Sean and Helen Murray finishing 6th, two places behind Jackie Dobson and Dave Mitchell. Conditions were so unpredictable out there that even the front-runners couldn't do much about it when the wind simply vanished around them and moved elsewhere, or gave them an enormous header while allowing other boats to lay the mark without tacking.

Willie McNeill proved that when he finished 5th in the last race of the XODs having won the first. He's still in the lead overall by 14 points.

Duncan Glen, who has been leading the Slow Handicap fleet in his Byte C11, scored a 2nd and a discarded 3rd to maintain his lead over Nigel Pearce's Fusion. Both Glen and Pearce are sailing small single-handers this week, but both have form in other classes going back many years.

Despite the extraordinarily fluky conditions, in a few of the other fleets it was business as usual. Peter Stacey and Suzie Clayton recorded their fifth and sixth wins in the Darts. Suzie's father, Nigel Yeoman, led the Dolphins home yet again to discard Tuesday's 2nd place, which was brought about only by a misinterpretation of the finish line. And Steve and Ally Tyler in their Merlin Rocket notched up their sixth and seventh wins in the fast handicap fleet, despite being pushed hard at times by Nick Scroggie and Mimi Gorringe, also in a Merlin Rocket, who finished 2nd in both races.

There's still plenty of racing to come and it will be intriguing to see what happens on the unpredictable waters of Poole Harbour over the next two days.

To find out more, including provisional results, visit

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