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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 - Overall

by David Harding 3 Sep 20:07 BST 28 August - 2 September 2022

Friday was a glorious day to bring the 74th Poole Week to a close. Even when the sun wasn't actually shining, the weather was still warm and bright, and there was enough wind for all the fleets to sail up to two races as scheduled.

Of course there were plenty of 'if only' stories from competitors who found themselves on the wrong side of the wind-shifts all week. Someone up there in the clouds was having fun, scattering catspaws around the harbour like confetti and seeing who made the best of them.

For the race officers - Bob Jennings on the Parkstone Platform and Fiona Linford on the committee boat in the Top Triangle - conditions were somewhat testing. Setting a course when the wind is swinging randomly back and forth through 100 degrees is a challenge in anyone's books, but somehow they managed to get the fleets away and nearly always set a surprisingly true first windward leg.

What happened later in the race was beyond their control - when, as on Friday for example, the wind swung massively to the right in the Top Triangle and turned the windward/leeward course (set for all the fleets) into a one-hit beat and a reach.

Those who chose to go right up the third beat tacked on a massive header and laid the windward mark in one, while those on the left never recovered. Crispin Read Wilson and Steve Brown - always among the contenders for overall honours in the Flying Fifteens - went right and moved up from mid-fleet to take the gun. Andy and Agnes Clark had been on the outside of a massive raft-up at the first leeward mark and were seemingly destined for a result that would be best forgotten, but they hit the right and pulled through to second.

It was a different story for Ann and John Keats, who had been looking promising in second and would rather forget the rest.

Richard Whitworth and Eddie Scroggie didn't sail on Friday but still won the Flying Fifteens overall by one point from Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts. But for a UFD and a BFD (over-eagnerness at the starts, in layman's terms), Jon Gorringe and Kelly Aaron might well have finished higher than their 4th overall, though they did well only to drop to third in Friday's first race having been leading before the wind-shift.

Undoubtedly the most delighted race-winner on Friday was Emma Hartley. Emma's helm in the RS200s, Ben Whalley, hadn't been able to sail on Thursday or Friday. Peter Loretto, without a Friday crew himself, handed the helm to Emma who brought them home in first place to record her first-ever race win in Friday's first race. That's a lot of firsts.

In his capacity as chairman of Poole Week's organising committee, Loretto had had more than enough to think about in the run-up to the event - and for many months before - so finishing second overall in the 200s was a very pleasing result.

At the same time on the same race course on Friday, Emma Hartley's mother, Roberta, was doing what she had been doing all week in the ILCA 6s (Laser Radials). Finishing 4th overall, she proved that a mother-of-two can mix it with the squad-trained youth that, almost inevitably and with clinical, clockwork efficiency, dominated the fleet.

In the more colourful and characterful classes racing from the Parkstone Platform, most of the overnight leaders secured their positions and most of those who hadn't needed to sail still did. Willie McNeill left the race course to the other XODs, however, and it was Eric Williams from Lymington - sailing in his 25th Poole Week - who followed up his second-race win on Thursday with another in the final race to finish third overall behind McNeill and David Law.

The XODs were among the fleets, along with the Darts and Dolphins, in which the helm was handed over to the crew for the second race, and again it was the red boat from Lymington that came home first.

In the Dolphins, Richard Whing and Gail Davies had been pushing Nigel Yeoman hard in the first race. They didn't have Yeoman's boat to battle with in the crew's race, but won convincingly.

Steve and Ally Tyler had no need to sail on Friday, having already won the fast handicap class in their Merlin Rocket. They still sailed even though, as Parkstone Yacht Club's sailing secretary, Steve had plenty of other things to be doing. In fact there were three generations of the Tyler family racing in Poole Week, with Steve and Ally's daughter Katie sailing an RS200 and Steve's father Paul winning the Cornish Shrimpers.

There are many, many more stories to tell, but that was Poole Week 2022. A week when a Salcombe Yawl was seen in Poole Harbour - possibly for the first time ever, and usually with a Byte in close attendance. A week when the wind didn't make life easy, but that's part of the challenge of racing. And when the Lancaster Bomber from the Bournemouth Air Festival did a couple of loops right over the harbour during Friday's second race.

Perhaps the pilot wanted a second look at the Dolphins, Shrimpers and XODs on their beat to the finish.

Most importantly, Bournemouth Digital have confirmed their support as title sponsor for the 75th Poole Week, in 2023. So too have Hall and Woodhouse, so there will be beer too. Everyone's looking forward to it already.

Provisional results on www.parkstoneyachtclub.com
More photos on www.SailingScenes.com

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