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Comet Open at Merthyr Tydfil Sailing Club

by Mark Govier 8 Sep 2022 10:05 BST 4 September 2022

The forecast was for stronger winds from the south with occasional showers. When I left home in Cardiff to head north to the club, the wind was rather gusty. I was surprised as we headed north and inland that the wind strength seemed to reduce.

Thankfully we only had one significant shower and the stronger gusts generally stayed away. But we did have a good strong (f3 to f4+) southerly wind which is straight up the reservoir and ideal for setting a great windward leeward course. We had a relatively low turnout for our event with just seven entrants this year including three visitors; maybe the forecast kept people away after such a lovely summer. However, for those who came we enjoyed some exhilarating racing and some spectacular capsizes.

Race 1

The wind was strong from the south. So, a course was set, 1, 6, 2, 7, 10, Line. The briefing held and everyone launched.

The wind remained strong for the start and first away from the line was Ben Palmer (597, Baltic Wharf SC) fractionally ahead of Chris Robinson (867, Burghfield SC). Alun Bevan (694, Merthyr Tydfil SC) followed close behind. As the beat progressed the front two pulled ahead slightly and Robert Wookey (165, Merthyr Tydfil) overtook Alun to gain third place. There was an exciting flat out planning reach before the downwind legs began. Comets are "fun" downwind in a blow, needing careful trim and balance. There were a few capsizes. Chris and Ben fought over the first two places for the four laps, but Ben stayed ahead to take first, followed by Chris and then Robert in third.

The boats then all returned to shore for a lunch break.

After lunch the course was reset to be 1, 6, 10 (moved up slightly), Line. This gave a course with fewer gybes and hopefully fewer capsizes.

Race 2

This time Alun Bevan got away from the line first as behind him there was an incident at the outer mark. By the end of the first lap Ben Palmer had overtaken Alun and Chris was on his heels. This race was "exciting", with the wind rather strong in the middle, as a squally shower passed overhead resulting in significant waves. By the fourth lap Chris had caught up with ben and at the end of this managed to squeeze ahead for a win. Ben second and Robert Wookey in third.

The fleet stayed out on the water to enable a back-to-back race over the same course as the wind was steady at this time.

Race 3

There were only four starters for the final race of the afternoon and the start got away with no incident this time. The fact that positions recorded for each lap were constant hides the fact that Ben and Chris were battling hard for the front spot as they both had a first and second from the earlier races. But in the end, after four hard, fast laps in the strong wind that resulted in some exciting planning reaches and runs, and capsizes in the lovely warm water. Chris crossed the line ahead of Ben by a few seconds, followed a little while later by Mark Govier (460, Merthyr Tydfil SC) and Alun Bevan.

Congratulations to Chris for a hard-fought win in strong wind conditions.

Tea and cakes were then enjoyed by all in the recently refurbished clubhouse.

Thanks go out to the organisers, caterers, and safety boat crew and all who helped at the club on the day and earlier.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1867Chris RobinsonBurghfield2112
2597Ben PalmerBaltic Wharf1223
3165Robert WookeyMerthyr Tydfil Sailing Club33RET6
4460Mark GovierMerthyr Tydfil Sailing Club4537
5420Alun BevanMerthyr Tydfil Sailing Club5448
6426Andrew WilliamsMerthyr Tydfil Sailing Club6RTDDNS13
7800Henry JaggersBeer SCRTDDNSDNS14

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