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Comet Open at Silver Wing Sailing Club

by Adam Wickenden, Ken Baker & Helen Evans 14 Sep 2022 10:38 BST 10 September 2022
Silver Wing Comet Open © Phil Bergquist

Silver Wing SC held their inaugural Comet open meeting on Saturday 10th September. We contested the newly re-purposed 'Comet Trophy'. Originally used as an inter-club Fireball trophy back when Silver Wing was British European Airways' works club. We think it is part of an old propeller from a de Haviland Heron. It is probably heavy enough to sink a Comet.

12 boats, including 4 from the home fleet of 5, showed up to a gentle North West wind and rather a lot of weed. The weed was somewhat a nuisance, limiting course options for the race officer as a large chunk of the leeward side of the lake being un-usable.

Four 40-minute races were planned with one discard, two before and two after lunch, each pair back-to-back.

Race one got away on time, slightly more starboard bias on the line than the RO would have liked, but everyone behaved. The first beats saw an initial good performance by a Silver Wing Solo sailor (who shall remain un-named) sailing a borrowed Comet. Unfortunately, in a Solo you can easily tell if you have forgotten to put the transom bung in while sailing - you can see it. Not so in a Comet. I have seen swamped Salcombe Yawls floating lower in the water, but only just! We had the rescue boat escort him back to the slipway just in case.

The lead boat then peeled of after the first lap. The first 3 boats then promptly forgot to use the windward mark of the second beat and headed instead for the gybe mark. They corrected this error without any loss of position.

One or two people struggled with the weed initially, but with a half up rudder and the occasional lifting of the daggerboard if the boat felt dead, the intrepid Comet sailors overcame adversity. Eddie Pope in 377 won ahead of Izac Dodds in 701 and then local sailor Ken Baker in 695 third.

Race 2 started as soon as the last boat was finished and ready. Helen Evans in 868 spotted that the wind was starting to shift right as predicted. This had her well placed for most of the first beat. However, shifts and a hole at the windward mark enabled Ken Baker in 695 to lead a couple of visitors round in front of her. Ken was able to hold two pursuers off for the first run, and was only pipped int 4th by Ben Palmer in 597 on the finish line. Eddie Pope finished first again, followed by Izac Dodds.

After this we convened for lunch. The Comet fleet are a keen bunch. The wind had been steadily shifting to the right so a re-setting of the course was required. They were all on the water and at the start line before the RO even had the chance to go back in and draw the new course on the board! Fortunately, the race team displayed mark numbers for the new course on the back of the committee boat and there was a eager crew in a Jaffa waiting to lead the fleet around.

Race 3 started with the line now biased a bit too much to port. The wind had swung back a bit - such is a race officer's lot! One competitor got a flying start right at the pin, only a mainsheet width from being over. Izac Dodds was second with Ken Baker in third. Steve Gregory in 231 was able to follow the lead bunch in fourth for the first two of the three laps, but ended up dropping to 6th on the last lap.

Race 4 started is a little less wind and 8 competitors. It also saw a change of scene at the front. Ben Palmer in 597 led for most of the race, sometimes by quite a big margin, although he was reeled in towards the end by Izac Dodds. Ken Baker in 695 was second for the first and most of the second lap but was passed on the penultimate beat by Izac Dodds. Eddie Pope could only manage a fourth, which was to be his discard. With 35 minutes gone the RO decided to finish on two laps as it looked like the wind would die. At which point, the wind filled in nicely! Still there was the consolation of a big Comet chocolate cake and scones for afternoon tea.

Further photos taken by Phil Bergquist can be found here...

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubRigR1R2R3R4Pts
1st377Eddie PopeOgston SCWhite Xtra d112‑44
2nd701Izac DoddsCMYCStandard‑22125
3rd597Ben PalmerBaltic Wharf SCStandard‑53418
4th695Ken BakerSilverwing SCWhite Xtra3‑4339
5th323Michael EttershankUp River Yacht ClubStandard455‑614
6th231Steve GregoryFrensham Pond SCWhite Xtra‑986519
7th868Helen EvansSilverwing SCWhite Xtra7‑97721
8th849Timothy HiggsBurghfield SCWhite Xtra‑878823
9th400John SturgeonHawley Lake SCWhite Xtra66(RET)DNC25
10th300Peter PhillipsSWSCXtra(RET)10RETDNC36
11th869Bob DoddsCMYCWhite Xtra(RET)DNCDNCDNC39
11th220Clive RogersSilverwing SCXtra(DNC)DNCDNSDNC39

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