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Medway RC Laser Club Winter Series at Barton's Point Coastal Park - Week 5

by Jamie Blair 18 Jan 09:59 GMT 14 January 2024

This bright blue sky morning saw 9 boats make ready for the 5th round of The Medway RC Winter Series.

Gremlins blighted two boats with one not making the water. A swift rudder servo change for boat 51 along with a reconfiguration of the pseudo Sail GP reaching start course to a triangle sausage. This following the wind veering to NW led to a short postponement for the first start. This right shift put the windward mark up the creek to the right of the café and launch are giving the prospect of a shifty beat. There was a discussion on rig size (wind 6-10 knots) with the fleet divided over A or B rig. The gamble of A rig paid off with Mark Penny (03) buoyant from last weeks race wins made best progress in Race 1 and lead from Tony Alexander (04) and Jon Moon (84) at the first mark and despite different tactics up the second beat Mark took the win.

Race 2 saw most of the fleet adopt the A rig, evening up the boat speed. Wind speed up and down; some hairy moments on the downwind but with Jamie Blair (51) starting from the middle of the line and spotting a number of shifts up the first beat lead the fleet for the whole race. Some congestion at the windward mark with a number of boats approaching on the port lay line. A few contacts but penalties taken. Roger Gibb came away from the mark clear of the chasing fleet having opted for the more conventional starboard lay line entry and kept this second place to the finish.

Race 3 saw Jamie again find the shifts up the first beat to lead but Mark was close on his heels. Some more nosediving but the gusts were infrequent making the A rig still the rig of choice. Indeed, wind from behind often compressed the fleet, creating opportunities for the overtake. Leeward mark round was often to the cry of "Room."

Race 4 was as close as previous with a new leader in Tony and a well earned second place for Spencer Pope (62). Places lost as penalties taken allowed the results to jumble.

Race 5 and to the front sailed Jon Moon (84) with the consistent Mark counting a second. Perseverance by Andrew Nicholls (613) scoring a fourth place.

At this stage of the racing Mark was leading overall but with just 4 points splitting 1st to 4th all to play for.

Race 6 with Lucian Stone (75) in his first outing this year was finding his feet and scored a second, just behind Jamie. Roger another good third place to count. Helms were reading the shift better, but you still had to be on the right side to benefit!

Rave 7 going to the break saw the quick boat 51 take the win, Tony second and Andrew 3rd. At the break Jamie on top of the leader board and Mark second.

There must have been something in the coffee as Jamie took the next 4 races. Even a port tack flyer attempt that only just failed with a slam dunk under the lead boat and a squeeze to windward didn't hold him back. Race 9 was almost an upset with Lucian leading into the last mark, but a wide rounding allowed Jamie to pounce and steal the win. Mark's position overall had changed with Tony and Jon posting top results. Race 10 also saw another great race for Andrew with a second to count.

Mark had suffered boat failure in Race 10 and missed Race 11. Lucian had certainly pulled things together with top three places in race up to Race 11. He continued his advance with race wind in Races 12 & 13, close on his heels Tony and Jamie.

Race 12 saw Jon call for "Water to Tack" on the first beat when close to the shore only to find in the next breath an underwater obstruction acting like an anchor. No amount of rudder use or boat heel allowed an escape. Rescue was on hand, but the fleet had gone.

Going into the last race Tony and Lucian were close on points so both need good results. Tony was positioned well at the start and fought off all challenges to record another bullet. Lucian found his boat stifled by the pack.

A number of race winners over the 14 races. Jamie won the day; Tony second, Lucian third and Jon fourth. Another cold day but soothed a little by light winds - A rig.

Our next Sunday racing is scheduled for the 21st January.

Week 5 Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12R13R14Pts
1st51Jamie Blair‑411‑4311111132218
2nd4Tony Alexander2441‑6‑62265225136
3rd75Lucian Stone6(DNF)3772‑8323311543
4th84Jon Moon35631‑744345‑84345
5th3Mark Penny132824754(DNF)(DNS)73652
6th613Andrew Nicholls5‑7‑76453752447456
7th32Roger Gibb(DNF)2555366‑86656863
8th62Spencer Pope76‑828(DNF)5877768778

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