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Henri-Lloyd Fathers Day 2024

Queen Mary Sailing Club Spring Series Week 11

by Orlando Gledhill & QM 28 May 13:08 BST 27 May 2024

25 ILCAs launched for the final day of the Queen Mary Spring Series, into 8 knots from the SSE which built by start time into an unusually shifty, gusty 10-14 knots from a broadly Southerly direction. This is usually QM's steadiest direction, but was anything but steady on the day, with large persistent shifts and major pressure differences throughout the morning.

The Race Team and RO Chris Harris did a great job, making use of the full length of the reservoir and re-set the course and the start line several times before the first start to provide the best possible racing. Two 3-lap races were sailed to finish the series, each of 45-50 minutes.

Race 1

During the start sequence the pin became favoured and at start time it was hard to cross the line on starboard. Those who just managed to clear the pin and hold on for a minute or so did the best as they tacked onto the port lay line in a big left shift that lasted the rest of the beat. The top 6 windward mark placings were essentially fixed from about 3 minutes into the race, with any place changes reflecting small upwind speed differences.

Orlando had a good angle into the first windward mark as a result of the left shift and led at the mark from Gary Bullock, with series leader Tony Woods rounding in 4th.

The first run saw the fleet compress slightly as the gusts hit the boats behind first. On the second beat the leaders held on port after the mark and that beat was dominated by a major right-hand persistent shift. Tony Woods clawed his way into 2nd by the end of the second beat and closed significantly on Orlando on the very broad top reach.

Orlando and Tony had a good lead over the chasing pack by the end of the second lap and match-raced over the last lap. Orlando tacked on Tony several times, until Orlando inexplicably did not respond to Tony's tack in the last 2 minutes of the beat and almost let Tony through, just managing to tack underneath him at the last windward mark. They rounded nose-to-tail.

A luffing match ensued during the top part of the run and when Tony disengaged Orlando kept a close eye on him the whole way down the final run. It finished Orlando, Tony (those two still with a good lead), followed by Guy Noble, Marshall King and Tim Crook leading a tightly-bunched second group.

Race 2

A pin bias developed during the first start sequence as a result of a passing rain shower which led to a general recall at the first attempt. The wind went light before the next start (6-8 knots) and it was hard (for me at least) to see which side was likely to pay up the beat, with the fleet fairly well spread along the line at 1 minute 30 to go. By start time, the pin was well-favoured (left shift and pressure) and the early leaders, who included Tony Woods, tacked and crossed the fleet easily. The first beat was anything but straightforward, with large and sudden changes in strength and direction.

At one point, two-thirds of the way up the beat, boats in the middle of the course on opposite tacks were pointing almost at the mark. From my position towards the back of mid-fleet it seemed that Michael Hicks led from Chris Ellyatt at the first mark, with Tony Woods rounding in fourth, again.

The conditions meant that there was everything to play for down the run, with big gusts (now back up to 10-12 knots) helping the boats behind to gain distance, if not places.

The second beat was a little windier, but still shifty and passed in a blur of being bounced around by windshifts and other boats for anyone outside the top group. At the windward mark, Michael Hicks, who had played the right side, seemed to have a solid lead, from Tony Woods, and a chasing pack of Chris Ellyat/David Surkov led Marshall King and Orlando down the top reach.

Marshall passed the 2 heavyweights high on the reach and Orlando managed to get water on Chris at the gybe mark. At the leeward mark it was Michael Hicks still with what seemed a solid lead from Tony, then a gap to Marshall and Orlando. For most of the beat the right side seemed to pay and by the top third Michael, Orlando and Marshall were firmly favouring the right side. Tony had other ideas and was vindicated by a lefthand shift that saw him lead at the last windward mark.

From there he matched Michael's moves down the run to win the race, the day (with a very impressive 1, 2 and never out of the top 4) and the series. Orlando in 3rd just managed to hold off a fast-charging Tom Curran and Marshall King down the run.

Tony Woods' best on the day performance sealed his win of the Spring Series, with a convincing 17 points net, dropping two 4ths and two 5ths, from Orlando (20 points net), Guy Noble (31), Andrew Whitaker (54) and John Curran (55). With 49 ILCA7 entries and 20 completing at least 10 races congratulations goes to all who competed in what was a hard fought series.

Learning point

The key on the day, as so often at QM, was starting in a position to be able to take advantage of the first shift. Those who get the first shift right get a jump on the fleet and the all-important choice of lane and of when and where to tack thereafter.

Overall Results: (See also: Full results)

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12R13R14R15R16R19R20R21R22Pts
1st214610Tony Woods    1211  ‑5‑53132‑4‑42117
2nd8699Orlando Gledhill  2531  11‑15 12    1320
3rd222201Guy Noble    2432‑5‑9‑1242‑8245‑113‑731
4th219098Andrew Whittaker  42  64674216   3(DNF)  54
5th5933John Curran  56(OCS)883      4386‑10455
6th213569Marcus Bird14        1110RET11922  58
7th222316Michael Pryer‑106  7‑16OODOOD758753  ‑17‑9‑11‑1860
8th215380James Baxter8 64‑1177‑17  384‑119‑10‑12‑149‑1065
9th222558Tim Crook    (RET) 47  189  559151275
10th214415Chris Ellyatt  101153  4314     (RET)712675
11th218279David Surkov    459(RET)34‑13‑19  712‑141271376
12th194130Tom Nash  336 12988      103‑201577
13th212201Dick Soderberg      510106  12966719  90
14th215412Andy Omasta42148  1612  1012‑17(RET)  617‑22‑20101
15th220441Rafael Matarazzo67OODOOD‑1612‑18‑159RET  ‑15131311  ‑21‑17102.6
16th4560Gary Bullock  ‑1610‑13111313  21011101213  ‑14‑16105
17th222220Simon Cavey  914149115      8711DNF  115
18th183153Mike Bean      1011  19151351081613  120
19th212396Adrian Elwood751712  1918  1616    ‑2110‑2321141
20th6557Gareth Jones  181715131414  614      19 185
21st211257David Casale  12131014         141518 14220
22nd206891Ben Sharp5320RET1215          1916  221
23rd7915Marshall King  11          11  45233
24th222559Steve Pears31        11696      256
25th218433Arkadu          RET181814  22211822266
26th220777Mark Sancken2 139910              318
27th3Paul Beard      15RET        20151519326
28th209265Michael Hicks          21     138162335
29th205151Bruce Snelling  87RET     2017        347
30th217877Matthew Knight      26          88354
31st135850Neil Peters    86      84      356
32nd4609Rupert Bedell          71377      364
33rd217841Jonathan Stirling      20RET    19   2320  379
34th1870Joza Cic  716  OCS8            383
35th6367William MacDonald  1118              1311383
36th182230Harry Palmer  1915      1711        392
37th215788David Popper      1716      1415    392
38th221317Richard Gray            14     69414
39th216887Max Duggan                24222424424
40th219357Archie Duggan                25232525428
41st780Aaron Evans        22          444
42nd217179Daniel Fletcher          93        452
43rd204964Simon Sydenham            612      458
44th90#                185  463
45th217871Mark Lyttle                1DNF  468
46th177861Alison Stevens  1519                474
47th211165S Craig                  1723480

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