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CoastWaterSports 2014

Comet open meeting at Carsington Sailing Club

by Eddie Pope & Chris Robinson 16 Jun 17:34 BST 9 June 2024
A windy Comet open meeting at Carsington © Roger Doyle

Seven intrepid souls decided to tackle the strong wind forecast at the Carsington Comet Open on 9th June 2024. It was a day where rig choices came into play. Andy Dale, Ben Palmer and Chris Robinson opted for the full Standard, Eddie Pope the Mylar Xtra, Alastair Stagg the White Xtra, and Jackie Stagg & Meg Warren the reefable White Xtra.

Carsington is a huge reservoir and the courses have much longer legs than we experience at our usual venues. We tested the Comet's top speed, there were waves, spray up to head height on the reaches, tricky gybes and unstable runs!

Race Officer Alf Hawksworth asked whether we wanted 3 or 4 races. We decided to see how we got on with the two back-to-back races in the morning before telling him.

The wind ashore was deceptive, because we were sheltered by the clubhouse with an offshore breeze. We were assured that there was plenty of wind out on the race course. We launched with some trepidation, but at the start the race conditions were OK. Jackie and Meg did not reef.

However, the wind rose with some strong gusts as the race progressed, and Jackie & Meg did not finish. Chris sailed very fast up the first beat and extended his lead down the runs until the gybe mark, where he capsized as a big gust arrived at the same time as his gybe. Eddie sailed outside Chris and managed his gybe. Eddie was not in the lead for long before Ben overtook him. On the final run Eddie managed to get past Ben, but Ben in turn overtook Eddie on the following reach and led to the finish, while Chris caught Andy to get into third place.

It was a close finish for second to fourth between Eddie, Chris and Andy. Eddie and Chris followed Ben to the pin end of the finish line, but Andy spotted that the Committee boat end was closer and headed in that direction. However, he was unable to gain enough to catch Eddie or Chris and the places were unchanged. The wind was varying between force 4 and 6. There were also big shifts, especially approaching the windward mark.

The wind then went up another notch. Meg decided not to start the second race, but Jackie came out with her sail reefed. Chris was first to the windward mark again, but this time he was caught by Ben on the downwind legs. They both chose to gybe on the run rather than at the wing mark, and both stayed upright. The final reach to the leeward mark was tight, but it was just possible to plane flat out while sitting right out.

Upwind the Standard rigs were prone to going into irons in these conditions. First Ben went into irons and filled the boat up with water and dropped back. Then Chris went into irons too. This left Alistair in the lead followed by Eddie and Andy. Chris retired with boat worries. Alastair won and Eddie was second, followed by Ben.

It was an easy decision to let Alf know that we only wanted one race in the afternoon. Andy and Jackie along with Chris did not launch, but brave Meg came out to play in reefed mode. Alastair, Ben and Eddie could all win overall, and they all took turns in the lead in an epic final race, with just yards between them much of the time.

Alastair death-rolled on the second lap's run, but after recovery started to catch up Ben and Eddie.

After two laps Eddie was leading, but was disappointed when Alf sent us on a third lap. Ben got through Eddie on the final beat and led to the finish, thereby winning the event. Eddie and Alistair were tied on points, but Alistair's win in race two broke the tie in his favour, giving him second and Eddie third.

Ashore Chris was asking "where is Meg?" Eventually she appeared in the rescue boat.

Having missed out a mark she capsized while trying to understand the instructions from the Committee boat. While she went to warm up in the shower another rescue boat bought her boat in, but only as far as a mooring buoy as it had to rush back out to monitor the club racing. Eventually a rescue boat had some spare time to bring the boat ashore.

We won't forget this day in a hurry! In his opening address the Commodore invited us back next year. Can't wait!

Overall Results:

PosRigSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1Standard597Ben PalmerBaltic Wharf SC1‑312
2White Xtra579Alastair StaggBowmoor SC‑5134
3Xtra377Edwin PopeOgston SC‑2224
4Standard788Andy DaleEyott SC44(DNC)8
5Standard867Chris RobinsonBurghfield SC3(DNF)DNC12
6Reefing White Xtra894Jacky StaggBowmoor SC(DNF)5DNC14
7Reefing White Xtra174Meg WarrenChipstead SC(DNF)DNCDNF18
7Unknown126Alan BennettStaunton Harold SC(DNC)DNCDNC18

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