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33rd Pompey Perisher at Portsmouth Sailing Club Report

by Eddie Mays 5 Feb 2002 11:56 GMT

The Pompey Perisher was the brainchild of Don Metcalf to help Portsmouth Sailing Club celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 1970. Don was for many years the organiser and Principal Race Officer. Sadly he died last year. The club decided to dedicate this year’s race to his memory with all the profits going to his favourite charity, the R.N.L.I.

Originally scheduled to be sailed on Sunday, 20th February the race had to be postponed for a fortnight due to gale force winds. The continuing pattern of gales of the past few weeks again left the Race Officers with a difficult decision. Certainly if the weather of last Saturday had continued overnight the race would have had to be abandoned. However on Sunday morning the sea was much calmer and the wind had steadied to SSW at about 15 kts with occasional gusts of 25 kts.

Many of the original 67 entries must have decided that the weather was not going to moderate in time because only 19 boats arrived at the starting area. This year there were two classes, asymmetrical & monohull. Course setter, Nigel Sefton-Smith, gave them a trapezoidal port-hand course with a short downwind leg and a spectacular reach back into the bottom mark near the entrance of Portsmouth harbour.

Barrie Eddington & Roz Allen sailing an RS800, No. 815, were first away in the asymmetric class. They went out to the lefthand side of the beat and were comfortably ahead by the windward mark. They steadily increased this lead and were far enough ahead to win the class on handicap. Behind them Russell Mead & Steve Simmonds in the Laser 4000, No. 4505, had got ahead of Dan Vincent & Adrian Lynham sailing an RS400, No. 980, on the first three legs. However Vincent & Lynham sailed a much higher line on the reach back to the bottom mark and almost caught the Laser 4000. The rest of the class experienced various troubles, mainly when trying to gybe at the bottom of the run and the only other finisher was the Laser 5000 of Iain & Matthew Lewis.

The Monohull fleet started on time at 11:10 and had to complete four rounds of the course. First away, and very close together, were the two Merlins of Graham & Nick Scroggie, 3553, and Andy Dalby & Philly Factor, 3474. It didn’t take long before Toby Dale & James Cole in the FD, No. 382, had powered past. The FD kept the lead until the gybe mark near the Sand Spit fort where a prolonged capsize caused them to retire. This left the way open for the Scroggies to take the lead. Behind them the main challenge came from Nick Rawlings in RS600, No. 919, who recovered from an early capsize but could not catch the Merlin before the race was shortened by one round.

Speaking later Richard Hills, Portsmouth S.C.’s Commodore, thanked all the people who had contributed to the organisation of the race and, whilst disappointed at the number of competitors that had sailed this year, hoped that more dinghy sailors would continue to support this challenging event next year.

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