Gale force wind of over 120km/h, heavy rain and flooding were forecasted for that
Sunday. All the emergency services were put on standby with sand bags laid out on
a number of sea fronts in plan for potential flooding.
The big question was the timing of this new front which generated some debate. As
we got closer to the day it seemed that the front was not going to hit our coasts
until the evening so the Championships was on.
Due to various personal reasons and to this adverse weather forecast only 6 skippers
turned out on the day. A bit chilly at first but it was dry and with light wind we
completed all our 12 scheduled races. 4 Short of our usual numbers but it was the
best option for the day considering the weather forecast. It allowed Gilbert to drive
back home to Dublin in time before the storm hit.
The wind was light and we all raced all day with the top rig. Light and shifty conditions
made for intense racing with no clear winner. The leaders often changing during most
races and with comparable boat speed tactics and fine boat tuning were key to get
an edge for each race. What made for even better racing was that the line often
had a port favoured end, which spread the fleet on the line but made the tactical
choice for the start critical.
It seems that there was a slight port end lift with even more pressure at time, favouring
the port side but this proved to be a risky choice as strangely enough there was
a chance to get a starboard lift from the right side, making the crossing coming
to the mark rather interesting, particularly on the first leg as the start was half
way up the beat so the distance to spread the fleet was too short.
Also interesting was the leeward mark rounding as most boats on the run coming to
the leeward mark came on starboard, boats ahead which rounded the mark, exited on
port and with often a slight lift we had situation where the lead boats pointed head
on towards the other boats running down on starboard.
We had the usual windward / leeward course with the start/finish in the middle of
the beat. 2 laps which for few of us either too short to come back or too long to
remain in the lead. There was no comfy lead at any race.
John and Andrew had a tough start getting entangled at the start of the first race,
resulting in a tear on John’s jib. But leaving a chance for the others to get a head
start. A chance Oscar (our youngest skipper) took full advantage of by winning the
John had further pointing problems but he was never out of contention, Andrew didn’t
seem to be dominating the downwind runs as he used to and Gilbert paid the price
for his little time on the water in the past few months and it took him c3 races
to get his boat up to speed. As for Oscar he was always there, making the most of
the RRS to move and stay at the front. Alan struggled a bit with his pace but still
won 1 race and was never out of contention. Richard is still learning and decided
to keep clear from other boats to avoid becoming entangled and get the most from
this event to gain experience.
I have to say that I can’t remember the last event when there was no one clearly
dominating the day. Throughout the whole day we all thought it was someone else leading
and it was nail biting time when I was asked to enter the results in to see who got
the title. And it could hardly be closer : there was only 2 points separating the
top 4 skippers.
What a day !!!