Junior championship Autumn - reporting from Escort Afloat.
Published 01:00 on 15 Sep 2023
A strange start to the first days racing; arriving at the club at daybreak, more dark than light, pouring with rain and unable to see the sailing area.
As the light came in, a nice Northerly 8 knot breeze; once afloat on Escort we had to bail out the copious volume of rainwater from the bilge before starting the engine and steam out to the sailing area, make a swift change to the intended planned course as the wind carried more easterly than forecast.
The first race was under way a few minutes late, in the 8-10 knot breeze with the rain still falling. The Open fleet setting the tone for the day with the Johnny taking line honours by just 1 second over Conor in 2nd. The pairing of Felix & Matthew beating the 'Sister duo' of Olivia & Georgina, who were experiencing rig issues. In the 10 strong Tera fleet, Ella in the Pro was first to cross the line, but with the handicap adjustment Ben was leading by just 15 seconds. The Oppi fleet of just 2 boats was won by Jack.
For race 2, the Open fleet saw close racing around the course, Ruthie in the Laser 4.7 came to the front on handicap with Conor again in 2nd. The 'Sister duo' in the Feva taking a win over the Felix / Matthew pairing, making one apiece before the final race of the day.
With the Tera fleet it was a repeat performance race 1; a win for Ben and 2nd for Ella. In the Oppi, Rory again took the win with Jack closer this race just 11 seconds behind.
The final race of the day continued the close racing throughout, the most notable of which was the match racing between the two Feva's from start to finish, line honours went to the 'Sister duo' of Olivia & Georgina beating Felix and Matthew, by just 1 second.
And finally, if there was an award for perseverance, this would be awarded to Anna in the Tera, who despite being left behind in all races kept on going each race to get a finish. Well done Anna.
At close of todays racing, our leaders are; Open - Ruthie, Feva - Olivia & Georgina, Tera - Ben, Opi - Rory, Novice - Oliver.
Despite the rain a great day aboard Escort, thank you team. Time to dry out for tomorrow!
Day 2, looked promising with 12 - 16 Westerly breeze; sadly this was not to be as the wind dropped to 6 - 8, occasionally 10. Well at least the sun came out today!
With race 1 underway, the Open fleet kept it tight most of the way around the course, only Oscar able to edge ahead to build a good lead. In the Feva, the 'Sister duo' of Olivia & Georgina continuing yesterdays winning way and took the first win of the day over Felix and Matthew, but by just a small margin. In the Tera's, Ella sailing the Pro just edged out Emma by 2 seconds, in the first of the Tera Sports. In the Oppi, Jack held Rory off by 8 seconds for the first win of the day.
Race 2, with the course shortened a little due to falling breeze; Ollie a little too keen to start, started a little too early his port end flier only to be over the line, causing mayhem for those who tried to follow. As the start shennigans shook out, Oscar again took the Open fleet lead, closely followed by Johnny, making Oscar work hard to retain his lead, whilst Ruthie quietly kept pace in the background. Our race winner again Oscar, with Ruthie pulling thru to 2nd on handicap, Johnny third, Ollie dumped to 5th from his disastrous start. Wilbur and max in the 420 still not getting a look in. In the Feva fleet, it was Felix and Matthew's time, with a solid minute plus lead over 2nd, their arch nemesis, the 'Sister duo', trailing in 3rd. The Oppi's won by Rory.
At some point during race 2, the biscuit fairy did the rounds, all boats getting a choky biscuit. Thank you biscuit fairy!
With the start line reset to deter the port end fliers, race 3 got underway; Issac fancied his chances, making a good port end flier, it looked like he'd cross the fleet, only to be caught by the quicker Tera Pro of Ella on starboard, otherwise he's have cleared the fleet and been away.
The Open fleet battles continued, on the last lap those who took right side of the beat, in the falling breeze lost out. A good puff on the right of the course saw the 420 of Wilbur and Max with kite up make some good gains, rewarded by a 3rd at the finish. In the Feva; Felix and Matthew led the way from start to finish, the 'Sister duo' who caught the worst of the falling breeze up the right of the beat. In the Tera fleet, it was Noah's time to shine in the spotlight with a 1st, with Ella just seconds away in 2nd. For the Oppi's, Rory again with the win, Jack close behind.
Day two ends, the leaders remain as; Open - Ruthie, a point ahead of Johnny. The Feva's, tied on 5 points, Felix and Matthew taking the lead from Olivia & Georgina, Tera - Ella, Oppi - Rory and Novice - Oliver. Tomorrow's forecast another light one.
I rocked up at the club to prepare for the today racing, only to be met with a moody sky and not a breath of wind.
The weather forecasters could not agree, some with Westerly 6 knots, another 14 -17 knots. The race team delayed going afloat, the fleet held on the Terrace; the race team frequently checking Weather Apps and forecasts looking for a glimmer of hope for the breeze to fill in; finally, with Windycator showing lots of 0's scattered across the Solent, Cambermet still as well, the call was made to abandon the days racing.
A sad end to the last of the Junior Championships for this season, but we had managed to fit in 6 races on the first two days, offering the 26 entries on day 1 and 29 on day 2, some racing and a good time afloat.
As Race Officer Afloat, I'd like to thank all the race team for their support, spreading the load and making the event run smoothly.
To the competitors, as race officer, again thank you all for making it such a joy to run. See you all on the start line next season.