Winter Series is Go

So, Lockdown 2.0 ended. The dinghies tried and as usual the weather gods ensured they failed, and so it turned to the Keel Boats and Squibs to restart the delayed winter sailing at Weymouth Sailing Club.

Those who live north of Portland woke up to be greeted with a cold and frosty Sunday morning. Sometimes this would have put a few off, but after 4 weeks without sailing, there was a childish excitement among the cove pontoons on the morning of Sunday 6th December 2020, and no one even noticed the fickle NNE blowing, and it was only just above freezing. We all just wanted to go sailing!

10:30 and the race course was set in the oscillating breeze. The IRC 3 boats beating right in to Chemmers from T, and the IRC 4 and 5 boats and the Squibs set a beat to H. All on a triangle-Sausage course, and all hoping the 10-12 knots that had just filled in was here to stay.

10:40 and the IRC3 start. Oh dear, the wind had swung hard left under one of the many clouds floating in from Bowleaze and dropped to 3-4 knots with about a minute to go, making it difficult to cross the line on starboard. Jo 90 and Jura were quickest to react, tacking to port on the gun in the middle of the line and sailed off in to some clear air. Bewitched was perfectly place to do the same near the committee boat end, but someone forgot to sheet in the main, and they sailed off on a reach down the line. The third boat to cross the line was Passion some 38 seconds later. All this you would think was being observed by the IRC 4-5 fleet and they would all start heading for the pin. Well 5 minutes later and only boat to have spotted this was the J24 Suspicion, who had not only hit the pin, but spotted the new breeze filling in on the left and sailed off in to the distance. I think everyone else were still warming their hand with their morning coffee.

Luckily the squibs are a bit more observant, and for their start most of the fleet came off the line on a port flyer, with guest helm Emma Stevenson in Iceni Rebel showing everyone how to start properly. Though Patrick in Inquisition had also seen something up the other side of the beat, and headed right from the committee boat. Would this gamble pay off later I hear you say!

This was not a day where the race was won or lost on the start. With the wind blowing into the bay from Bowleaze, there is always a slight unpredictability in which shift to take heading into the corner, and where will the wind fill in from next. Add into the mix some apparent rusty boat handling skills and todays racing was anyone’s to win.

After some close boat racing in all the classes, in IRC3 Jo 90 took the race win ahead of Jura. In IRC 4-5 Suspicion took the predicted win 2 minutes 9 ahead of Effusion, who didn’t cross the start line until 2 minutes 30 after the gun. Humm!

In the Squibs, Emma showed her skills and took the win in Iceni rebel, followed by a great sail from Patrick in Inquisition.

At the end of the day there appeared to be smiles across all faces back in the Cove, and everyone keen to do it all again next week.

Many of you may have spotted the rib flying around during the morning. I managed to get some film footage from the day, and have put together some clips and photos in the links below.

Gavin Poulloin.

Submitted on 8th December 2020