On the 30th April 2016 a good fleet of 13 D-Zero’s gathered at Hunts SC. The forecast looked light but OK in complete contrast to last year where the winds were best described as variable.
After a welcoming breakfast of bacon rolls with free tea and coffee and the usual D-Zero banter thoughts turned to racing. 3 of the local fleet could not sail for various reasons and generously leant their boats out to ensure a 100% turnout of local boats even if the usual people were not in them. Several question were also in the air. Could Rob Lennox carry on his winning form after he won the Emsworth Open the previous weekend? Could local sailor Jon Cowper make it a double after winning the Open the previous year? Could Ian Morgan manage to sail the right course and show his speed this year? Could the lighter sailors show the heavier ones a clean pair of heels in what was looking to be a light wind meeting?
The fleet launched eagerly anticipating the day of racing ahead.
Race 1 was held in a fluctuating breeze that tried the race teams patience and resolve before the start. After a short delay we decided that average wind direction was good for the course and started the sequence.
The fleet got away and there was not much to choose between them. Ian Morgan rounded the windward first and looked to be getting away with the rest of the fleet sailing into a lighter patch. However on the next beat Jon Cowper used his local knowledge to overhaul Ian and take a lead he was never to lose. Back through the fleet there was close racing and the podium spots were always up for grabs right up to the finish. At the line it was Jon followed home by Rob Lennox who just held off a fast closing Ian and Mandy Sweet in her new blue boat coming home 4th.
The racing spirit was epitomised by the determination through the fleet with Bill Knights (in a borrowed boat), Gordon Stewart and Rob Campbell fight right up to the line for 11th to 13th place. Bill and Rob were separated by less than a boat length but somehow Gordon managed to sneak between them right on the line.
The fleet then headed ashore for lunch and cue the wind to build a little and stabilise.
Race 2 saw a short postponement while the race team attempted to tweak the course as the wind had shifted and seemed to settle from the west. Just before the sequence started the wind decided that shifting southerly was the thing to do. A short postponement later and another tweak of the course (and another windshift back to the west) race 2 got underway. This time it was Rob Lennox who got away and seemed to be sailing away right up to the point where he hit a mark on the bear away and allowed Ian to close the gap and slip past. Ian then sailed away leaving the group of Mandy, Jon, Rob and Tom Southwell to battle it out for the remaining podium spots. At the line it was Ian leading comfortably from Mandy showing some great speed in her new boat, Tom taking 3rd with Jon and Ron 4th and 5th respectively.
All to play for in the final race then. With the wind looking to stay at marginal planing strength for the lighter sailors it looked like they would be in the hot seats.
Race 3 was back to back with race 2 and the fleet were eager to get away. At this point the breeze seemed to be building a little and on the horizon was an ominous looking black cloud. there followed a battle royal up the first beat with no one really getting away and the the contenders fighting it out.
The the race team picked up some radio calls from nearby Grafham as the black cloud reached them and was causing a busy time for their safety boat crews.
The question was would the wind make it before the race finished? The answer was a resounding yes with the wind building quickly to a force 4 gusting 5 causing numerous capsizes including 2 of the contenders with Ian and Rob looking to sample the waters. Ian, after being in the water for an longer period decided enough was enough and headed back to shore. By this point Jon has built himself a handy lead and looked to have the meeting all sewn up for the second year in succession. Cue a heavy winds masterclass from Rob who sailed around the course like it was a balmy summer evening showing great speed and boat control to take the gun from Jon with Tom crossing 3rd just ahead of Dave Woods who was enjoying the stronger winds and was left ruing a swim himself otherwise he would have been in contention for the race win.
Back ashore and accompanied by the now legendary (according to the CVDRA) Hunts tea and D-Zero cakes the results were worked out and boats were packed away. There were smiles through most of the fleet and the varying conditions gave everyone something to smile about.
Overall Rob took the meeting on countback from Jon with Ian 3rd and Mandy in 4th.
Next up for the fleet is the POSH Regatta on the 7th and 8th May followed by the Largs SC Open on the 21st and 22nd May.
|1st||195||Barnt Green SC||Rob Lennox||2.0||(5.0)||1.0||3.0|
|2nd||42||Hunts SC||Jon Cowper||1.0||(4.0)||2.0||3.0|
|3rd||156||Hill Head||Ian Morgan||3.0||1.0||(14.0 DNF)||4.0|
|4th||211||Grafham Water SC||Mandy Sweet||4.0||2.0||(6.0)||6.0|
|5th||178||Hill Head||Thomas Southwell||(6.0)||3.0||3.0||6.0|
|6th||175||Rossendale Valley SC||Dave Woods||5.0||(6.0)||4.0||9.0|
|7th||181||NHEB SC||Gordon Stewart||(12.0)||9.0||5.0||14.0|
|8th||171||NHEB SC||Andrew Everitt||7.0||7.0||(14.0 DNF)||14.0|
|9th||3||Grafham Water SC||John Aston||9.0||8.0||(14.0 DNF)||17.0|
|10th||193||Hunts SC||Bill Knights||11.0||(12.0)||7.0||18.0|
|11th||188||Hunts SC||Hannah Rose||8.0||10.0||(14.0 DNF)||18.0|
|12th||108||Hunts SC||Graham Cox||10.0||11.0||(14.0 DNF)||21.0|
|13th||190||Cransley SC||Rob Campbell||13.0||13.0||(14.0 DNF)||26.0|