|After the sunshine and breeze of Wednesday there was high expectation of more of the same. However, although the breeze remained in the Northwest, it had dropped to a Force 2-3 up the estuary but even less in the harbour which along with the tide building towards springs made it a bigger factor.|
Race 9 – Green v Black flights. NW Force 0-3. Course 7,3,7,1,3,2
The morning flight were greeted with very little wind on the startline and it was another case of getting on to port early. There was much entertainment for the spectators when a gust hit the line-up with a minute to go, capsizing Dave Hayes and Oli Wells. This was not the birthday present Dave had been expecting and it left them swamped and trying to get to the beach in no wind to drain the boat. They finally set off 10 minutes after the fleet and did incredibly well to climb up to the seventeenth.
At the front of the fleet, Tom Stewart and Phil Dalby took the lead and were delighted to run down the harbour section to round Blackstone before the breeze disappeared, leaving them with a comfortable sail down tide to the finish and an almost five minute win. Behind them the chasers found themselves stuck fighting tide with the old breeze bringing up more boats to join the park up. Showing remarkable skills to keep a boat moving in no wind, Richard Whitworth and Nick Copsey escaped to claim second ahead of Alex Jackson and Sarah Bines. Overnight leaders Olly Turner and Alex Warren saw their hard fought second place slip away to finish fifth behind Simon Blake and Chris Dodds.
Race 10 – Red v Blue fleets, NW Force 2-3, Course 7,3,7,2,3,2
The afternoon race provided very similar conditions but with a flood tide pushing the fleet over the line. Remarkably the fleet were overly cautious allowing those who manned up and went for the line the opportunity to make a clean break. Matt Biggs and John Hackett made the best of it and led Tim Fells and Chris Downham up the beat to Gerston. Rounding in third and celebrating his 18th birthday was Peter Ballantine with Sandy Ramus.
Over the next loop down to Crossways and back, Tim and Chris took the lead but were unable to stop Matt and John slipping through to leeward on the final approach back to the club line to take their first win of the week. Rapidly approaching in their remodeled 'Shabazzle' were Jon Turner and Richard Parslow who took third. Clawing their way back to a very important fourth were Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor ahead of Neale Jones and Jam Adam who were having another strong race.
Overall, the standings are very close with the top six boats all with a chance of winning. Tom and Phil have taken a one point lead from Olly and Alex and Dave and Pippa. Tim and Chris, Taxi and Ellie and Jon and Nikki are all a further four points back and need a win while all the boats in front have a mare.