Results :: Hayling Island S.C. Open Meeting
|A quality turnout of 31 Merlin Rockets joined the Fireball fleet for an intense weekend of racing in the bay. With three races scheduled for each day this would essentially be a Championships worth of racing condensed in to one weekend. Fortunately the race committee got the memo and races were reduced to circa 50 mins each.|
Saturday – 15 knots gusting 20, west north west.
Ben McGrane, Nick Craig and Tim Fells each won a race on the opening day, Ben and Roz had claimed to be feeling rusty but still managed to be overnight leaders on (1, 4, 2). We were left wondering what a polished Ben and Roz could achieve as the season progresses. Other notable performances were local father-and-son team Graham and Jeremy Williamson who scored a third before having to head in for babysitting duties for newly born grand-daughter, Ivy. Dave Hayes and Jonny Ratcliffe were getting to grips with their new high modulus Selden mast and put in a solid performance with a 2 and 5 as definite counters. Meanwhile the new pairing of Oli Turner and Hamish Kilburn proved that practice does pay off, having been seen training at various events and putting in extra hours at Northampton, a scoring of (8,2,11) showed promise.
With many familiar faces in racing in both the Merlins and Fireballs the evenings entertainment went off with a bang, the bar staff were kept busy while the kitchen laid on some excellent food for a rather large and rather hungry fleet, rumour has it the steak was the pick of the menu but sadly they had run out by the time certain people made it to the restaurant.
Sunday – 5 knots north west veering south west and building to 20 knots
After a leisurely sail out to the bay in barely 5 knots the wind began to fill-in and veer to the south as the sea breeze started to take over. Racing got under way with the port lay proving the winning decision, Rob Kennaugh and fiancée Abi Spurr from Midland SC rounded first with a hard chasing fleet including Nick Craig, Ben McGrane, Roger Gilbert, Dave Hayes and Tom Stewart, in fact the list goes on. They held their nerve to take second only losing the lead right at the end to Ian Sharps and Ally Martin. Nick Craig only managed a 14th which left team McGrane in the driving seat. Race 5, however, saw the largest shifts of the day with boats having worked the right side of the beat looking good, however, next time around it was the left that was paying. With little regularity in oscillations it was no surprise that even some of the front runners would get caught out. This time Ben and Roz found the snakes and sailed across the finish line in 10th while Nick with Tom Pygall crewing pocketed a rather handy fourth place behind the ever improving Simon Potts (1st), Chris Jennings (2nd) and Dave Hayes (3rd).
It all came down to the wire with just one point between the leading two boats in the final race. Sadly there was no battle royal, instead Nick and Tom did a horizon job taking a very comfortable race win with Ben and Roz crossing the line behind them to finish on equal points (14) and second overall. Dave Hayes was third on 23 points, Tim Fells 26 and Tom Stewart rounding out the top five on 27 points. A great event with high scores reflecting the true depth of the class.
Once we had all had a wild ride (some not for the first time that weekend) back over the bar, we extended our thanks to the race committee who had to deal with challenging conditions plus the bar and kitchen who were kept busy all weekend.