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Pwllheli Open 2007

Plenty of eager teams from as far as Cookham Reach arrived in Pwllheli for some pre-nationals preparation on Saturday morning, having driven through brilliant sunshine to be greeted by a Southerly onshore force 2-3 breeze and grey skies. After consoling ourselves at the lack of tanning prospects with some pretty fantastic bacon butties from a local roadside trailer, it was decided that we should stop being such girls and rig the boats.

The first race got underway after two general recalls and the presentation of a black flag; a hint of things to come for the national champs in August, no doubt. The onshore breeze meant pretty sloppy seas, and Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor rounded the windward mark first, closely followed by Richard Whitworth and Nicola Brook in second. These places were to remain in this race with Pat Blake and Chris Dodds in third, and Roger and Jen Taylor in fourth.

The breeze dropped to a force 1-2 for the second race and the start was away cleanly with Dave and Pippa getting an early lead, again with Richard and Nicola hot on their heels, and Andy ‘Taxi’ Davies and Ellie Bremer very close behind. This order was retained until the finish with the Roger and Jen team coming in forth.

After a tricky days sailing and an epic walk back up the beach, the bar was expectedly full where we all had one or two (or seventeen, Taxi!) bevvies and took part in an unexpected pub quiz, then went home to rest our little heads.

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Sunday morning presented an early 10 o’clock start and one or two fuzzy heads to face the force 2-3 breeze. The first race had an unusual start at the starboard end with Taxi and Ellie starting on port tack, and attempting to embed their bow into the committee boat. Most of us decided to start on starboard and Dave and Pippa took an early lead.

However, the second beat saw Richard and Nicola sail further onto the starboard layline than Dave and Pippa, finding some new breeze to take them into the mark, meaning they were right on Winder’s tail on the next run, where they managed to get ahead with some excellent wave surfing. Richard went on to win this race with Dave and Pippa second, and Pat and Chris third.

It was all on for the last race – Richard and Nicola had to win to be the victor, and Dave and Pippa had to beat Richard to win. The start was wisely postponed twice and the course adjusted to accommodate the fickle winds. When it finally got underway, the black flag was presented to ensure a rapid start. Dave and Pippa pulled away early, with Will Rainey and Vicki Tarbet showing great pace in second place. Richard and Nicola managed to pull through to second on the run, and stayed here until the finish with Will and Vicki in third and Boris and Matt Calvert having a good race in forth.

Thanks must go to Pwllheli Sailing Club for their excellent race management, freindliness and inspired ability to make about a million ham and cheese toasties in around 10 minutes. Bring on the Nationals Championships - 12 to 17 August.


Report: Pippa Taylor
Photos: Peter Newton
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