Last Sunday saw 27 IOM skippers gather together at Scotland farm the home of Lincoln RSC for the final round of this winters Midland District series, it was so good to be able to complete a series as planned after losing lots of events over the past two years.
The predicted weather forecast was for a good second suit blow from the southwest, but with a high likelihood of rain throughout the day. I have not been up to the Lincoln club for around five years, and it was good to see a lot of old faces and several new ones. The club had done a huge amount of preparation for the event what with the cutting of weed and grass around the lake sides, refreshing the piers and greatly reducing the effect of the moles in the banks.
At booking in all skippers were offered a bacon butty and a brew to get them going. Once I had said my hello’s to the race committee, I was introduced to the PRO for the day Dave Geldard, we went over the basics of running a two heat race and details of the intended race course. The heat board was duly updated, and the course board drawn out. This was going on as the skippers were preparing their boats and rigging their second suit, the gusts towards the bottom of the lake were definitely too strong for anything bigger and to remain in control.
Jackie and Ed were down for the scoring, and I took on the task of the heat board, this left two volunteers for the rescue boat duty and two for scoring the finishing positions, and not to mention the two ladies (Jan & Ann) in the galley cooking the food and keeping the water boiler topped up for the free tea & coffee. Then there was Mick Chamberlain & Jen Hand having been involved in the event preparation. All in all, a great effort from the host club.
Dave Geldard, called the skippers together at 09:45 for the initial briefing, welcoming everyone to the club and once he had explained the two-heat system for the benefit of everyone he then described the course. The control area was down the lakeside where we park the cars, and the start line was almost at the bottom of this side, plenty wide enough for the 16 boats to start, however, to get a really good beat up the course the fleet had to sail up the lake parallel with the control bank, then do a starboard rounding to a spreader mark and then all the way back down the lake to a gate. The beat back up brought the boats almost up to the top corner by the club house but kept sensibly far enough out so the wind shadow was not a major factor, then back down wind to the gate and finally a beat back up to the windward mark and its spreader for the finish line.
Darin had come up with a good suggestion before the first race in so much as he thought that it would be a good idea to have the boat crew on the water near the start line ready to move the line should it need a little more bias. The rescue boat was stationed up at the top of the lake initially and it would have taken some time to get back to the start area, this option of being on the water greatly reduces the possible wasted time in resetting the line.
The first seeding heat was away on time with the home club skippers Mick Chamberlain & Chris Elliott winning the first two heats. A little bit of local knowledge there obviously. With a very short delay to update the heat board we were underway with race 2 heat B. The wind appeared to be fairly constant in strength but there were some interesting shifts to play with that allowed you to lose or gain big depending on what side of it you were on at the time. Race 2 saw another local win this time it was Rob Wilson closely followed by the most consistent skippers namely Chris Harris & Darin Ballington. Mention should also go to Dorian Crease one of our travelling skippers from Two Islands RYC who placed fourth.
Race three saw further home success with David Rigby and his Vision holding out Colin Walton for the win.
My viewpoint was up near the clubhouse looking down the lake between the windward marks towards the leeward gate at the bottom of the lake, this allowed me to get a different perspective on the boats beating to windward, in race three Colin Walton came up towards the windward mark on a long port tack which pushed his course out into the middle of the lake, whilst David RIgby came more up the centre. Initially Colin was definitely pulling away from the fleet but then had to tack onto starboard to come back towards the windward mark, whilst he was high on the mark, he was not quiet as fast as the boats in the centre at the windward mark and he had to give best to David as they tacked over. The downwind run was very close and on the final beat back Colin again favoured the centre of the lake, it was very tight at the line, but David RIgby shaded it.
Dave Geldard called a lunch break at 12:20 after race 4B saying that we would recommence at 12:50. The skippers then topped up their cups and collected their Lincolnshire sausage burgers, and a few of us sat on the chairs provided under the gazebo to eat whilst we started to see the rain make an appearance.
Racing commenced on time, but the start was delayed slightly as two boats had become entangled during the pre-start and they needed the services of the rescue boat, by the time the boat got to them they were well down wind and away from the course, so the race was started without them. It was then that Chris Harris started to make a push for the event win with first places in both race 4 and race 5. This was also the time where Chris Cook had to retire with a boat that needed a little work.
I was getting a bit cold and wet at this stage so handed the heat boat reigns over to Jackie and said my goodbyes to everyone and set out for home. Looking at the scoresheet the PRO managed to get 7 races completed in the allotted time, which was good going, and so on behalf of the skippers I would like to say thank you to all the members of Lincoln RSC for hosting the event, and I very much hope that you have dried off and had a few minutes to put your feet up. There was a lot of walking for everyone today. Gordon Sears Webmaster Midlands
Many thanks to Gordon for the write up, and of course to Allan for taking some great pictures, My take on things, were it was a fantastic day of sailing in brisk conditions , all sailed in a great spirit, The Bacon and the Sausage burghers ran out and were a big hit with everyone who had one. My thanks and it cannot be enough is to all the helpers who made this event a big hit . Mick Chamberlain Commodore LRSC