Wind conditions were the focus of interest as competitor arrived at The Broads Club sailing venue at Filby Bridge for the 2019 Shearwater Trophy event, with the direction coming towards the bank from a north-westerly direction across the broad and, more importantly at a brisk 14mph or thereabouts with occasional gusts. As we rigged the wind proceeded to increase further with some hefty gusts thrown in for good measure. The fleet resorted to ‘skinny’ mains and other reductions in response.
Race Officer Peter Sutton set a start line angled towards the bank that could be sighted down and a triangular course of two laps plus a beat to the hooked finish line out at the windward mark, with all marks being left to port.
The first race saw Shaun Holbeche finish well ahead of the field with Stan Cockeram sailing a Romanza into second spot as the fleet got to grips with the significant conditions and attendant handling difficulties. Race two saw a coming together at the windward mark resulting in rudder servo damage and a DNF to sail 16 as John Hanton kept clear and finished first with Mike Howard making the first of his two second placings for the day.
Once Shaun returned to the fray with a replacement servo he and John proceeded to swap first and second placings between them almost exclusively with Shaun gaining the upper hand. Terry Burton and Vinnie Zammit found the lighter weight Tias design, more suited to light wind sailing, to be at a disadvantage and both suffered some technical issues. Stan Cockeram and Mike Ewart both kept going and were there or thereabouts but couldn’t quite find the consistency on the day.
Some of the fleet employing high risk approaches from above the starboard end buoy and often cruising down the start line to the detriment of more conventional starters with right of way, resulting in inconsistent starts and results for all concerned. During this period the wind started to ease back somewhat and moved to a more northerly direction which made the start line biased towards the starboard end, further encouraging the high risk starting. Unfortunately, the RO could not adjust the line to compensate without losing sighting down the line.
Race 15 saw Shaun’s Ravenna develop another, inexplicable, rudder servo fault which resulted in further non-starts and issues and another replacement. Meanwhile John Hanton continued to sail his Renaissance with consistency and managed to keep out of trouble for the most part, clocking up further good results.
The Race team managed to keep the pace of the racing up without overburdening the competitors so that we managed to complete a healthy 24 heats in all. When the points were totted up John Hanton was revealed to be the winner with Shaun Holbeche not far behind and Stan Cockeram a creditable third.
Thanks must go to Peter Sutton (RO) and Ray Crisp (Scorer) for their running of the racing on the day in the face of some tricky conditions and an awkward wind direction. (S.H.)
All Pictures courtesy of Helen Cockeram
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