Vane A Winter Series Race 3, 6 Feb 22

Vane A Winter series race 3

Sunday 6th February 2022

The forecast for Sunday had been dire, with gusts over 40mph expected and an underlying breeze in excess of 20 mph. And it was indeed very windy! The good part was that it was a Westerly, giving some proper, unbiased beats. Four crews rigged their boats and despite the waves breaking clean over the starting area at the leeward end, came to the line for some classic A boat racing. Most used a combination of No 2 and 3 rigs.

The racing was wild and demanding, with the magnificent A’s carving through the heavy wave formation. The momentum of the boats made tacking a serious business. Some skippers opted to turn the boats by hand. The wind direction was swinging through 20 degrees or so and the influence of the trees at the West end made for some close finishes.

In the early races both Jacque Cook and Eric Meighen’s Simpson designed N-Lightened had won one more race than their main opponents, who they were due to sail in the last race. If Peter Fothergill and Paul Edwards’s Hollom Zest won the last race, they became equal on points, but count-back would give them the win as it reverted to the winner between the two tied boats. Phew!

So both the day and the Winter Series were down to the very last race. The two boats sailed neck and neck until the mast-heads hooked together just by the clubhouse, necessitating a re-sail. At the second start Peter and Paul’s leeward berth gave them priority at the first tack. Zest was beautifully trimmed for the increasing breeze and they maintained their lead. At the second tack Zest kept a windward advantage. N-Lightened was also flying, keeping within a less than a boat length, until a tenuous guy-ed fourth tack by Zest saw N-Lightened close up again. Both boats arrived at the line side-by-side and flat out in a squall, where Zest just beat N-Lightened by a mere 50mm. A truly classic vane race between two excellent crews!

Of the other boats, both Russell and Shaun Wyeth and Lewis and Thomas Wyeth had chalked up wins, and sailed superbly in the very challenging conditions. But Peter and Paul’s Zest had won the day and the Winter Series, with Jacque and Eric snapping at their heels with a very close second.

The next Vane A racing is scheduled for Sunday the 27th of February. Let’s hope for just a little less breeze!
Mervyn Cook

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