Axebridge - Inland Series 3 report

25 July 2005

July 2nd & 3rd

I arrived at Bristol Corinthians Yacht Club on Friday afternoon expecting to find a queue of mobile homes at the main gate. One of the other club members got there before me and let them in. The weather was overcast and drizzling, but not like the stair rods that we experienced last year. Paul Hipwell, our windsurfing Commodore, arrived later to open up the clubhouse so that people didn't need to use their Porta potties or water the grass.

Saturday morning was just as damp but the sky was brighter in the south as the car park/camping area filled rapidly. With the weather man's prophesy of light winds things did not look good for the five formula sailors who made the trip. Raceboard sailors wanted to go for it as long as there was some wind, even if it was light and shifty. Frustration reigned as the wind struggled to get above 3 knots. Eventually, two races were completed and the score showed Adam Pepelasis leading on 4 points from Tim Gibson and Bob Ingram. Alan Jackson failed to finish race 2, suffering kit failure (someone please show him how to tie his outhaul).

On the Junior course, the Team 15 classes were enjoying the light airs event though Race Officer, Ady Davies, set a challenging course. Jason Clarke and Charlie Winn established their dominance and left the others scrabbling for the minor places. Nice to see so many girls (nearly a third of the fleet) coming into the competitions.

After the BBQ and a few beers we retired to bed and prayed for better things on Sunday.

It rained a lot over night but when Peter Knight, the local wind guru, came with a forecast of 8 knots and a sea breeze (Axbridge is close to the Severn Estuary) things were looking up. Not a lot happened till after 10 o'clock but then the south westerly wind picked up. With frantic activity, both courses were adjusted and racing got under way in bright sunny conditions.

On the junior course, Jason and Charlie continued to dominate while Becky Plummer (first event racing 5.5 Techno) was having a good battle with Joanna Evans. Jack Plummer sailing on 4.5 Techno was doing well to keep up with his sister and lead his fleet while Jack Crozier and Tom Davies contested the 3.5 fleet.

Still no luck for the Formula sailors but the Raceboards got started in shifty conditions. Adam took the win in race one followed by Alan. Richard Baker got his best finish (3rd) of the event and young Dan Skudder came in 4th. Race four started after a short delay due to a wind shift to starboard. At the end of lap one, Alan had half a leg lead on the Tim, Bob and Adam but decided to give them a chance to catch up by going the wrong side of the leeward mark. He still had time to correct his mistake and sail away in the lead and go on to win the race. Back to back races brought us up to lunch and a timely drop in the wind. Would there be any wind in the afternoon? Who knows! The locals were predicting that as the tide drops in the Bristol Channel, so would the sea breeze.

As time was getting late the RO decided to reduce the size of the course so that if the wind did return the shorter course would speed up the lap times. Just as we were thinking it was all over, a bit of wind returned and two more races were run. Apologies to those with a long way to travel, but it would have been a shame to lose those last two races.

At the prize presentation, thank you's were said to all the helpers and supporters, boat crews, galley staff etc.. A special thanks to Bristol Windsurfers World who provided product prizes for the junior fleet winners. Paul Hipwell said "Bristol Corinthians Yacht Club have a large windsurfing membership and a strong Team 15 club. It's great to be part of the UKWA Inland Series. Hope to see you again next year".

- Geoff Pook



As the last of the competitors (A. Jackson and family) said fair well, two race officers and a boat driver packed the last bits of kit into camper vans and followed them out of the gate. One headed for the A38 while two headed for deepest Somerset. Boat driver needed to put some air in the mobile home tyres so stopped at the filling station. His wife and small son took the opportunity to go into the shop to buy drinks and sweets. With tyres inflated, driver resumes his journey thinking his family are in the back of the mobile home. Wife and son come out of the shop to see the two vans and two boats driving off towards Wells.

With no phone and only some loose change, boat drivers wife and son can only sit on the wall and hope they are missed before too long. After awhile the vans return - BD says "I thought it was quiet" - RO says "I could hardly drive for laughing" - Wife says "You did this before, on our way to France! And you took my passport. The police took me onto the ferry." BD says "Third time lucky!"

Those of you from the South West Region will instantly recognise the characters involved. Everyone else should ask Colin or Maggie Gooch who will be happy to supply names for a large bribe.