Raceboard fleet at Whitwell

4 November 2008

There were 16 Raceboard entries at Whitwell, the average for the entire Inland Series being 17. The weekend started off with Race One taking place in an agreeable 10 knots or so and although the course layout was a new one to us - an L shape - it was tactically interesting, the only criticism could be that having all the fleets on the same sausage made things a bit crowded at times. The sharp end of the fleet was always going to be Rob and Annette Kent, Tom Naylor and Andy Mexome, who usually filled the top slots with occasional top 5 appearances by Tim Colles, Bill Keeling and Rod Davis

As Race Two started the wind really began to build and the forecasted 20 knots with huge gusts arrived earlier than expected. Only five sailors completed the course, the rest of us decided that discretion was the better part etc and limped to the beach, shelter and a hot drink! Saturday afternoon continued in the same pattern, with Rob, Annette, Tom, Andy and Tim being the only ones coping with the weather, except for Alisha Hargreaves who hung on bravely in Race Three to take a well-earned 5th place.

The results sheet on Sat evening was a mass of DNCs and fervent prayers were sent in the hope of something more sailable on Sunday. Someone must have been listening as the wind was now a pleasant force 3-4. In the first race, which was now a simple windward - leeward, Tom and Andy had a "coming together" from the last gybe mark down to the finish line, somehow succeeding in impeding each other totally in a farce which ended with their both falling off on the line! It was judged that the tip of Tom's mast actually crossed the line when he was still technically aboard and so he was awarded 3rd place ahead of Andy. So much for crossing the line "in a seamanlike manner", but they were both given 10 points for entertainment value by the committee boat crew. They were lucky that Rule 69 was not invoked... (Ungentlemanly conduct if you must know!)

The remaining two races on the normal course both went to Rob and Tom, in that order. Then came the final race - the "Tower Dash" - which started in a spanking breeze as we all beat up the arm of the reservoir in a late burst of golden sunshine. However hardly had the head of the fleet made the turn than the breeze began to fade and what might have been a sparkling finish became a weary pump for all but the earlier finishers.

Overall the event was a triumph for the Kent family, Rob slipping out of first place only twice and these of course were discardable and Annette - using an old Mistral Prodigy 8.5 sail on her Equipe 2, finished 4th overall and first lady. Tom Naylor managed to pinch a couple of first places but they were not enough to put him ahead of Rob, although he was 7 points clear of Andy Mexome (Unlimited) in 3rd place.

Our thanks go to Bob Ingram and his excellent team for another great event at Whitwell.