Derwent, The Northern Adventure

9 July 2009


Raceboard Fleet Report

Raceboard will never die, they just get faster

Photos by Andy Watkins for all the Derwent photos go to Andys Gallery.

If you have never ventured through the tranquil beautify of the Pennine valley on the border between Northumberland and Durham, bounded by moorland and conifers you are missing something special! I turned up to the picturesque setting of Derwent to one of the friendliest sailing clubs I have had the pleasure to visit, with the warmest of welcomes I felt at home within minutes., sussing the venue out I pick my spot and get rigged up in readiness for the weekends racing. - The important things done I try to ring the family to let them know of the safe arrival-…….. Ooops no signal- ah well, they wont miss me!

With the forecast of heavy rain I could not be bothered to put up my extra large tent so spent the night in the clubhouse and this turn out to be the perfect spot.

Day 1

What looked like a poor turn out on the Friday night made way for the 69 sailors that set out to race across all fleets. Some of the southern softies could not venture up north fearing they may melt or turn into fairies, not mention names BUT Dave Hackford, Andy Mexome, Rob Kent, Marc Carney, Christopher Gibson  were all noticeable for their absence- southern jessies all! So the raceboard fleet was a little smaller than usual but still fiercely competitive- as ever!

The 45 Minute Race

Due to shifty wind condition a windward leeward and bottom gate course was set, Mark Kay spotting the first 90 degree wind  shift of the day headed over for a port start soon to be followed by the rest of the fleet, with around 5 - 10 Knots the first race started with Tom Dryden on a borrowed Demon Design VG5  leading the pack of Tom Naylor, Bob Ingram, Mark Kay, Dave Dobson, Paul Robinson, Jamie Bowerbank and  Bruce Scott, well,  leading it briefly,  as yes you guessed it the first 45 Degree wind shift of the day  rewarded Mark Kay who pulled ahead and rounded the windward mark in the lead  ahead of Tom Naylor  and the rest of the fleet. With the wind dropping the down wind was a pure pump fest Tom Naylor getting a gust gave Mark Kay a run for his money and the heat was on! Rounding the leeward mark neck and neck and with the wind shifting every few seconds, knowing your tactics would prove to be vital as Mark Kay and Tom Naylor tacked on every shift, not putting a foot wrong and soon pulling away from the rest of the fleet, lap 2 and 3 followed the same pattern with very difficult shifty conditions, places changing all the time and Mark Kay and Tom Naylor still battling it out now way in front of the chasing fleet. On the 4th lap Mark showed his skills, pulling ahead, covering Toms every move and leading on to the finish and His first Bullet of the event.

All sailors went back to the beach to refuel then straight back out to race again as the wind was gradually picking up to a "massive" 10 knots however the shifts were getting bigger and longer and once the second race was on the way the first beat turned in to a 1 tack race. Once again Mark Kay lead the way with this time Tom Dryden in second followed by Tom Naylor, with Mark getting bullet number 2  the battle for second was heating up with Tom Naylor around 74 kilos giving it  his all to try and catch Tom Dryden's 95 kilos, Dryden pumped the best he could but Naylor's determination and power was to much for Dryden and Naylor took second place, Dryden  though after all that hard work had been over at the start and hence the hard fought 3rd place was awarded to Bob  Two more races were run in the afternoon  in a similar vein and gave some fantastic racing!

The Party

After the days racing I was adopted by John and Mick AKA Daisy and Jess who invited me to join them for some food (top class food I might add) a few beers later we were partying in the club house with the live band, we managed to get everyone to join in the party games, I cant go into detail- my life is not worth it but suffice to say   it was a late finish and a good night was had by all!

Day 2

This turned out to be a repeat of the first day with Mark Kay leading Tom Naylor in second Bob Ingram in 3rd followed closely by the rest of the fleet, the drop in wind made the committee shorten the 4th and final race.

Top 4 in raceboard for the weekend were

1st Mark Kay Starboard /Demon Design

2nd Tom Naylor Starboard/Tushingham

3rd Bob Ingram Starboard/Tushingham

4th Tom Dryden Equipe / Demon Design

An interesting side note -During the whole weekend Raceboard raced together with the RSX fleet and not once did the RSX compete with a raceboard, it really does need to be reliably windy for RSX to become competitive with the all-round performance that raceboard offers!

Thanks to:-

Derwent Sailing Club (looking forward to next year)

Tessa Ingram and the race committee for an excellent job, well done in the trickiest condition we had this year!

Daisy And Jess for the hospitality

Thank you all!