Pwllheli Formula Race Report

10 May 2012

The UK Stena Line Cup Series is well and truly underway with the 1st event having taken place over the bank holiday weekend in Pwllheli. The forecast for the weekend looked really good but turned out to be slightly disappointing and frustrating. 11 competitors registered travelling from far and wide to try out their new kit in the 1st race of the season. This season the scoring system has changed meaning that the overall series would be scored on every race as opposed to counting up overall event scores. 

Chris on his Formula gear

Saturday promised a steady 12 knot wind all day but alas this did not prevail. Although the day started off promisingly, only 1 race actually took place due to fluctuating wind speeds and directions. The race took place on a windward leeward course and it proved to be a successful return for Keith Atkinson (North/Fanatic) who took the honours in front of Tim Gibson (Gaastra/North) and Chris Bond (Starboard/Point 7). 

Sunday was windless but sunny so the competition changed from Formula to beach volley ball. Out came the chairs, bbqs and beers and a good time was had by all, fuelled by the knowledge that Sunday promised strong winds......

......and windy it was!! Competitors awoke to strong winds and a rough sea with a nasty shore dump thrown in for good measure. However about 15mins prior to the 1st start the wind dropped to 12knots and the sun came out. Sailors were a little baffled with what sail to take out. Most opted to stay with a small sail due to the water state and this proved to be a wise choice as the wind picked up to 26 knots in a very short space of time. 2 races took place in extremely challenging conditions - especially for those who opted for 11m rigs! Keith proved triumphant again followed by Dave Coles (Starboard/Gaastra) and then Tim. Coming ashore was nasty to say the least but the Formula fleet managed to get ashore with no breakages - other fleets were not so lucky. The option was then taken, by all the sailors, to abandon racing for the day as the wind was continuing to build and so too was the shore dump and no-one wanted to risk smashing up their kit for the sake of racing on an egg box sea.

Formula winners

Whilst the number of races raced was frustratingly low the standard was high and very close which bodes well for the rest of the season. Roll on Herne Bay!

By Chris Bond, sponsored by Point 7 Sails and Robin Hood Watersports