Well here we are in Wales, the RS100 fleet visiting the home of the UK’s decent football team to pay their respects to Bale and Co.
Annoyingly, it appears that its not only football and rugby the Welsh can do – the Llandegfedd SC 100 team also seem to know both how to sail their boats and the way around their home water. Did they not get the memo about being kind to the visitors and letting us win?
The forecast was for pretty windy, gusting stupid windy. The weather didn’t get the memo either. With the exception of the last race, in which OOD Arky, with impeccable timing, made the course much shorter, it was marginal planing at best.
Even with the wind blowing straight down the lake, it was really tricky to work out which way the next shift would be or whether the pressure would be on the left, the right or in the middle.
Hence there was lots of opportunity to make a lovely gain. Or find yourself scratching your head wondering how someone just shot into the lead for nowhere. as we all know, when we make a gain, it’s down to skill. If someone else makes a gain they are simply jammy so-and-sos.
In race one, it was the locals immediately to the fore, initially Dave Jaratt, before passing the baton to Nigel Tinkler (who disappeared over the horizon never to be seen again) with Paul Craft also in the mix. Gradually though, the visitors worked out a trick or too with reigning Inland Champ Ian Gregory ultimately stealing second, Chris Goldhawk third and Paul Luttman fourth. Usual suspects, Steve Lee, Andy Jones, Greg Booth, Mark Harrison were clearly biding their time.
Race 2 and Andy Jones, Chairman Mark and Mark Williams were OCS and returned. Greg peaked too early. As usual. After three laps of really tight racing between the first four, at the end it finished Clive Eplett, Ian (for a Frensham 1-2, clearly a pond sailor day), Greg, Chris, then Mark W.
Special mention goes to Martyn Osborne in race 3 who thought he’d cracked it when 6th at the first mark in his first 100 regatta. It ain’t quite that easy tho Martyn! Steve Lee decided to join in too for race 3, but it was Chris Goldhawk again to the fore, finding a way to protect his lead, something most of us struggled with when we got our turn. Stave was a secure second and after lots of place changing, the minor places went to Chairman Mark, Greg, Clive then Ian.
Putting it all together, it’s pretty high-scoring overnight, with Chris on 8 points, Ian 10, Clive 11 and Steve and Greg both on 15. Plenty to play for tomorrow, with 4 races, more wind forecast, from a ‘tricky’ direction (allegedly today was a ‘good’ direction)
Well, once again, Wales delivered another glorious days sailing, in which we all learned lots, such as;
- Llandegfedd SC is a below-the-radar gem. If you get the chance, go. And the natives are both friendly and diplomatic; football was not mentioned once.
- RS legend Pete Vincent may know how to mend your boat, but he cannot rig an RS100 to save his life (it’s really not that hard Pete). Your correspondent and Chairman Mark Harrison had to do it for him or he’d still be there scratching his head.
- Chew sailors can only manage one good day per weekend. Overnight leader Chris Goldhawk ain’t as good on Sundays as Saturdays (quote after Sunday’s race 2 “I hate sailing”). With Andy Jones it’s the other way around (see also the Southerns)
- In similar vein, Tom Powell sails best when most hungover. If he could stop splashing about too, there’d be no stopping him.
- If you need your slot gaskets fixing, Simon Geyman is expert at the turn-turtle-and-tape-‘em-up technique. Respect.
- Capsizing near your chosen start position on the 4 minute, righting with 40 secs to go works really quite nicely (I discovered, but could have done without PRO Arky’s err, helpful advice)
- Mostyn Evans sails far better when Pippa is supervising him from a Topper
- Being (probably) the lightest in the fleet is no excuse when it’s windy, as Ian Gregory proved in the windiest race of the weekend
- Three races was quite enough for the locals on Sunday (and me too, but they had the brains to opt for the early shower)
- It’s just as well for the rest of us that Steve Lee does not sail between meetings and takes a couple of races to get up to speed, although perhaps he just likes to give us a few points start. Nah, second thoughts I’m pretty sure it’s not that
On to the actual racing, in planing to ‘oh help’ conditions, getting windier as the day went on and with lots of place changing throughout the fleet.
In Race 4 Greg Booth and Mark Harrison led at the first mark then sailed away for their own personal match race, swapping places on nearly every cross. Clive Eplett found some downwind speed to grab third just managing to keep Steve Lee behind on the beat to the finish gate. Tom Powell’s hangover was working well for the fifth, followed by better-on-Sundays Andy Jones.
Race 5 and it was Greg and Andy who disappeared into a big lead. Chasing them were Mark Williams, Simon Geyman and Steve Lee. It all changed on the last run, with Greg and Andy losing the pressure to end 5th and 6th. Steve grabbed the bullet with Tom hot on his heels, followed by Marks W then H. Simon meantime was checking those slot gaskets again (priorities may need work?)
Race 6 was rather chaotic. Apart from yours truly clogging up the start-line, a great big right-shift lifted all the starboard-end starters, which was dandy until it switched off and headed 30 degrees. Dave Jarrett kindly abandoned ship (or his mast would have landed with a big bang on my foredeck. To windward of the two of us, three more upturned hulls were to be seen. Such events are a Frensham feature, so Ian Gregory also dodged this bullet and was right on Chairman Mark’s transom at the windward mark, inevitably with Steve in attendance, the latter taking the lead when Harrison bottled a gybe in a big gust. Andy Jones was either waking up or is fitter than us, to take third with Clive close covering Greg for 4th.
Race 7 and the breeze was well up. Mark H did his best Al Hall impression and started at the pin, found a lefty and sailed off, with Andy, Steve and Ian battling for the minor places. I must get Ian to tell me how he held 20kg heavier Steve behind him in that much wind, Andy taking second. Next was Chris who had decided to join in for this race, with Greg and Clive battling again, this time for 6th – which Greg took, giving him third overall to Clive’s fourth by that single point.
Mark’s were the best results of day 2, pulling him up to second, on 21 points from six races to count, but it was Steve taking the win for the second time this year on 18 points. Prizes also went to Chris, 5th, Ian 6th and Andy 7th. First local was Mark Williams in 8th. If we can get him and the rest of the Llandegfedd fleet to come to Exe for the Nationals in September, they are going to be in the mix, for sure. It’s not that far guys.
Thanks again to our generous hosts and to Arky for acting as PRO and not doing the dance-of-the-seven-veils with his lacy black-flag. Next events are the Europeans at Travemunde then the Nationals at Exe SC on 8-11 September. If you can get a 100, come along to Exe, the racing is getting even better, it’s a great boat to sail and it’s going to be a fab event.