After a short postponement, the first race got away to a clean start and headed off in the mist to try to find the windward mark. Julia Bailey was easily the first to round and was so far ahead that Bruce Huber in second could only just see her ahead. However, he found the right wind shifts on the second beat and had almost caught Julia as they rounded the windward mark for the second time. As they closed on the leeward gate they were neck and neck; Bruce took the left gate mark, and Julia the right, but to no avail as Bruce crossed the line well ahead. It was good to see Andy Christie inching ahead into third as the next four boats finished within seconds of each other.
Visibility was still not brilliant as the second race got under way, however having heard that BHYC had cancelled their racing, the sun kindly decided it was time to make a showing! Bruce was first round the windward mark with David Peerless showing good boat speed ahead of Alastair Speare-Cole. On the second round Alastair overtook David but there was nothing that either could do as Bruce extended his lead. Julia meanwhile, having had a poor start had her work cut out working herself back to sixth place. On the final short beat back to the line from the leeward gate, Philip Bown and Richard Ambler were rewarded by going the right way and just pipped David who after such promise had to make do with fifth.
The third race started in bright sunshine and saw Alastair as the early leader; with Bruce & Julia and David & Bill match racing either side of the run, he was able to extend his lead on the second round, however on the third round Julia closed right up and looked as if she was going to come in first, but Bruce found a massive shift and they crossed the line so close together that they were scored as a tie. As in the previous race, veteran Philip Bown found some late boat speed and also overtook Alastair to take third place. In the bottom half of the fleet, racing was also very close with only 10 seconds between sixth to twelfth places.
With the sun shinning and still enough water in the middle of the harbour, it was decided to go for a fourth race. Although with seconds to go it looked as if one boat was going to be OCS at the start, in fact no one was. Bruce took an early lead with Mike Toogood a slightly surprised second. However with the breeze flicking at times at least 10 degrees it was certainly not a procession particularly as the finish was at the windward mark which was moved almost up to opposite the Illusion Quay. On the long beat up the harbour Philip took advantage of a wind shift and took the lead on the final couple of tacks. Bruce just held onto second and Mike onto third but with Julia pressing hard there was little to separate them.
As there was no sign of any mist on Sunday morning, it was sensibly decided to race outside the harbour in the hopes that the light breeze would settle down. After a twenty minute postponement to allow the reduced fleet of ten boats to reach the start line not far from the recently re-laid Pepe racing mark, the first start got away cleanly. With Bruce Huber in particular committed elsewhere and so unable to race and no Downers, the field was pretty wide open. First round the windward mark was a delighted Mike Toogood, with Philip Russell, Bill Daniels, Alastair Speare-Cole and Julia Bailey hot on his heels. Although he held onto the lead going into the leeward gate, it was Philip who then took over the running and crossed the line after two rounds ahead of Julia with Bill, Alastair, Mike & David in a bunch separated by inches.
The start of the second race of the day went smoothly and it was good to see Richard Ambler leading the fleet with David and Andy Christie not far behind. As they came back up through the line to start the second round, it was noticeable that Richard was going like a train and that the other two could not match his boat speed. Indeed it was Bill who ended up taking second place ahead of David & Andy. Having done so well and won the previous race, poor Philip’s success deserted him and he had to face the ignominy of coming last it this one!
Having decided to emulate the previous day and run four races, the third started with young Will Toogood being pushed over and having to return. The clear leader was again Richard who found himself so far ahead of the rest of the fleet after the first round that he was able to take it easy and leave the fun to the chasing group lead by Mike Toogood. Alastair & Bill finished close together in third and fourth places and then sixth to ninth all crossed the line within seconds.
For the last race of the Regatta, the Race Officers came up with something very different; a single windward mark to be rounded to starboard, a single leeward mark to port and the finish line off the pontoon in front of BSC. Quite testing particularly given the 30 plus degree wind shifts, the new rules for starboard roundings and a beat into the harbour! After lots of shouting as they rounded the windward mark, the fleet settled down with Alastair initially in the lead, however as they tacked in through the harbour entrance Bill took over and deservedly crossed the finish line first. Richard was third and Julia fourth.
With all eight races counting, congratulations to Julia who won the Barrel Trophy; Alastair was second and Bill was third. Our thanks to Bill for yet again sponsoring the prizes and to Goddard’s Brewery for supporting the Regatta. It was another great weekend’s racing.
Normal racing on Good Friday and then the traditional Vernon’s Easter Egg Cup on Easter Saturday & Easter Sunday.
Start of Race 1 on Saturday: : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P1Ri8uuz8ls
Start of Race 3 on Saturday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG-McVbo1ZM
Start of Race 4 on Saturday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bEJnZAC0uMg
Start of Race 5 on Sunday: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjF8UDeXZvQ