It looked like there would be some fireworks at the pin end of the line at the start of the first race on Saturday for this year’s Guy Fawkes Trophy when the cold Northerly F3 had flicked at least 15 degrees as the twelve Illusions came up to start, however the fleet soon settled down and with a split beat to the windward mark, it was Julia Bailey who rounded first just ahead of Raymond Simonds with Richard Ambler in third. On the second round Julia extended her lead with the rest of the fleet doing their best to keep in touch with her. Fourth to sixth places were all to play for with Xander Shaw, Philip Bown & Alastair Speare-Cole all close and putting pressure on third place Richard. At the finish after three rounds it was Julia, Raymond, Alastair, Philip, Xander with Richard having to make do with sixth. Although at the back of the fleet, well done to Paul Rowland in his first race who managed to complete the course and was not that far behind.
Down to eleven boats after near beginner Peter Eddis deciding it was a bit too windy for him, the second race got away to an excellent start with the front echelon within a few inches of the line. With the breeze flicking 20 degrees at times choosing the right side of the course on the beats was key but did need a bit of luck as well. At the windward mark first time round, Raymond was narrowly ahead of Julia but as they passed the Committee Boat on the way to the leeward gate they were neck & neck; as indeed were David Peerless & Alastair with Philip, Richard, Xander & Steve Warren-Smith in hot pursuit. There were a number of close calls as they beat back up through the line, however by the windward mark Julia had forged ahead of Raymond who was under pressure from Alastair & Xander. Indeed by the finish it was Alastair who was second with Raymond, Philip, Steve, Xander & David all finishing within seconds of each other.
Fortunately having announced a fourth race in case Sunday’s forecast was correct and it was blowing too hard to complete all the races, the fleet got away for the third race to another excellent start. However Xander down at the pin end somehow missed the mark so had to circle round to join the fray. As they came down to towards the leeward gate Julia was just ahead of Raymond with Steve, Robin Ebsworth & Alastair in hot pursuit. On the second round Julia built up her lead with Steve just ahead of Raymond. On the final round Julia was still ahead but then had spinnaker problems at the leeward gate which after tangling with Raymond as they rounded the right hand gate mark, allowed Steve who rounded the left hand one to cross the line just ahead of Raymond. Meanwhile, well done to Paul who came in a very creditable eight in only his third race.
After a General Recall, caused in the main by Xander whose steering lines got caught up and he ended up pushing most of the fleet over the line, the re-start of the fourth race, which saw the Black Flag flying, had the fleet holding back and spreading nicely along the line. At the end of the first beat, the leaders were Alastair, Xander & Raymond all very close; however on the second round, Steve choose the favoured leeward gate mark and it looked as if the race was going to be his again, but sadly for him it was not to be and both Raymond and Alastair crossed the finish line ahead of him. Nice to see Robin take fourth place.
Although towards the end of Sunday’s final race the breeze gusted around 20 knots for a short time, conditions were not nearly as bad as forecast so a full afternoon’s racing based again in the harbour was achieved. After a short postponement to let the last couple of boats reach the start area, the first race got away with only George Downer having to come back after being called over the line. On the first run Raymond, Robin and Mark Downer were very close, but on the second beat Raymond managed to get well away from Mark and the chasing boats, led by his son George and Robin who ended up finishing in third & fourth places within inches of each other.
Having had four races on Saturday, it had been agreed that only the first two races on Sunday would count towards the Guy Fawkes Trophy, so the final results hinged on outcome of the second race. With the sun now almost dead behind the line, not only was it difficult for the competitors to see whether they were over the line when the hooter went but it was almost impossible for the Race Officers to see if anyone was OCS. Made even harder as the breeze suddenly swung 30 degrees, a General Recall was inevitable as the front of the fleet were caught with nowhere to go to save themselves. Fortunately things went better for the re-start, which stuck with the P flag rather than the Black Flag and with split tacks up the first beat and the breeze dropping for a time to 7 knots it was Mark who was first round the windward mark closely pursued by George & Julia. Mark then got away from them on the second round and despite some very tight racing for the final two rounds, the chasing group of George, Xander, Julia & Raymond never really put him under pressure. At the finish Xander just pipped George and although she dropped back a bit Julia still came in just ahead of Raymond.
Another testing start for the final race of the weekend, and although it did not count for the Guy Fawkes Trophy, there was certainly no let up in the intensity of the racing. At the windward mark Raymond rounded just ahead of Mark, however on the second round, Mark was the right side of a huge lift and was comfortably ahead going into the final round. Having only been just ahead of Julia on the second run to the leeward gate, Raymond ended up a safe second with George in third after catching and overtaking Julia on the third beat to the windward mark.
With two wins and three seconds, Raymond won the Trophy for the second year running; Julia was second and Xander was third.
No racing next weekend; the next Regatta is for the Bailey Bowl over the weekend of 19th & 20th November.
Start of Race 1 (Saturday)
Start of Race 2 (Saturday)
Start of Race 3 (Saturday)
Start of Race 4 (Saturday)
Restart of Race 4 (Saturday) – Black Flag
Start of Race 7 (Sunday) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=byvRTTnEcPI
Run during Race 7 (Sunday) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWDILjAXzGk