The first one day summer series at Draycote was held in light winds and rain on Saturday 10th September. Not great conditions but 23 boats signed on with a home contingent of 11 boats.
Race Officer Tim Case delivered the brief and set the usual trapezoid course. The conditions were light and a bit of a disappointment for the pie-eaters as Friday had been so windy. And also quite nice on Sunday. Typical. However, places could be lost and gained on all legs and there was close racing all day as commented on by a number of sailors.
With the wind shifting about a bit in Race one and everyone keen to get going, some were keener than others as we had two boats over the line, Howard Hawkes and Chris Tillyer. Chris went on to get two seconds and a third in the final race for third overall, so this obviously didn't put him off. Howard Hawkes was heard to complain that some of the sailors he has been coaching in his teach-ins are now beating him.
George Love sailed off to a fine win in race one. We can see his new boat has given him a new lease of life. Steve Sawford got second in race one and commented that the reaches were giving him headaches as he was concentrating so hard. This stayed the same throughout the day, as you needed to keep on the wind. Advantages were gained by holding the gusts for a few seconds more but quite frustrating when you stalled.
Rumour was that Paul Grattage threw Race 1 to keep everyone interested.
Ant Clay of Draycote commented that he wanted it to end there as he got his best result, a good solid 5th in Race One. Jenny Ball managed to park on the windward mark. Twice. Skills. But still a managed a good position after a good result of 6th in Race One.
Jim Bowie took third, and was looking forward to lunch. Kevin Kirby got fourth but I didn't catch him afterwards to get his comments.
Busy start line and a couple of port flyers including Ant Clay which caused a bit of hollering. Then a lot of boats converged at the windward mark. Always good to watch this stuff play out from a safe distance.
Derek James and Ant Clay got in a bit of a muddle and ended in irons. Not great to be a few boat lengths and on the lay line for them but the author managed to nip inside, whey hey! But then managed to hit the mark and consequently lost out during turns. Muppet.
The first four overall were all up there in this race with Paul Grattage resuming normal service. George love dropping to fourth and Chris Tyler second and Liam Thom getting the first of two thirds that pulled him up at the end of the day to fourth overall.
Quite a few of the fleet had got wet and cold in the morning and resorted to further layers for the afternoon. Jim Bowie had good results in Race One – a 3rd and in Race Two- a 5th, but went downhill after lunch with 8th places in Races Three and Four after his pie and chips. What sort of pie Jim? I’m going to avoid them too.
The start line had a bit of port bias and there was a collision at the start apparently. I am not sure what the record for collisions in six minutes is, but, well, it's embarrassing really. I hit Bill Hurr before the start, my fault [ windward ], then called starboard on Derek James after he tacked in my path [ his fault] and we touched, then same again with Steve Pell [ his fault ].
There has been some debate in the fleet about performance and weights of the new boats. Frankly we should investigate Newton's Law of Gravitational Force between any two objects depending on their sizes. In other words, the larger the object, the stronger the gravitational attraction. I.E. the increased mass of the old boats and helm is attracting other boats to mine. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
Derek James also had a moment in race three when after he had called starboard he got a non-committal "I know" and retorted "well get out of the Bl**dy way". How rude!
Dave Rowe made a rookie error and stopped and had a drink when he heard a gun just before the line thinking it was him and was pipped by myself and Tim Hill in race three. Dave was consistent though, his results were 9, 8 and 10. Tim also had a good event and grew in confidence once he knew where he was going.
The usual suspects were up the front. Paul Grattage, Chris Tillyer and Liam Thom. George had his discard on this race only managing 7th.
Steve Pell from Draycote had the best start ever. Right up to the point when he realised he was a minute early. He maybe needs some lessons in setting his watch and start practice. Always a giveaway when no one else is on the line Steve.
We all almost hiked as the wind picked up slightly. When I say we I really meant the lightweights. Ed Tuite Dalton mentioned race 4 was one lap too long as we did three laps. I think he was overtaken by Jim Bowie or Steve Sawford or both.
Peter slater thought he had weed round his rudder as he was getting stuffed in Race Four from a promising position in at the windward mark down to 11th.
Top 3 in race 4 were the top 3 overall. Paul Grattage, George Love and Chris Tillyer.
Thanks to Race Officer Tim Case and his assistants Dave and Richard for running the event and particularly for turning the races round quickly.
Man of few words Paul Grattage noted at the prize giving there were a few new faces and encouraged them to keep coming to Graffham and the winter series.
In particular new fleet member Dave Warnock was pleased to not be last in a couple of races, which is always positive.
By Jan Elfring
Pictures by Malcolm Lewin malcolmlewinphotography.co.uk
Full Series Results available here