Miles Roebuck (Race Officer and Rear Commodore) welcomed the 5 visitors and 1 local to Oxford S.C. on what was due to be their penultimate Winter TT. The largest possible square course on Farmoor Reservoir was set for 3 races back to back, each race lasting about 45 minutes.
Contrary to the preceding months, it was a decent breeze as the fleet set off and enjoyed a great sail about in the start area, relishing that it was less than 40 knots for change.
Then the start gun went and the wind dropped and suddenly the fleet found themselves sitting on their front beams, trying not to moan about the fact the wind was too light!
Ed Tuite Dalton made the best of these conditions taking the lead at the first mark and holding on to it for the rest of the two lap race. Behind Ed, George Love and Jenny Ball were having a good battle with Jenny just sneaking second place on the finish line. They were followed by Nigel James, Simon Hare and Bill Hurr.
For Race 2, the wind had filled in a bit more so at least we were mostly sat behind the shrouds. The fleet split on the first beat with Ed rounding the windward mark first, followed by Nigel, Jenny and George. A much closer race this time – but Ed went on to take a second win followed by Jenny, Nigel, George, Bill and Simon.
The breeze strengthened further for Race 3 and we even got to hike out. Which was a bit of shock to the system for those of us who had not been able to sail much recently. Ed again led at the windward mark with the pack close behind him. The downwind leg to mark 3 saw lots of tactics with Jenny and Ed taking each other very high from the layline whilst George endeavoured to undercut them both by sailing straight to the mark. Jenny just managed to get to the mark in front of Ed and George to lead at the end of lap one but Ed managed to get in front again on the windward leg and held the lead through lap two and into lap three. Jenny then got a fortunate gust that took her in front of Ed on the way to the second mark and this was enough for her to take a close win at the end of the race. Meanwhile, Nigel and George were having a close fought battle made more interesting by the wind swing that required a beat from mark 3 to 4 with multiple tacks to reach it without hitting the concrete wall! In the end, George managed to pip Nigel to take third place followed by Nigel, Bill and Simon.
Everyone headed home having enjoyed the day with the weather gods looking favourably on us (for a change!)
Our thanks go to Oxford Sailing Club for hosting the event, and Miles and his race team for efficiently running the racing. Thanks also to Simon Hare for organising and to his family for the shore-based support.
Report by Simon Hare.
Full Series Results available here