Saturdayís weather forecast promised good winds and not much sun- it was right, though a number of sailors underestimated how cold you can get whilst on the water.
Three races were planned for Saturday, with the first start due for 12 noon. Race Officers Pete Roberts and Martin Solomon set a square course, with a gate. In F3/F4 winds, most of the fleet were ready for the off but Erling Holmberg was caught napping, taking a rest on his trampoline. When he did realise his mistake, he set about chasing the pack like mad, but with well over a minute to make up he needed to try hard. At the end of the 1st lap it was Stewart Pegum leading from Gordon Goldstone, but with Erling very close behind. Erling took the lead early into the 2nd lap, but Pegum found a way past, leaving Erling 2nd and Gordon Goldstone 3rd. Just before the finish of the race ODCís Mike Sewell saw his tiller extension fall overboard as the rivets on the universal joint failed. Luckily he made it back to shore OK, and was able to borrow a replacement to keep going for the afternoon.
The fleet returned to the beach for a quick lunch break, and was back out again in record time. Weather conditions hadnít changed much, but possibly the wind was closer to F4. Erling had the bit between his teeth for Race Two, and got a good start, but was chased pretty closely by ODCís Chris Rickard and that Goldstone man again. They were all flying hulls on the reaches, and enjoying some good surfing on the downwind leg, which was almost exactly dead down wind. Erling managed to keep in front with Chris Rickard 2nd and Gordon 3rd again.
Race Three followed the same pattern at the front, but in the chasing pack, ODCís Terry Nowell provided some good spectator footage of a 90 degree capsize near the windward mark, finished off by an elegant forward flip on to the tramp as the boat came up. 9/10 was the consensus score from the shoreline spectators.
Notable antics seen from the shore included Keith Chidwick making a memorable rugby tackle on to the rear of his fifteen, as it sailed away helmless from the beach before the 2nd race.
So at the end of the first dayís racing, there were no boats damaged, a few tired limbs, and some good appetites built up for the traditional ODC BBQ. A few hardened helms then adjourned into a local hostellery to relive the day once more.
Sunday dawned with the sun putting in a welcome appearance, and the late night revellers didnít appear to worse for wear. (Well done to Alan Welman for keeping them under control) With a further two races to go, Erling needed to keep in front of ODCís Chris Rickard. Unfortunately the sunshine had brought lighter winds from the North West. At times it dropped to a low F2, otherwise up to a max F3. To compensate there was a much calmer sea than on Saturday.
ODC had two new sailors on the water, but had also lost two overnight, so overall numbers were unchanged. Race 4 saw a good close start, with all boats on port. Erling powered off towards the windward mark, followed by Goldstone and Bartlett. The latter two intended to round to port, whilst Erling went first and went round to starboard. There followed a rapidly conducted debate about what course we were sailing, and the relative merits of the two opposing views. Eventually all decided that starboard rounding made the only sense, so several boats had to back track to pass the mark to starboard. Meanwhile Erling was steaming off at full speed. There was quite a lot of swapping of places in the lower orders, particularly down the run and on the two fetches. Phil Wicks got tangled up making a last minute change of course to go thru the gate, and managed a 360 degree capsize- providing the rescue boats with their only customer for the day. Erling was first again with Gordon Goldstone 2nd followed by Stewart Pegum 3rd. ODCís Chris Rickard picked up from being last one stage, to come in 4th.
The final (and 5th) race saw the wind drop down to F2, and start to swing around. Several boats misjudged the drop in windspeed and were over a minute adrift crossing the line. Again a lot of changing of order behind first placed man Erling, with Chris Rickard storming thru the pack to take 2nd place. Keith Chidwick had the misfortune to have his mainsheet come adrift after the rocking it received on the run, and he could only watch as 4 boats quickly got past him, before he could put an emergency repair in place.
With four out of the five races to count, Erling Holmberg scored four straight wins to take the title of Sprint 15 Southern Area Champion. Chris Rickard came 2nd and Gordon Goldstone 3rd.
With no one opting to sail in Sport mode, all the results were out in double quick time, and all the travellers were packed up and ready to depart by 2.0pm
Full Series Results available here
Windsport Voucher Winners: