sail-world.com -- Sailing for some plus lederhosen and dirndls on day 2 of Pyefleet Week
Sailing for some plus lederhosen and dirndls on day 2 of Pyefleet Week
Tue, 12 Aug 2014
Pyefleet Week 2014 - Brightlingsea, Essex - Hurricane Bertha was still making her presence felt on the second day of Pyefleet Week 2014 in Brightlingsea where racing could be run for just two of the ten classes. The racing is split into morning and afternoon sessions and in theory the Catamaran Handicap, Fireballs, Brightlingsea One Designs, Slow Handicap and Mirrors should have been on the morning shift for day two. Sadly the wind was still blowing at 20+ knots with occasional gusts up towards 30 knots first thing, leaving the race officers with no option but to cancel the morning session.
By lunchtime the wind had abated a little and although still quite puffy it was at least now sailable for experienced sailors in modern boats.
The afternoon schedule was due to include races for the Fast Handicap, Lasers, Teras, Wivenhoe One Designs and Cadet Handicap, however, it was agreed that the historic Wivenhoe One Designs and Cadets would not race on safety grounds. Racing was offered to the Tera Class, but the class felt that the wind was still at the upper edge of their preferred conditions and elected not to go afloat.
Ultimately just the Fast Handicap and Lasers (incorporating both standard and Radial Lasers) came to the line for a short and adrenalin fuelled race. The committee chose to use the more sheltered Club line in Brightlingsea Creek, rather than the Committee Boat, and set a special course that kept the boats in the river instead of sending them out into the more exposed estuary.
Just before the boats launched a wet and windy squall rolled across the race area, but in its wake the sun burst through and the wind dropped giving both fleets the chance for a lovely start against the backdrop of the receding storm's dark skies. The fleets remained closely bunched on the beat out of the creek and had to battle through some impressive tide driven waves on their approach to the first mark. But once through this, conditions flattened out again and the sailors enjoyed a great reach upriver before turning and hoisting spinnakers for the leg back into the creek.
The original plan had been to sail up to three laps of the course, but with another squall hoving into view, Race Officer Craig Bond wisely decided to shorten after one lap. His timing was perfect as the wind began to pipe up again just as the boats made their final approaches to the line.
In the Fast Handicap victory went to Chris Bannister sailing a Contender. From the start Chris had revelled in the windy conditions and he romped home to victory, beating the Merlin Rockets of father and daughter Andy and Sarah Bines in to second and James Spikesly and Hannah Chalmers in to third. Piers Lambert and Tim Bees in their Merlin Rocket had originally looked good for one of the top three positions, but a slight fumble on a gybe saw them taking an unexpected dip and, although they recovered quickly and without assistance, they could only manage fourth place.
In the Laser fleet Chris Rust and Ollie Newman both made great starts and then took full advantage of the rapidly ebbing tide to gain an early lead on their rivals. Ollie looked to have the upper hand but Chris got the better of him on the final let. Stephen Williams took third and Will Sunnucks fourth.
The Laser Radial Class had a really close battle with Oliver King eventually claiming victory from Peter Williams with Eddie Bridle third. A few Laser sailors were caught out by the gusts and at times big waves resulting in some capsizes, but, with the exception of one boat which lost its rudder, everyone was able to quickly self-recover and complete the race.
Back ashore, the sailors were in full agreement with the decision to shorten course as they had enjoyed the chance to race, but had no desire to risk equipment damage by extending beyond a single lap in a building breeze.
Post racing all the competitors came together again for a Bavarian Extravaganza organised by the Brightlingsea One Design fleet. With dirndls and lederhosen aplenty, an Oompah Band, much singing and Bratwurst sausages and sauerkraut for supper, all washed down with steins of German Beer, the evening was declared a roaring success.
Tomorrow's forecast is for further strong winds, but there is cause for hope that all fleets may be able to race. The race committee will once again review the conditions at 08.30 in the morning and will advise competitors shortly thereafter of the racing plans for the day.
Pyefleet Week continues until Saturday 16 August with daily racing for Fast and Slow Handicap, Fireball, Laser, Tera, Mirror, Wivenhoe One Design, Brightlingsea One Design and cadet classes. The racing day is split into two with the classes alternating their start times between morning and afternoon sessions. The only exception to this is Wednesday 13 August, fondly know as Big Wednesday, when there will be a Gold Medal all-in handicap race starting at 14.30.
PYEFLEET WEEK 2013
Brightlingsea Sailing Club
Race 2 11th August 2014
Fast Handicap Fleet
Sailed: 1, Discards: 0, To count: 1, Rating system: PY, Entries: 5, Scoring system: Appendix A
Sailed: 1, Discards: 0, To count: 1, Rating system: PY, Entries: 13, Scoring system: Appendix A