Despite the rather dismal weather forecast, nine RS Vareo's entered the Bollé GP Circuit event at Tata Steel over the weekend of 12/13th April, most of the entries from Tata Steel and Llangdegfed , with Cheryl Wood venturing south from Pennine sailing club and Richard Willows coming up from near Bude. With a very adverse forecast for Sunday, the OOD suggested sailing four races on Saturday so at least a series would be completed, and all the competitors readily agreed. Although not particularly deep, the reservoir is a good size and with the wind on the Saturday in the south, the OOD set a Windward/Leeward course with a beat 0.9 miles long, and with the wind gusting to force five, the first race of four laps left most of the fleet suitably exhausted. A prompt start at 1330 saw Andrew Davies and Richard Willows at the pin end of the start line heading towards the clubhouse where they picked up a lift on port which gave them a narrow lead at the first mark. Richard Willows built his lead downwind and Jeremy Symons overtook Andrew Davies on the second beat and these places held to the finish. Further back there were one or two tumbles in the gusty wind, with Andy Howard beating his son to the finish followed by Alan Clark and Cheryl Wood.
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For race two the conditions eased slightly, and the wind moved slightly to the right, necessitating a move of the windward mark and making a course at the middle of the beat more profitable. Richard Willows again squeezed ahead of Andrew Davies at the first mark, and had sufficient downwind speed to pull away, but the gusty conditions caused some gybing difficulties as Jeremy Simmons pulled through again to second, with Nathan Tweed finishing third, Alex Howard ahead of his father at fourth and Alan Clark seventh. The OOD rightly deemed that three laps were sufficient and the fleet went home for a very necessary refuel of a large plate of baked potato and chilli beans!
Over lunch, Cheryl downsized to the storm sail, but to everybody’s surprise the wind dropped considerably as the afternoon progressed and by the end of race four, it was clear that it would be difficult to complete another lap. Richard Willows showed good speed in the lighter conditions to win the next two races, but had to work considerably harder with several boats including Nathan Tweed showing good speed up the first beat but finding their tactics at the leeward gate letting them down. Jeremy Simmons was second in race three, third in race four; Andrew Davies third in race three and second race four, with Nathan Tweed fourth in race four.
Coming ashore at the end of the day all the boats were battened down for an expected storm, so competitors were quite surprised when Sunday dawned with very sailable conditions. The wind had moved to the South West so the course configuration was changed with a start line just off the clubhouse shore. On the first start, Richard Willows was clearly at the wrong end and was in penultimate place at the first mark, with Jeremy Symons leading, followed by Howard father and son, and Andrew Davies. Simmons extended his lead at the first gate, with Willows picking up to fifth place at the gate. On the next beat Willows took some good shifts and just squeezed ahead of Symons at the windward mark but took the wrong course downwind to allow Symons to regain the lead. On the next beat Willows overtook Symons as they went through the start finish line and this time remained ahead to the end of the race. Andrew Davies headed the Howards to finish third.
Race six showed the wind starting to move more to the right, but on the first beat the Howards picked up a shoreline shift on port to squeeze ahead of Willows at the first mark with Alex in the lead. However they sailed a little too far on starboard before gybing and allowed Willows to take the lead. Jeremy Symons retired feeling the effects of heavy night that included moving migrating frogs off the road (!), and the final lap turned into a fetch followed by a broad reach. So a clean sweep for Willows, with Jeremy Symons second, Andrew Davies third, and Alex Howard fourth. Very many thanks to Tata Steel Sailing Club for hosting a good weekends sailing and the enthusiasm and competence of the OOD team and catering staff was much appreciated and I’m sure the Vareo fleet will look forward to returning another year.
|Rank||Sail No||Helm Name||PY||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||Total||Nett|
|2||604||Jeremy Symons||1052||2.000||2.000||2.000||3.000||2.000||(8.000 DNF)||19.000||11.000|
|DNQ||275||Alan Clarke||1052||6.000||7.000||8.000||7.000||(10.000 DNC)||10.000 DNC||48.000||38.000|
|DNQ||579||Cheryl Wood||1052||7.000||(10.000 DNC)||7.000||8.000||7.000||10.000 DNC||49.000||39.000|
|DNQ||607||Mark Govier||1052||(10.000 DNC)||10.000 DNC||10.000 DNC||10.000 DNC||8.000||6.000||54.000||44.000|