2014 Pyefleet Week - It was family fun day at Pyefleet Week 2014 on Friday where all the classes enjoyed great racing afloat and shore there was fun and games for all throughout the day and into the evening.
In the morning session, which offered a north westerly of eight - fourteen knos, racing was run for the Cadets, Fast Handicap, Laser, Laser Radial, Tera and Wivenhoe One Design Fleet. Brightlingsea Sailing Club's cadet programme has always been very strong and their coach-supported Cadet racing during Pyefleet Week is hugely popular. Pyefleet Week is the third week of sailing that most of the cadets have been involved with in Brightlingsea this summer.
The cadets' summer holidays kick off with Cadet Activity Week at the Colne Yacht Club, where sailors of all abilities enjoy a week of fun and games in their boats with the emphasis on simply enjoying being on the water and encouraging beginners to get involved. This is followed by Cadet Racing Week, which is a joint operation between the Colne Yacht Club and Brightlingsea Sailing Club and offers the cadets their own mini championship week where coaching support is on hand and racing skills are honed. So by the time we get to Pyefleet Week even those cadets completely new to sailing are able to really enjoy being a part of the big regatta.
At the front of the Cadet Handicap fleet Alexander lightly is leading the way in his Topper with 6.5 points from fellow Topper sailing Brandon Hastings on nine points, with Ben Eeles in a Laser Radial third on twelve points and Alex Button fourth on 16. The quality of sailing is excellent at the front of the cadet fleet and the final day showdown for podium places is going to be exciting.
But it's not all about front of the fleet victory in the cadets. For some just taking part in your first big regatta or getting around your first race course is what it's all about. Friday saw two cadets achieving big personal firsts. Nine year old Lucy Ryan crewed her first proper race for Katie Hare in a Topaz and not only enjoyed every minute of it, but looked utterly confident and at home in the boat doing it. And tiny Amelie Hiscocks put in a stunning effort to sail her first ever race in her Optimist (with a little bit of coaching support from Dad Simon Hiscocks who kept a watchful eye on her from his paddle board). The smile of happiness on Amelie's face at the finish said it all.
With just one more race to go we are all set for some nail biting finishes in the adult classes too. In the Laser Fleet the battle between Chris Rust and Ollie Newman sees them separated at the top of the leader board by three points with Stephen Williams trailing two points behind and Richard Herbert still in contention for a podium place.
The Laser Radials are equally tight with Eddie Bridle leading Gary Pilgrim but a single point with Ollie King, who made a stunning port tack start in Friday's race, just two points adrift in third and Peter Williams close behind in fourth.
In the Tera's Matt Smith has a five point lead over nearest rival Blake Tudor with Max King third, but Issy Taylor-Jones, who had struggled in the windy conditions earlier in the week, could set the cat among the pigeons with a late charge for the podium after she won Friday's race.
Chris Bannister's consistency in the Contender is paying off and although he finished third in the race, his worst result of the series, which he promptly discarded, he continues to lead the fleet with a three point cushion over cadet sailors Tom and James King in their SL16. The Merlin Rockets of Piers Lambert and Tim Bees and Andy Bines and Sarah Bines hold third and fourth respectively and both are still in striking distance of podium places.
George Brown and Ben Sharp have dominated the Wivenhoe One Design fleet this week and their straight wins scoreline sees them safely home to victory with a day to spare. Nick Blower and Dan Twyman are also safely home for second overall, but the final day battle for third place in the class should be a good one between Nigel and Peter Cook and Chris Osborn-Jones and Kieran Smith.
The afternoon session got off to a pretty strange start weather wise. With a good 12-16 knots from the north west blowing the race committee got the Cat Handicap and Fireball fleets away promptly. The Brightlingsea One Designs were a little over eager and had to be recalled and as they came back to the line the wind suddenly began to drop rapidly. Within just a few minutes the sea in the start area was almost mirror like and there was not a breath of air. Looking up river the Cats and Fireballs initially held their breeze but it wasn't long before it destabilised and petered out and before long everyone was bobbing on the glassy sea. It took a little over and hour for the wind to reappear, when it came in strongly again for the north.
The Cats and Fireballs finally reached the new breeze and in the Cats Henry White and Ed Redfearn went on to take victory in their F18 form Paul Mines and Stuart Smith in a Tornado with R Arnison and N Chandos third, also in a Tornado. The race results mirror the overall results and again the fight for final podium places will be a close one.
Pete and Tom Kyne took their third victory in the Fireball to secure the top step of the podium overall. Behind them Richard Etherington and Joy Adams and Benjamin Richardson and D Pennewll are separated by just a single point so will battle it out for second place.
Fresh from her personal achievement in her Optimist in the cadet race in the morning, Ameilia Hiscocks joined mum Melissa Heppell in the Mirror for the afternoon session and won their third race of the series and the class overall. Tim Bees and his daughter Katie came second.
The Slow Handicap is lining up for an exciting final day. Chris and Gill Jordan's victory in the race moved them up into second overall, just one point behind Simon and Fiona Gallow and two points ahead of Andy and Rebecca Bines.
Once finally underway the twenty two strong BOD Fleet enjoyed a spectacular and hugely challenging race. Once again Malcolm Goodwin, crewed in Cormorant by Ian Newman and Graham Sanderson, looked good for victory early on in the race, but once again the challenges from his nearest rivals proved to much to hold off. On the line Chris Matthews, sailing Rebel with Ed Gibbons and Sarah Bines, were first home, followed by Danny Fox sailing Egret with Tim Hearn and Bob Hedger, then Jeremy Newman in Avocet with Chris Rust and Ollie Newman and Malcolm slotted into fourth place with Alan Hicks, sailing Storm Petrel with Jayne and Craig Bond fifth. In the overall standings its going to be a terrific final showdown for this class. Jeremy Newman leads the fleet by a comfortably but far from unassailable four points with Chris Matthews second by a single point from Malcolm Goodwin in third. Two points further back in fourth is Phil Rust with both Alan Hicks and Danny Fox also still in striking distance of the podium.
As well as the fun afloat there was lots of fun ashore too with a lunch time session for the kids featuring face painting, juggling, balloons and general mayhem, and in the evening Friday Night was Family Night with a lovely relaxed sunset supper and fun and games on the beach.
The forecast for Saturday's final day of racing is for a force four to five with plenty of sun so we're in for a great finale.
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