Flying Fifteen's attended the Datchet Open meeting.
After a pretty challenging day of light breezes on the first day, the met office served up… the same again for day two… we did get three races in though.
Our Fleet Captain had a crew no-show, and retired home sulking – leaving twelve boats to race.
We started the day with the Saturday results on the wall – basically it was Brett/Jonathan, Ian/Mervyn and Richard/Howard in 1,2,3 in each race.
For the first Sunday race, Howard and Richard found the breeze up the first leg and rounded well ahead of the pack – and that’s where they stayed half a leg ahead for the first two laps. Coming up the final beat though they fell to a hole on the left (!) and at the rounding Brett and Jonathan were suddenly right on their heels, with Matthew and Andrew a metre behind that. Along the first reach of the last lap Brett and Matthew trampled past leaving Howard and Richard in third – and that’s how they all finished ahead of Mark and Tony in fourth. The breeze was pretty challenging for the next race as well. Ian and Mervyn successfully boxed Howard and Richard out on the line putting paid to their day! This one went to Brett/Jonathan, Matt/Andrew and then the Admiral and VC were third. Ian and Mervyn, right up in the hunt at all times, were fourth. It was all a bit exciting for the VC who had to have a lie-down on the foredeck – then the RIB took him away for a longer rest (all fine now though!!). So that was the end of their day. Race 3 saw several eager beavers over the line at the start, Howard and Richard, Andy and Mark included. As that carnage sorted itself out, it was ex-Flying Dutchman sailors, Tony and John, in their first weekend in a Flying Fifteen who set the pace. They simply blasted into the distance and not even the magic of Dr Dingwall could get close. They finished way ahead !! Brett/Jonathan were followed home by Matt/Andrew, and Ian/Mervyn.
Overall, Brett and Jonathan won the event by a handsome eight points from Ian and Mervyn. Two points behind in third, were Howard and Richard, who also receive the Veuve de Vernay Trophy for best Datchet Club Team – at least they will when Mark and Tony bring it back!!
Datchet Open Meeting Day 1
The forecast was dire – and sure enough when we all got there it was flat, grey, breathless and pretty horrible. The first coffee was tackled around midday. It was great that Sue Bannister popped by – and we had much to talk about. I think in all we had ten boats, but the PRO sensibly postponed until 1430. Around 1pm, people started drifting away until only 5 boats were left.
Around 2pm, the Wind God woke up, saw all the lethargy and said, 'Ha!!' …. and turned the breeze on. A lot of the afternoon was raced in 8-12mph of wind. We launched around 2pm and the course was laid and running by 3pm. We got two great races in – lots of passey and overtakey pieces to each race. It really was very close, especially on a number of the corners. I complained to Brett that he might not have known we were overtaking each other all afternoon, for out front he looked almost lonely. The rest of us had a ball though. Really plenty of close passing and luffing – even lunge-ing!…
I have a suspicion that the five of us finished the races each in the same order. Brett and Jonathan first, then Ian sailing today with Mervyn was second, followed by Richard and Howard, The Admiral and Alan Atterbury – and the Russian boat…. The Admiral and Alan tussled endlessly with Howard and Richard – we had a blast of a time. Terribly closely matched…
I counted at least five teams who thought it was blown off for the day. Pity for them – I expect we’ll get a good turnout tomorrow, but they’ll all be counting a DNC by the end of Sunday.
The big issue is of course the turnout. We’ve been getting larger turnouts for Fleet Racing on Sundays through the cold months… On the broader front, the Midwinters had eighteen boats in 2010 and in 2011 had six. Bewl, admittedly hosting the inlands in 2010 had forty eight, and in this year had twelve. Datchet had fourteen in 2010 and this year, at least today – we had ten. Maybe more tomorrow…. We’ll see. I think the Bewl team feel it was the poor weather forecast that kept their visitors away. I’m sure we shall be saying the same, but we’ll track Open Meeting attendances carefully this year. I just have a nagging feeling from something that Alan Bax said to Non-Dom, that fuel price is now an inhibitor to Open Meeting travelling. Lets hope at least that Club turnouts increase correspondingly…. We’ll see.
In the meantime, the clocks go forward, so watch out tomorrow. First race at 1030 – or 0930 depending how you look at it….!
Full results will be posted at www.flyingfifteen.org