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Weymouth Dinghy Regatta 2014

by Robert Smith 16 Jul 2014 12:12 PDT 12-13 July 2014

If the 131 boats competing in the Yacht Clubs of Weymouth Dinghy Regatta were all collectively praying for perfect conditions then the power was with them, as Portland Harbour and the bay beyond served up bright warm sun and SW 15-rising-18 knts for Saturdays fun.

Richard 'Woofy' Woof and his team were in charge of proceedings for the 4 classes sailing in Weymouth Bay, RS800s, Ospreys, mixed Asymmetrics and Cherubs, while PRO Billy Barker (star of video-link briefing) and team were managing the larger contingent inside Portland harbour – involving the Slow Handicap, Contenders, Scorpions and Fast Handicap.

After three great races with the classes cleverly separated on the multiple rhombus/sausage course variants, everyone was happy to retire to the balcony (more sun if needed!), and enjoy the huge paella and beers on offer.

When the two drips of pre-ordered rain encouraged everyone inside, WSC's Tim Bowden swapped Osprey crewing duties for floor games maître'd, with the star memories being Hugh Shone's athletic prowess on the ever decreasing paper pick-up test, Andrea Fellows and a worthy opponent from the 800s in the girl-v-girl press-up wrestling battle, and the ability of all the kids to be totally unaffected by running 10 times round a broomstick while many of the rest of us (this author & Hannah Tattersall specifically) headed sideways into the crowd (alcohol maybe?).

Sunday saw more weather prayers answered (17-gusting-22 knts and sun again), and many stern tests of stamina and gear. After 3 more full-on races for all, completing 48 start sequences over the event (amazingly including zero black flags), the wrap was put on a fantastic dinghy regatta weekend, details for all the classes are below and some longer individual class reports can already be found on Yachts & Yachting Online.

Full results: www.weymouthregatta.co.uk/dinghies

Thanks to the organizing team, all helpers and all the huge number of travelling sailors.

Slow Handicap

It was great to see the slow handicap fleet fielding the largest turnout of 26 boats and competitors of all ages, and equally encouraging that the score sheet showed that even the younger competitors toughed it out through the majority of races in challenging conditions, including club cadets Will Adler and Ollie Fellows who battled through the non-Topper friendly chop at the bottom of the course, with Will scoring a 8th overall.

In amongst the rest was a mini-fleet of 5 x 2000's, the highest placed of whom was Jo and Chris Ninham from CCSC in 4th overall. Similarly the 4 Enterprises were having their own in-fight with one of the 2 travelling teams from Midland SC - Paul Young and crew, coming out on top by some way in 3rd overall.

However at the very top of the results sheet were two local youngsters putting in fantastic performances in their Laser variants, the close numbers with a race win each, showing WSC's Cory Ronayne second in his Radial, and an overall fleet victory by Emma Bishop from CCSC in her 4.7.

Scorpion

More really tight racing was the order of the weekend for the quality 15 boat Scorpion fleet. With only 2 points separating 1st and 2nd, Barry Wolfenden and Rachel Rhodes have only one more place to go as they get increasingly familiar with the podium. Trouble is, they were faced with Pete Gray and Rich Pepperdine, who despite opening the door with a 5th in race 2, otherwise had 4 bullets to keep their winning record going.

There were local boats and sailors spread right through the fleet, from Emily White and Cara Jones who battled round their first open together to finish all but one race, to legends John Mursell & Nick Keast – who overcame severe match rustiness to secure 3rd spot including winning race 2.

In between Sandra Smith with Kate Gurner/Linda Wolfenden crew combo put the oldest (but arguably smartest) 'Popsy' in the thick of it against old rivals like Fast Eddie with Dave Elson as front man, and Jock & Andrea Fellows couldn't quite take 1st Woodie from the 'experienced' Kev Gosling and Andy Hayman in 6th, but did give a great OCS demo.

See full Scorpion results in a separate report.

Contender

As the largest non-handicap class competing, the 23 Contenders looked impressive blasting off upwind from the far corner of the harbour, before the long place changing run, followed by the rhombus lap with two fast and tricky reaches including the critical pre-finish lumpy reach.

Almost all the usual suspects were in attendance, and the class spiritual leader Ed Presley continued his improvement curve with a solid 5th, this time only one place back from Stuart Jones who despite a bullet in race 3, failed to capitalize on Sunday.

Fortunately for CCSC, Nick Grace was back (at least for the weekend) from Skiff duties, and boy was he back – seeming to have lost none of his speed and enjoying posting a 3rd overall. Going into the last race the top Highcliffe duo of Gary Langdown and Simon Mussell were sharing 2 wins a piece, but Simon managed to secure another open victory by 4 points with a bullet in the last race.

See full Contender results in a separate report.

Fast Handicap

The 15 boat Fast handicap fleet who were first away on the harbour course, were a mix of Merlins, Fireballs, Phantoms and RS300s (see separate RS300 report). Although well known CCSC pair of Barry and Mark Grant counted a bullet on the Sunday, they could not break into the top 3 which included another 2 other local boats. Alex Adams & Megan Pascoe filled the 3rd podium spot, visiting Fireball of Keith McDonald and Andrew Brittain put in 2 wins to finish, but could not quite match Jon Turner and Richard Parlsow's 9 point victory total in their red Merlin.

Osprey

The 12 Ospreys had the big bay as their big toys play area, counting as their Southern Area Championships, as they got some great practice for imminent Nationals, for visitors from clubs including Isle of Sheppey and Aldenham, as well as the 5 local teams. One of those being Kay & Kev Stibbs bravely putting their new red acquisition on the start line for the first time – another very different challenge to various Fastnets!

Third spot was a tight battle with Poole's Richard Marshall and Peter Greg just overcoming WSC's Terry Curtis and Nick Frampton. The top two spots had a slightly bigger points gap and although CCSC's Kev Francis & Phil Male got their rig sorted quickly after a costly 1st race trial and finished with a bullet, they could not upset the current osprey world order of things - with Martin Cooney and Peter Frith from Poole YC victorious by 5 points.

Assymetric fleet

Castle Cove featured very strongly in the 14 boat mixed Asymmetric fleet, and not just in overall numbers. Two local D-Ones fought it out with 3 visitors but despite Nick Orman managing equal points – countback saw Chew's Simon Hawkes just squeeze third place (Nick wondering why he introduced him to the class!).

3 races in the Bay on Sat left the lone Mothie Jon Peats looking broken, but pleased his Mach2 was in better shape than him in prep for Worlds, and elsewhere the visiting 14s had a bit of a torrid time with quite a few letters in scorelines. However, despite a solid performance from Alex Knights Musto to secure a clear 2nd, the runaway winners in their CCSC based 14 - Glen Truswell and Sam Pascoe, were able to discard a 1st – nice.

Cherub

It's always great to see the small but perfectly formed Cherub fleet descending on Weymouth, with what in the past has occasionally looked like Meccano/string/GRP puzzles to rig, but this time the 8 boat fleet drew passing comments from any who had not seen them recently, of "wow, these look a lot smarter than I remember".

The conditions in the bay took their toll (boats/bodies)to some degree and gave the tell-tale increase on number of DNCs as the weekend progressed, however 3 teams put in full series, with Paul Croote and Ed Highman from Chew discarding a 2nd to tidy their otherwise perfect scorecard and win handsomely. Andrew and Jill Peters from QMSC were a solid 2nd after picking up that last race win, and third went to Jonny & Alex Harris all the way from Dee SC.

RS800

Another big class turnout saw the 800 travelling circus number 18 in total, and as is becoming the norm for them – this was the closest finish after incredibly tight racing. Although starting with an impressive 2nd, Pete Barton and Chris Feibusch went up in numbers from there and then added bad letters when they left their broken mast in the dinghy park.

Andy & Allyson Jeffries flew the Netley flag also with a 2nd late on and despite an off form day 1, local heros Hugh Shone & Hannah Tattersall (both of evening games fame) steadily improved to snatch 4th. Despite a bit of temporary gate amnesia, James Date & Toby Wincer had done enough on Sat to hold 3rd, while Tim Saxton/Sam Litteljohn & Roger Philips/Will Crocker traded top 5 position blows to end up with Saxton/Littlejohn from Grafham winning on countback.

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