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GP14 Race Training and Open Meeting at Papercourt Sailing Club

by Sam Mettam 19 Mar 10:39 PDT
GP14 Race Training and Open Meeting at Papercourt © Sam Mettam

Despite a weather forecast which resulted in around half of the competitors who had been planning to attend decide not to, the half that did were treated to a day of race training with former world champion Ian Dobson followed by a day of good (if rather shifty!) racing shared with the Graduate fleet.

The race training on Saturday had a solid 20-30 knots of wind from the south west with the odd gust which was a little more! Ian Dobson ran a couple of excellent on shore sessions talking about strong with boat handling with a focus on tacking and keeping the boat upright and then some time on tuning. The 10 participants went onto the water in two GP14s and two powerboats, swapping over for individual one-on-one sessions in the boat with Ian or just watching and learning from the boat.

Sunday was the first Open meeting of the 2019 Southern Area Travellers series with four short races (three to count). A West-North Westerly wind at Papercourt is probably the most shifty wind direction, but we did have sunshine and 15 knots of wind, so still plenty to smile about. Race Officer and Papercourt sailing secretary Frank Brown set a course to allow for two upwind legs and a good number of races in the least shifty part of the lake.

In Race 1, Alistair Lambert & Caro Mitchell (Welsh Harp) lead to the windward mark followed by home boat Sam Mettam and Yasmin Hales. Mettam and Hales took the lead on the second upwind and managed to hold onto it for another few laps until Richard Ham and Yossi Shahar (Tolesbury) and Tomasz Szaskou and Nia Williams (Welsh Harp) sailed through when Mettam & Hales were stuck in a hole. The three boats then had some close racing until Mettam & Hales decided to try their hand at swimming instead of sailing having just retaken the lead. Szaskou and Williams then took the lead, but Ham and Shahar sailed through to take the first race of the day followed by Lambert and Mitchell.

Race 2 was sailed back to back with race 1. This time Mettam and Hales lead from start to finish and were able to create a relatively comfortable gap. Behind them some close racing ensued between Ham & Shahar and Macej Mattjaszsuk and Cathy Howard (Welsh Harp)(a special mention should be given to Cathy, who has only been sailing for three months) with Ham & Sharar eventually taking second place. The fleet then headed in for lunch made by club member Jill Hamment.

Lambert & Mitchell again lead to the windward mark in race 3 to be overtaken by Mettam & Hales who began to extend their lead a little. Some close racing in the battle for second to fourth ended after an early swim by Ham & Shahar. Just as race positions were looking settled, the rig tension of Mettam/Hales snapped on the last lap. The question was could they limp the boat around the course with a very 'billowy' jib before Lambert/Mitchell could catch them? Despite not having the ideal upwind sail shape, they managed to get to the last windward mark still holding the lead and although not able to hold the kite downwind, the National 12 style downwind jib trimming managed to keep them in the lead to the finish.

Mettam/Hales had to jury rig a new rig tension system in the middle of a hail storm which brought an increase in wind for the last race. Three boats were able to win the event going into the race; two of these (Lambert/Mitchell and Ham/Shahar) had an incident on the start line causing a crash tack and a capsize for Lambert/Mitchell. Meanwhile Szakou/Williams lead to the windward mark followed by Mettam/Hales who then went on to take the lead. Ham/Shahar then sailed through the fleet and began to pressure Mettam/Hales. If they could take the bullet, they would win the event. However Mettam/Hales held on to take the race and overall win with Ham/Shahar retiring later on shore as a result of the start line incident meaning that Lambert/Mitchell finished second overall.

Speaking on shore later during the tea provided by the members of the Papercourt GP and Graduate fleet, Caro Mitchell said "You can either let the shifts get to you or you can embrace them. We embraced them and really enjoyed our day!". Hopefully next year the weather will be kinder and we will be closer to the fifteen boats that were being predicted earlier in the week.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoClubHelmCrewR1R2R3R4Pts
1st14146PapercourtSam MettamYasmin Hales‑61113
2nd13603WHSCAlistair LambertCaro Mitchell242‑58
3rd14166TollesburyRichard HamYossi Shahar126(RET)9
4th13237WHSCTomasz SzakouNia Williams3‑542.59.5
5th1387WHSCMacej MattjaszsukCathy Howard‑533410
6th4166WHSCKeith StreetHannah Liptrot4‑652.511.5

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