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Melges 14 2019 Leaderboard

Osprey Southern Championship at Poole Yacht Club

by Pete Mallaband 22 May 11:19 PDT 18-19 May 2019
Osprey Southern Championship at Poole © Mike Millard /

12 Ospreys turned up at Poole for their Southern Championships on Saturday 18 May despite a pretty unexciting forecast. After various postponements, racing on the Saturday was duly cancelled. The Race Officer opted to bring the start forward an hour on the Sunday so that we could get the best of any breeze and tide, and if possible get in a number of 'shortish' races before the forecast calm set in at midday!

Sunday dawned with a light breeze, but at least it was sailable. The newly scheduled 9.30 start had clearly caught a few people unawares! The Race Officer held off for about 10 minutes, but then got on with starting the first race.

As always in light airs, a good start and clear air always help. After pushing the line hard, I was waiting for the recall, but it never came so had one my best ever starts, clear and clean off we go. Very shifty wind but going left seemed to work and keeping all the tacks tidy really worked. We got to the windward mark just behind 'String Driven Thing' and there was a batch of boats just behind us.

Off we go down the first reach, again, sensible kite hoist, no snags and although we weren't going to catch Piers and Phil, we were holding off the others. Needed a nice gybe, which was what we did and then down to the leeward mark. Great bit of crewing by Adam Watson who kept the kite flying and the helm calm tricky job! The next four boats Dark Matter, Great White, Prey Encore and Aquaholic were all playing against each other, so we were able to maintain our place!

OK first triangle done, now back up to the windward mark. Not many place changes as helms kept an eye on their rivals and almost match raced at times. Only the run to do now, we were still second, uncharted territory for us! Anyway again, a good kite hoist gave us a bit of space from the mass of four boats whose kites seemed determined to steal our wind. Fortunately we were just able to keep our distance and momentum and I suspect that the other boats may have had more impact on each other than us.

Anyway here we are at the leeward mark, across to the finish line and a welcome toot from the committee boat to signal a brilliant (my words!) 2nd place. Closely behind came Roger and James Blake, fending off Richard Marshall and Andy Clark, Joe Cross and Chris Playfair and Dave Best and Tony Pauffley. These boats almost went around together! Barking Mad followed in with Free Falling close behind.

Now for the second race, this time the Big Boys had come out to play!! Again a good start and going left seemed to pay. This time, however, there were some more boats in front of us!! Andy Barker and Stuart Maunder were now setting the pace in Peek a Boo with Michael Atkinson and Richard Bowers in Barking Mad just behind and Terry Curtis and Pete Greig in Plan B just behind them. I believe that String Driven Thing was also in that mix. We went around the windward mark in fourth or fifth place with the same gaggle of boats as in the first race all sniffing at my transom.

Places held on the reaches, which were set perfectly, tight enough, but not silly with the kite. Places seemed fairly static up the front, I was concentrating on holding my own position up the second beat. Went right for a bit, why would I do that? And when we tacked over to the left, a couple of boats, Grey Matter and Great White had snuck past. So we decided to go left again smart boy and regained our position again as we got to the windward mark. Here we go again, just in front again of that gaggle of four!

Now we were on the run, Richard had decided that he'd had enough of playing nicely so promptly nicked our wind and I believe the term is 'rolled' us. Anyway, once he got past we tried to do unto him, as it were. An interesting little race to the leeward mark but I couldn't quite get close enough for water on him at the mark. It was clear that it would be hard to hold the kite from the mark to the finish, so a quick drop and then whoosh, String Driven thing came hurtling through from nowhere, to finish between Richard and ourselves. The race was convincingly won by Andy and Stuart.

Setting off in race 3, the wind swung around a few times on the first beat and then died, it was time to go home.

Piers Strong and Phil Angrave won the event with a clear first in the first race, then a very important fifth in the second race to claim the overall championship. For me, I'll take my luck and my overall second with Adam and say thank you very much! Richard Marshall and Andy Clark took third.

Many thanks to the OOD, he managed to set the courses for the 30-35 minutes that we had asked for, so we could get as much sailing as possible. The reaches were perfectly set. Thanks to Poole Yacht Club for great hospitality, a fabulous evening of entertainment with DJ, singer and band. The on-the-water team was great, giving us a tow in when the tide started to get the better of us, and the on-shore team were brilliant helping us with trolleys etc and making sure we were tagged in and out properly.

Here are just a few of the things I learnt over the weekend. Be a bit bolder on the start line, it works! Make sure your boat handling is smooth. The boats were all pretty much the same speed, so it is down to keeping it tidy, no mistakes and trying to get the right wind shifts.

The Osprey Circus now moves onto Highcliffe on June 1st for the next Wilkinson Sword event.

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoClubHelmCrewR1R2Pts
1stString Driven Thing1352Poole YCPiers StrongPhil Angrave156
2ndCarpe Diem1365Bristol CorinthianPete MallabandAdam Watson268
3rdGreat White1373Poole YCRichard MarshalAndrew Clark448
4thBarking Mad1298Poole YCMichael AtkinsonRichard Bowers729
5thDark Matter1369Great Moor SCRoger BlakeJames Blake3710
6thPeek a Boo1322SwanageAndy BarkerStuart MaunderDNS114
7thPrey Encore1319Poole YCJoe CrossChris Playfair5914
8thPlan B1234Castle CoveTerry CurtisPete GreigDNS316
9thAquaholic1318Poole YCDave BestTony Pauffley61016
10thFree Falling1259Poole YCAdam DearyTracy Deary8816
11thBrave New World1310Poole YCMike RichardsonRichard KellawayDNS1124
12thOMG1362Weymouth SCEmma StevensonPete LloydDNSDNS26

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