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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2019 - Day 6

by David Harding 24 Aug 02:44 PDT 18-23 August 2019

Friday was the final day of Bournemouth Digital Poole Week and the sun was shining.

A warm and gentle 9-11 knots of breeze gave everyone a superb day's racing, and the fact that it was coming from the south east rather than the west or north west made a refreshing change: competitors found themselves looking at Poole Harbour from a different angle and adapting to shifts and wind-shadows they hadn't encountered on previous days. This applied especially to the fleets sailing on the Bournemouth Digital course, to the west of Brownsea Island.

Changes in wind direction apart, racing in Poole Week is always different on Friday. The fleets starting from the platform line off Parkstone Yacht Club are given their last points race followed - if they want one - by a crews' race, providing helm and crew with the opportunity to move to a part of the boat that might be largely unfamiliar to them. The Bournemouth Digital fleets, meanwhile, have two points races. The first this time was a triangle/sausage or windward/leeward course depending on the class. After this they were all sent on a beat to a windward mark near Pottery Pier on Brownsea, then reaching across the harbour to Stakes and on a couple of windward/leeward legs before finishing on the platform line conveniently close to the club.

Having already sewn up the Flying Fifteen class, counting 9 points from seven races and discarding one of their 2nds, Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts took the day off and allowed some of their competitors to have their moments of glory. In the first race it was Christina and Stephen Moncur who seized their chance. In the second, a newcomer to the fleet showed the old hands the way home. Stewart Bowen, crewed by daughter Jade, has recently moved across from the RS200s and ended the week with a 4th and a 1st.

New winners were in evidence on the platform courses too. After a row of six successive bullets, Steve and Ally Tyler in their Merlin Rocket settled for a second in the fast handicap fleet behind the ever-consistent Ian Duke's K1 but were still comfortable overall winners. It was business as usual in the slow handicap, Nigel Pearce winning for the 9th time in his Fusion. The bulk of those in his wake were Laser 4.7s and more Fusions, many of the latter sailed by members of Parkstone's 'Lady Picos' group as they're still known even though the Picos have been replaced by Fusions. Somehow 'Lady Fusions' doesn't quite work in this context.

In the other fleets, it was principally a case of those who had established a lead earlier in the week showing that they were just (or very nearly) as fast in half as much wind from the opposite direction. Alan Davis's 2nd place in the last race of the standard Lasers secured him a comfortable overall win. James Foster's victory in the Laser Radials was even more emphatic. Duncan and Lorna Glen ran away with the RS200s and Andy Hadfield crewed by Lucy Tyler sneaked home ahead of Steve Middleton and Chris Rowland by a couple of points in the RS400s.

One of the tightest fleets in terms of results was the Shrimpers, with Rod McBrien and Richard Gray each counting a win and a 2nd. McBrien took the series by virtue of winning the last race.

The XODs had finished racing on Thursday with Willie McNeill and John Edmonds both on 10 points. McNeill made no mistakes on Friday to win both races. Edmonds was unable to find a way past and concentrated instead on defending his two 2nd positions.

For all the competitiveness at the top of the fleets, Poole Week for many is and always has been about having a great time both afloat and ashore, and that applies whether you're at the front, bringing up the rear or anywhere in between. The fact that 177 boats were sailing in the harbour, representing 23 classes from 22 clubs around the country, says it all.

Bournemouth Digital Poole Week is sponsored by Bournemouth Digital - the name is a bit of a give-away - with welcome support provided by Zhik in the form of discounted kit and the eagerly-awaited daily draw for the Zhik goody bags. Support also came from Dorset's Hall & Woodhouse brewery, whose Tanglefoot ale had thirsty sailors making a bee-line to the bar on coming ashore.

In classic Poole Week style, the 2019 event was rounded off by the final prize-giving and Zhik draw followed by food, drink, music and partying.

Anyone who missed out this year needs to put next year's dates - 23rd to 28th August - in their diaries straight away.

Provisional results on www.pooleweek.org. More photos on www.SailingScenes.com

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