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Parkstone Yacht Club Flying Fifteen Autumn Series - Race 5

by Patrick Keats 2 Dec 2019 06:41 PST 30 November 2019

Gremlin - an imaginary mischievous sprite regarded as responsible for an unexplained mechanical or electronic problem or fault.

The forecast of Easterly 23 kts gusting 32 kts in chilly conditions weaned the fleet from its series high of 17(!) boats down to a very respectable turnout of 9. Though the forecast slightly overstated the wind strength it made no mention of the gremlins that were lurking around the windward mark, awaiting their unwitting victims with wicked intent.

PRO Hawkeye (Fi Linford) was assisted this week by the equally vigilant Geof Gibbons and Dick Linford. The course was a triangle / sausage around Lakeyard, Haven and Stans. Only 3 marks - compared to previous weeks where the multimark courses were taking up most available foredeck space for scribing purposes this was easy peasy - what could go wrong?

The fleet started cleanly and my hazy recollection has Graham Scroggie/Rich Whitworth, Jon Gorringe/Owain Hughes (welcome guests out in brother Chris's boat) and Patrick Keats/Jake Grant out in the lead. The Gremlins at the windward mark had started their mischief - applying a little knot in the bridle of the Gorringe/Hughes craft and a little mis-direction to the navigators of 2 boats (Bob Alexander/Huw Willets, Pete & Jo Allam) that had them heading to an alternative reaching mark. At the real gybe mark the little knot made its presence known giving Gorringe/Hughes an opportunity to appreciate the Flying 15's self-righting capability. Given the short cut they had taken, Alexander/Willets and Team Allam led the fleet at the leeward mark, trailed closely by Scroggie/Whitworth, Keats/Grant, Gorringe/Hughes.

The next approach at the windward mark saw the gremlins get busy once again - emboldened by their previous success they threw a mainsheet byte around the back of the boom of the Simon Spolton/Grant Murphy boat - being unable to ease the main for the bear away gave Spolton/Murphy an opportunity to demonstrate 3 things - 1) The underside of a F15 keel 2) Simon's new cockling technique of utilising the mast tip to rake through the mud to unearth this ubiquitous seafood 3) Grant's demonstration of the RYA capsize recovery technique as he followed the "scoop manoeuvre".

By the next lap the Gremlins had opportunity to bone up their rolling hitches which they applied to Keats/Grant by tying the mainsheet and spinnaker halyard together - though the effect was not overly dramatic the subsequent delay in the spinnaker hoist ended the duel with Gorringe/Hughes and firmly put Pipe/Jarratt back in to the strike zone - this led to a most enjoyable battle to the finish between these boats. Further ahead Scroggie/Whitworth managed to get ahead of Team Allam.

Once ashore, and having had the navigation errors highlighted, the boats which went round the incorrect marks retired with honour. The corrected finishing positions were therefore as follows:

Race 5 Results: (top three)

1st 4020 Graham Scroggie & Rich Whitworth
2nd 4025 Jon Gorringe & Owain Hughes
3rd 3821 Patrick Keats & Jake Grant

Another fabulous day of sailing, the weary crews enjoyed several reviving pints to recover and celebrate Jon's birthday.

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