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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2021 - Day 1

by David Harding 23 Aug 03:28 PDT 23-27 August 2021

Having been forced to take a year out in 2020, competitors in Bournemouth Digital Poole Week were more than ready to get back afloat this year.

Further encouragement was provided by conditions for the first day of racing that might have been specially designed to tempt anyone on to the water. As the time for the first start approached just after lunch on Sunday, the clouds cleared and the breeze held up at an average of around 8-10 knots although, being from the north-west, it was far from consistent in either direction or strength.

This inevitably presented challenges for the competitors, especially during the second race for most of the fleets when the tide started ebbing and the wind became more patchy, with prolonged lulls and bigger swings in direction. While the front-runners occasionally found themselves sailing into a hole or on the wrong side of a shift, they mostly managed to work their way back into the running and the results after two races showed few surprises.

As is normal in Poole Week, the fleets were split between two courses. Sailing from the committee boat start line in the harbour's top triangle were the Flying Fifteens, RS200s and the ILCA 7s and 6s (Laser full-rigs and Radials as they used to be known). Further down the harbour, using Parkstone Yacht Club's starting platform, were the Wayfarers, Darts, XODs, Dolphins and the fast and slow handicap fleets.

In the Flying Fifteens, Crispin Read Wilson, sailing with Steve Brown, ended the day tied on points with Pete and Jo Allam, each having a first and a second. Jackie Dobson and Dave Mitchell ran away with the first race in the Wayfarers but fared less well in the second. Changes to the course in the run-up to the start caused some confusion among the fleet and team Dobson and Mitchell ended up sailing the wrong one and having to retire.

Strong leaders at the end of the day emerged in the Dolphins, Darts, ILCA 6s, slow handicap and XODs, all of which had double race-winners. As is so often the case, the closest racing was in the slower fleets. In the first race for the XODs, David Laws in Kyperini won by a whisker from Willie McNeill and then managed to put Tim Martin in Corisande between them in the second race to create a three-point buffer.

Sometimes, however, a lead of a few boat-lengths turned into several hundred yards in the space of a few minutes if one boat managed to sneak around the windward mark while another was stopped dead by the wash of the Sunday-afternoon powerboats charging back up the harbour. Such are the vagaries of racing in Poole on an August weekend, but the coming week should see less traffic and the weather experts promise good breezes and plenty of sunshine. There's much to look forward to over the coming five days of racing.

Provisional results on www.pooleweek.org and more photos on www.SailingScenes.com

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