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Flying Fifteen Open at Datchet Water Sailing Club

by Angus Scott 13 Apr 23:16 PDT 9-10 April 2022
Datchet Flying Fifteen Open © Anthony Read

There was a feeling of lightness in the air as twelve visitors joined seven local boats for Datchet Water Sailing Club's 2022 Flying Fifteen Open on the 9th of April. A youthful spring morning and an encouraging force 3-4 northerly breeze both contributed to the atmosphere, as did the removal of nearly 100kg of lead from the assembled fleet under the watchful eye of class measurer, Simon Patterson, in accordance with the new weight rule.

With the breeze forecast to behave like a teenager on Sunday - staying in bed all morning and then not doing much for the rest of the day- race officer George Hoskins decided to sail four races on Saturday afternoon, rather than the scheduled three. That meant that the race team had eight starts to cram in since the fifteens were sharing the course with the Wayfarer's Inland Nationals, a feat that they pulled off with understated efficiency.

Race 1 picked up where the Ovington Inlands had left off two weeks earlier. Ovingtons winners, the two Ians, Pinnell and Cadwallader (4096), were on course for the win, having tacked onto a favourable header just after the start. Two more of the Ovingtons leaders were out in front with them: Alastair Stevenson and David Culpan in 3862 had tacked on the same header, while Shane McCarthy, crewed by Jeff Edwards in 4085, had sailed a blinder on the first downwind leg. However, some teething problems in Ian's new boat forced him out of contention leaving Shane to hold off Alastair for the first victory of the day.

By race 2 the increasingly adolescent character of the wind was beginning to assert itself, with wild mood swings that took crews from exuberant hiking to moping along with barely enough wind to fill the sails. Greg Wells and David Tulloch (4030) were first to master the capricious conditions, followed by Angus Galloway, helming Andrew Lawson's boat 4089. The Ians, having resolved their snagging issue, also started to make their presence count, grabbing third place ahead of Charles Apthorp and David Rickard in 4004.

At the start of race 3 Greg and David, keen to back up their performance in the previous race, pushed a little too hard and were OCS. Angus and Andrew pounced on the opportunity, taking their first first of the weekend. Shane was second, bouncing back from a disappointing ninth in race 2. Charles was also starting to build a head of steam, taking third.

Althorp's charge continued into race 4, after Andrew and Angus copied Greg's example and let the heady taste of victory lead them to the wrong side of the line at the start of the next race. The Ians were second followed by John Hanson and Helen Selden (4094) who had found an extra turn of pace after John had remembered that with rig tension, as with so much in life, you can have too much of a good thing.

The day ended with a crowded leader board and no clear favourite. McCarthy and Apthorp shared top spot, one point ahead of Galloway and Wells who were tied in second. Pinnell and Hanson were also in with a shout. It was all to play for.

As expected, the breeze overslept on Sunday morning. However, when it did show up it was a charming and well-mannered 8 to 10 mph, confounding the pessimists who had insisted it would never amount to anything. It had not entirely settled down, however, and still had enough mischief to make the racing interesting.

Most of the fleet looked at the pin for the start of race 5, but a last-minute shift squared the line. Angus and Andrew lead from the start and did not put a foot wrong in claiming their second win. Bret Dingwall and son Ben (3875) also showed good speed to round the top mark behind them but were then forced to go right and lost their position, letting John and Helen in for second and Charles in for third.

Another shift 30 seconds before the start of the final race sent most of the fleet back to the pin. Justin Warples and Jackie McKellar ignored the crowd however and were rewarded with good pressure up the middle to lead at the first mark. John and Helen followed them round and it stayed like this till the last beat when Galloway and Apthorp both went right while the fleet stayed left resulting in 5 boats jostling for the windward mark. Angus and Andrew won the battle, followed by Greg. John and Helen held off Charles's challenge to claim third.

Overall Results:

PosHelmCrewBoat NameSail NoClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stAndrew LawsonAngus GallowyPuffa FishGBR 4089Royal Thames YC6th2nd1stOCS1st1st11
2ndGreg WellsDavid TullochAgatha4030Hayling Island SC4th1stOCS4th4th2nd15
3rdCharles ApthorpDavid RickardFoof4004HISC9th4th3rd1st3rd7th18
4thJohn HansonHelen SeldenFlying Fifteen 40944094Datchet Water SC7th5th6th3rd2nd3rd19
5thShane MacCarthyJeff EdwardsFlying Fifteen 40854085 1st9th2nd5th7th5th20
6thJustin WaplesJackie McKellarSparks & Bubbles4033RCYC & RHYC3rd6th7th7th6th4th26
7thIan PinnellIan CadwaladerOh La La4096Northampton SC5th3rd9th2nd11thDNC30
8thAlastair StevensonDavid CulpanHavoc3862Datchet Water SC2nd7th10th6th10th9th34
9thRussell AbrahamsJulian SmithFlying Fifteen 38203820Chew Valley12th8th4th10th13th6th40
10thBrett DingwallBen DingwallTBA3875Rickmansworth10th11th8th11th5th8th42
11thBill ChardJosh PreaterFlying Fifteen 40694069Chew Valley8th10th5th8th12thDNC43
12thMichael ClappUna‑Jane WinfieldFlying Fifteen 40274027Datchet Water SC14th14th12th14th8th12th60
13thRichard JonesHoward ShawyerFlying Fifteen 40114011Datchet Water Sailing Club15th13th16thDNC9th11th64
14thMervyn WrightJon ChristensenFizzbuzz too3904parkstone YC16th12th13th16th15th10th66
15thColin WaltersCharles WaltersJoint Effort3652Datchet Water SC18th15th15th9thRET13th70
16thAngus ScottPhillip SnowdonFfizzbuzz3536Datchet Water SC11th17th14th15th16th14th70
17thPeter CardStephen Cardcrews missile3969Cowes Corinthian Sailing Club13th18th11th13thDNCDNC75
18thIan DukeSimon EtterWeekend Adventure2260Datchet Water SC17th16th17th12th13thDNC75.5
19thSimon KnellerAshley PainterReally Flying4024GWSCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC100

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