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Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 7 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 4 Jun 03:27 PDT 3 June 2022

To tea, or not to tea?, that was the question

As one would expect with a Royal yacht club, the Jubilee gave us all sorts of ways to celebrate (any excuse for a party). With an afternoon jubilee tea organised (you can tell we are 'posh', the crusts were cut off!). As sandwiches were being prepared and the best crockery laid out and loaded with all manner of cakes for the great and the good who preferred eating to sailing, the sailors were preparing for another day on the water.

Our Commodore, Stevie (who must be obeyed) decided that it would be jolly good fun to have a sail past in recognition of the special day, and then made it even more challenging by insisting that we do it in numerical order and in fancy dress (an email most seemed to have missed!)! Guy, our Bosun was given the unenviable task of organising this, (our Vice Commodore, Trigger having Delegated/Dodged the task, some feeble excuse about having to work?) this task sounded as easy as herding cats, but if nothing else we are game for a laugh and anyway, what could possibly go wrong? As we had a healthy NE Force 3 to 4 and a boisterous chop to contend with, it looked even more challenging as we boarded and rigged.

At the appointed hour, Number 1 (Martin, Catherine & Harry) left their mooring and proceeded to sail the pre-arranged course, followed by another 13 Fifes, 2 MSOD'S and a cruiser. Miraculously, as time passed and as if by magic the fleet sorted themselves out and sailed past the line in the correct order, to the delight and lets be honest, astonishment of both the fleet and watching spectators.

With a nasty chop and a fresh NE breeze, the Race Officer, Garth and his willing minions decided that the programmed trip around Puffin Island might not be the best choice for the prevailing conditions and so course 14 (B4, B12, B8, B12, B10, Finish) was set and after a brief postponement to give us time to settle down and get back into race mode, the sequence began. With a tidal change likely at some stage in the race, the fleet all started at the distance marks and then split, one group taking the route over the banks and the other group heading for the Anglesey shore. Your reporter can only report on the boats that headed for the banks, as that's the way he went. 42 (Family Booth) showed early promise, as did 29 (Chair Jon, Tim & G), 33 (Merfyn, Simon and Guest), 35 (Hugo & the aforementioned Stevie) and 38 (Mike, who had by now removed his 'fancy dress' Pearly King outfit & Steve) who having recovered from poor start caused by indecision had joined the group.

It soon became evident that the Banks was the way to go, with those on the Anglesey shore falling away. The long beat up to B4 against the chop suited some more than others and arriving at the windward mark, 29 rounded first, closely followed by 38, who seemed to have found the quick button. 1, 35 and 33 were not too far behind, with the Anglesey fleet following on. 38 managed to pass 29 on the run due to slicker spinnaker setting (not something they can claim happens too often) and led the run to B12. Now as your reporter was in 38 his attention to the detail of what followed was limited, so apologies for any inaccuracies.

Again the fleet split, with the leaders, 38, 29 & 35 sailing straight down the middle and others heading back to Anglesey for another bite at the cherry, which sadly for them didn't seem to pay once more. With the leg becoming a very broad reach, the leaders were able to maintain there positions and rounded B12 in that order. With some adverse tide still running 38 short tacked past Beaumaris and then had a long Starboard tack into Friars bay, managing to hold of 29 and 35 to round first (by this time the stressed helm in 38, who was in unfamiliar territory, was sweating like Pavarotti in a cake shop) it's tough at the top!

The run to B12 saw no changes at the front and with the possibility of left overs from the Afternoon Tea in mind, Race control, having eaten all of their own cake, decided to shorten course and with a favourable tide at last, 38 covered 29 all the way to the line to take their maiden win of the season, 29 was 30 seconds behind, with 35 taking the final podium place. Finishing order for the rest of the fleet was, 1, 33, 7, 32, 41, 15, 30. 39, 42, 28 and 22 retired. So with 7 races sailed and 5 different winners its going to be a closely fought series by the look of it. Tomorrow's programmed race is the long distance race, all the way to Puffin Island, all the way to Menai Bridge and all the way back to Beaumaris to finish, could be a long day!

On a more sombre note, the line staff almost ran out of chocolate biscuits last week and if it hadn't been for a food parcel delivered on Friday morning, Andrew might not have been able to get his 'fix' Let that be a lesson to us all, we need to look after those who look after us.

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