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Cyclops 2022 May LEADERBOARD

Conwy Fife One Design 'A' Series Race 15 at Royal Anglesey Yacht Club

by Mike Hardie 24 Jul 07:43 PDT 23 July 2022

Forecast - Ffffresh to Ffffrightening

As the nation sweltered through the week, the Fife fleet were keeping a close eye on the weather forecasts for Saturday. Surprisingly for once they all seemed to agree that it was going to be windy with 20+ mph being a common theme. As we scrubbed on Thursday & Friday the 'will we, wont we' conversations had already begun. Saturday dawned with some drizzle and a breeze which didn't look to bad, so more in hope than expectation we set of for Beaumaris to see what the day held in store for us.

El Supremo for the day, Garth, decided that we would sail, we would have the planned crews race to the Gazelle and we would have a Gazelle start for the 'A' series race. That decision having been made 11 crews made their way to the pier with varying degrees of excitement / fear / dread. The closer we got to the water, the more evident it became, that the conditions were definitely on the 'sporty' side.

Number 5 (Pete, Andy & Tabitha) and 38 (Steve & Mike) Started the crews race, allowing the mobile catering and race control team to embark on the drive to the Gazelle to await the competitors. Number 5 had a comfortable win, no doubt aided by 38 deciding to find the bottom just past Gallows which meant they needed a tow off and subsequently retired.

After a postponement to allow all the fleet to get to the Gazelle (or was it to allow lunch to be finished?) course 27 was set, George, Cadnant, B5, Hwfa, B10, B8, finish. As the fleet prowled along the start line formulating starting strategies, or just avoiding each other, Number 30 (Girls Allowed, Gwen, Stevie and Jay) managed to find the mud and needed a tow off which sadly put paid to their afternoon.

As conditions were by now officially 'bracing', I have to admit that most of your reporters thoughts were to survival rather than the nuances of the racing tactics of others, so apologies in advance for errors, omissions or untruths.

Shortly after a reasonably controlled and clean start, the fleet split, with 42 (Henry, Stuart & Pippa) 5 and 38 leading the pack short tacking up the Anglesey shore and 35 (Hugo, Sasha & Bob) and 32 (Ioan, Steven and a lovely lady to whom I haven't yet been introduced) tackling the big island side. As the fleet sailed towards Menai Bridge, the gusts became stronger and very shifty, with control being an optional extra at times. Approaching George it became evident that room around the mark was, to put it politely, limited. Fortunately the fleet had spread out and 42 rounded a clear leader from 32, 5, 38,35, 22 (Roger & crew) with 29 (Trigger & G) 41 (Family Yates) 33 (Merfyn & Simon) and 1 (Martin, Catherine & Harry) bringing up the rear. The short reach to Cadnant saw no changes, and we commenced the long run to B5, not however before 5 had to tack after gybing to sort out the after effects of a spectacular 'Chinese gybe'.

After some initial hesitancy, spinnakers appeared and the fleet in various degrees of control steamed downwind, fortunately it wasn't a dead run and with the wind on the quarter, it was surprisingly controllable and comfortable, however as we passed Bangor Pier and left the protection afforded by the big island things became a bit fruity, but with wind and tide both going in the same direction it was an exhilarating ride. Problems arose for some as we met the breeze coming down the Ogwen valley, which turned the run into a reach for a while, but most had sufficient room to bear away to keep control. 41 suffered a nasty broach as they approached B7 and 33 who were behind thought 'must avoid that' only to be laid flat shortly afterwards.

As we approached B5, common sense reared its ugly head and we all got spinnakers down carefully and in good time. As 42 rounded B5, shorten course was indicated by Race Control Central, to the relief of all. 42 held on to win from 5, with 32 taking the last podium place, after that the order was 38, 35, 29, 22 and 41. 1 & and 33 retired.

Thinking our problems were now over, it was at this point that the *'OMG, WAAGTD' gusts (40 mph recorded at the Lifeboat station!) started to barrel down from Bangor making Picking up the moorings an interesting exercise in both seamanship and strength. Various Techniques were employed with varying degrees of success, indeed several nameless members of the fleet needed the assistance of the ever present Guy and Arwel to 'rescue' them from tricky situations.

All in all a day to remember and a reminder of just how good a designer Mr Fife was. As always thanks to those who enable us to race in these conditions and thanks also due to the ever smiling bar staff who were on hand to serve pints of much needed medication, to all who needed it.

*Oh my God, we are all going to die!

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