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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2022 - Day 5

by David Harding 1 Sep 23:42 PDT 28 August - 2 September 2022

Although there's still a day to go, the top boats in several of the Poole Week fleets have already secured their victories.

For some it might come as a relief not to have to battle with fickle easterlies for another day. That said, the breeze in the main part of the harbour on Thursday was a good deal steadier than earlier in the week, even if it was on the light side most of the time. And compared with the fleets racing from the committee boat line in the harbour's Top Triangle, those starting from the Parkstone Platform had nothing to complain about. To the west of Brownsea the wind was so light and shifty that the ILCA 6s and 7s, Flying Fifteens and RS200s only managed one race. The crews who won might have been happy, but a significant number of the top boats were down the pan and generally it was considered a race to forget.

The day's action was very much centred around the Parkstone Platform, and it was in these fleets that several of the week's winners were decided. Some even had the luxury of being able to discard a first place - or, in the case of Steve and Ally Tyler in the fast handicap fleet, two of their nine first places. Their Merlin Rocket has an unassailable lead in the overall standings, while Nick Scroggie and Mimi Gorringe, also in a Merlin Rocket, are looking comfortable in second, ahead of the MRX of Mark Candelas and Julie Cronshaw.

Discarding only one first place, along with a second and a third, are Peter Stacey and Suzie Clayton in the Dart 18s - the only fleet to race up South Deep on Thursday. They have a 12-point cushion at the top.

The other boat that can't be beaten is Nigel Yeoman's Dolphin, though Gill Linford wasn't that far behind on Thursday and is now lying fourth, only one point behind Peter and Gaye Harris in third. The Dolphins might have been racing at Parkstone Yacht Club for longer than any other class, and are perhaps not always the first choice of today's youth, but the racing is still pretty keen.

Around the race course, the biggest challenge for some of the fleets - apart from keeping moving in the lighter patches, playing the tides and avoiding interference from boats in other classes - was the shipping in the main channel, especially when the Condor cross-Channel ferry arrived unannounced and the Parkstone RIBs had to engage in some rapid shepherding duties. Then, as on Wednesday, Medallia headed up the harbour, adding to the tactical decisions of the XODs that found themselves on either side.

In some of the fleets where the winners have yet to be decided, there's still plenty of opportunity for things to change. Despite not arriving for the first day, Geoff Cox's visiting Salcombe Yawl has climbed to third in the slow handicap fleet behind Nigel Pearce in his Fusion and, four points in the lead, Duncan Glen's Byte C11. Sean and Helen Murray weren't racing their Wayfarer on Thursday, leaving Jackie Dobson and Dave Mitchell to battle it out with the other top boats. They added a 2, 2 to their scoreline, sharing the day's honours with David Moss and Tom Dudfield, who came 3rd in the first race and won the second.

The XODs saw Eric Williams - who has the distinction of having won the class in Cowes Week for three years in succession - score his first win in this year's Poole Week when he ran away with the second race. David Law had the best score of the day, clocking up a 1st and a 3rd to sit in second place overall behind Willie McNeill and Andrew Tredrea.

Friday's forecast is for more light winds. With the added distraction of activities in the sky from the Bournemouth Air Festival, those who continue to concentrate hardest are likely to find their beers tasting best come the end of Friday.

To find out more, including provisional results, visit www.PooleWeek.org

More photos on www.SailingScenes.com

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