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Flying Fifteen open meeting at Burton Sailing Club

by Tim Bird 16 May 04:41 PDT 13-14 May 2023
Flying Fifteen open meeting at Burton © Carl Avery

A light shifting breeze, a warm welcome and bacon butties greeted nine Flying Fifteen competitors to Foremark Reservoir on Saturday morning. The early weather matched the forecast so with the breeze expected to reduce over the two days it was agreed at the briefing to go for two pairs of 'back-to-back' races split by lunch on Saturday and see what the weather offered on Sunday morning. Windward-leeward courses seemed to be favoured by the fleet to give more opportunities to chase the fickle wind.

Race 1 started with Ian Shaw (Notts County) and Rebecca Goodall (Burton) rounding the Committee boat late, but with good speed to cross the fleet and lead at the windward mark from Peter and Robert Mountain (Blackpool & Fleetwood). Peter and Robert found slightly better pressure on the run to lead at the leeward mark. The breeze for the second beat went extremely light.

Local knowledge or a bit of luck saw Malcolm Hall and Martin Nelson (Burton) lead at the end of the second beat from Jeremy Arnold and John Allen (Notts County). Peter and Robert who had lost out in the second beat were not giving up and chose to go right down the run. It was a good decision as they lead by 70m at the leeward mark rounding.

Leading places were the same at the top of the course however a modest increase in pressure compressed the fleet with Jeremy and John moving into the lead followed by Peter and Robert and Malcolm and Martin at the last leeward mark. The leading places remained the same on the short beat to the finish.

Race 2 was delayed while the race team buzzed left and right to align the racing marks with the wind which for a short period sent the Committee Boat indicator dizzy before returning to its original bearing! The wind was coming in bands across the reservoir at reasonably even frequency but varying pressure, so positioning was critical.

Paul Watson and John Tildesley (Burton) pulled off a 'port tack flyer' from the pin end to cross the fleet and they continued to head right. The fleet split with boats that went left towards the dam wall losing out. GBR3733 sailed by Michael Harris and Sarah Harris (Blackpool & Fleetwood) were clear at the windward mark and pushed their lead out to over 100m from Paul and John and Jeremy and John by the leeward mark. T

he second beat was frustrating for all boats but not as stressful as the last run where the fleet was compressed while the leading three bobbed around waiting for the pressure to reach them. At the finish the leading boats were separated by only a few seconds but when the PY was applied the older boat sailed by Paul and John easily took first place followed by Michael and Sarah in second and Jeremy and John third.

Race 3 followed lunch but the wind stability had not improved. Following another clean start, the port end boats found themselves in a completely different wind direction heading towards the dam wall compared with those on the right.

Jeremy and John did their best to play the shifts up the middle which paid off with them first to the windward mark followed by Grant Pollard and Jessica Leek (Burton), Pete Needham and Tim Wilkins (Burton). At the leeward mark, the leading boats initially split tacks to try and make the best of the breeze but a shift in the wind direction towards the NE allowed the following boats to sail directly to the windward mark and rearrange the race order.

Malcolm and Martin were in the lead by the next leeward mark followed closely by Michael and Sarah and Jeremy and John. By the next beat the wind had stabilised a little and swung right to make the leg even. Michael and Sarah and Malcolm and Martin were very close when they approached the leeward mark with Malcolm and Martin just failing to establish an inside overlap. Michael and Sarah made the better rounding and took first place followed by Malcolm and Martin and Jeremy and John.

Race 4. The course was also set as a windward-leeward, but the wind had other ideas resulting in a one-sided beat followed by a close reach, so close towards the end of the leg that the leading boats dropped their kites early to make the mark. Fortunately, the wind trued up and freshened for the second beat however Michael and Sarah had put their foot down and opened up a sizable lead by the second rounding of the windward mark.

Most notable of the place changes in the following pack were Peter and Robert who moved through from seventh to second on lap two. The final positions were Michael and Sarah (by over four minutes) followed by Jeremy and John and Malcolm and Martin.

Sunday morning did not look great. Thick mist and almost no wind. The mist cleared gradually, and a light wind filled in from the West. A one-hour postponement was made to see if the wind stabilised or strengthened. It remained very light but marginally more stable than on Saturday.

Race 5. The fleet got away first time with Peter and Robert Mountain leading round the windward mark. There were big flat spots on the downwind leg with some crews gaining significantly by avoiding them. Wind strength improved for the second beat with both crew members sitting on the same side for almost the first time in the event. Peter and Robert continued to lead to the finish but not by far from Jeremy and John and Malcolm and Martin.

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stFLYING FIFTEEN3733Michael HarrisSarah HarrisBlackpool & Fleetwood421148
2ndFLYING FIFTEEN4091Jeremy ArnoldJohn AllenNotts County133228
3rdFLYING FIFTEEN3622Peter MountainRobert MountainBlackpool & Fleetwood2753111
4thFLYING FIFTEEN3768Malcolm HallMartin NelsonBurton SC3525313
5thFLYING FIFTEEN (Classic)2127Paul Watson Burton SC6187519
6thFLYING FIFTEEN (Classic)2660Pete NeedhamTim WilkinsBurton SC5468722
7thFLYING FIFTEEN3977Grant PollardJessica LeekBurton SC8646622
8thFLYING FIFTEEN (Silver)2864Ian ShawRebecca Goodall/Grace ShawNotts County7874 26
9thFLYING FIFTEEN3474Steve LockieRob StevensonBurton SC9999835

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