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Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2023 – Day 3

by David Harding 22 Aug 22:30 PDT 20-25 August 2023

Super Tuesday: Sun, wind and sparkle

Everything came together on the third day of Poole Week. There was just the right amount of wind, the harbour was full of water, and the sun that the Met Office had been promising all week finally shone. It was a day when even those who didn't cover themselves in glory on the race course came ashore smiling.

Perfect sailing conditions don't mean that competitors relax, even if 15 knots of wind, flat water, temperatures of 20 degrees C and brilliant sunshine do make the job more pleasurable. As ever, the wind was wiggling this way and that and the secret was getting in sync with the shifts. That's exactly what Jon Gorringe and Kelly Aaron did in the Flying Fifteens, not banging any corners in the first race but playing the shifts up the middle to round the first windward mark with a lead of a size that's rarely seen in the hotly-contested Fifteen fleet. From there on they were free to sail their own race and were never challenged. A 2nd place in the second race - Richard Whitworth taking the gun - moved them into the lead overall by two points from Whitworth, who is tied on points with Bob Alexander and Huw Willetts.

Positions were shuffled around in the RS200s, too - not in the overall standings, but in the day's races because Paralympic medallist Niki Birrell, crewed by Eliana Edwards, put in a guest appearance to score two bullets. Both were hard-won. In the first, Birrell was pushed hard - and led some of the way too - by Peter Loretto, who is still tied on points at the top of the table with Dave and Jan Pointer, who were a close 2nd in the second race.

In the ILCA 6s (Laser Radials) it was the turn of Niall Peelo from Queen Mary SC to ignite the afterburners and come home first in both races ahead of overall leader Roger O'Gorman.

While the Flying Fifteens, ILCA 6s and 7s and the RS200s were sailing their usual regatta courses, the fleets starting from Parkstone Platform were given a short first race followed by an anti-clockwise circuit of the islands (essentially leaving Green Island to port, which meant rounding Brownsea and Furzey too). The exceptions were the Dolphins, who had a long single race taking in other parts of the harbour, and the slow handicap fleet, for whom the Round The Islands was the only race of the day.

One would imagine that local knowledge might be an advantage when it comes to negotiating narrow channels in the further reaches of Poole Harbour, but the fact that the three visitors from Itchenor filled the top three spots in the XODs suggests otherwise. Itchenor's Penny Fulford had won the first race in convincing style from John Tremlett, who then reversed the order in the second.

Local knowledge didn't stop an RS400 from having a rather-too-close encounter with a starboard-hand stake on the way around the islands, while one of the Dolphins went so firmly aground that it had to be towed home. That apart, it was largely a drama-free day. Normal service was resumed in the Dolphins, Nigel Yeoman winning to move to the top of the leaderboard. It was a similar story in the Darts, where Pete Stacey - crewed this year by Rosemary Crinion - notched up two firsts to adopt his customary top position.

Back ashore, after the post-race tea and cake, it was the turn of the Wayfarers and RS200s to listen to what Adam Bowers - this year's on-the-water coach - had to say to help them go faster. Studying photos and video footage and hearing constructive analysis from a top coach during Poole Week can, it seems, be useful even to Olympic medallists. Everyone agreed it was an hour well spent after a day as well spent as a day could possibly be.

Provisional results on

Photos on

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