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Melges 2023 - Melges 15 LEADERBOARD

Bournemouth Digital Poole Week 2023 – Day 4

by David Harding 24 Aug 01:38 PDT 20-25 August 2023

Wednesday was another glorious day in Poole Harbour. The sun shone, which is always a good start. And the wind, though it never matched Tuesday's 12-15 knots, was a perfectly sailable-in 7-9 knots. Importantly for the race officers, it also stayed relatively consistent in direction, rarely deviating far from 145 degrees.

That didn't stop the pin end from being favoured for the starts from the Parkstone Platform, however. Boats approaching from too high in both the XOD and Shrimper fleets found themselves with nowhere to go, having to circle round and start late.

For David Lack, who was squeezed out in his Shrimper, that didn't really matter. He started last but immediately tacked off to the right, which he had planned to do anyway. A good beat put him ahead of the boats that got involved in 'a bit of a fracas' at the windward mark, allowing him to pull through into the lead on the next leg and stay there to take the gun. Richard Hornby, who had won the first race on Sunday, had to settle for fourth, leaving him two points adrift in the overall standings.

Showing exactly how to do it, John Tremlett nailed the XOD start right on the pin in the first race but still recorded his lowest place of the series, a discarded fifth. A second in the second race keeps him five points clear of fellow Itchenor sailor Penny Fulford.

Positions changed in the Wayfarers on Wednesday after two races that saw a good deal of shuffling throughout the fleet. The consistent element was Sean Murray who, sailing with his seven-year-old son, James, won both races in convincing style. Crewed by his older son, Alex, on Tuesday, Murray had scored a first and a second and those results, combined with Wednesday's two bullets, moved him four points clear of Ian Sargeant after two discards.

It was definitely a day for young lightweight crews. Having helped his dad, Will, to a second and a first when they last raced on Monday, nine-year-old Reubyn Storey went one better this time as they came home with two 1sts. Peter Loretto and Lily Tointon still hold the top spot after a second in the second race.

The lighter winds saw new faces at the front in the ILCA 6s, through the winner of both races, Roberta Hartley, has never finished lower than fourth all week. Robert's husband, Andrew, has also been having a consistent week in the ILCA 7s and is currently lying fourth. At the top of the table, Alan Davis's 2, 1 on Wednesday increased his lead to six points after eight races.

An equally consistent pattern is emerging in the Flying Fifteens, Richard Whitworth having won the last three races to establish a four-point cushion at the top. The Fifteens are going to have to be on their best behaviour from now on, because the number of OCSs and general recalls prompted the use of the U-flag on Wednesday. That wasn't enough, so the fleet will now be starting under the black flag.

The ILCA 6s have moved on to the U-flag following a fair amount of over-eagerness on the start line, but the more orderly approach of the ILCA 7s and RS200s means that they have not yet needed to be disciplined. Efficient starting sequences, quick turnarounds between races and minimal hanging around is what race officer Fi Linford has been aiming for and achieving.

How the race officers and competitors will handle the next couple of days will be interesting to see. If the forecast is to be believed - and, given recent form, that's a very big 'if' - a more unstable north-westerly airflow is moving in on Thursday. Will the cream still rise to the top? It normally does, but there might be a few more challenges along the way.

Provisional results on

Photos on

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