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Medway RC Laser Club Winter Series at Barton's Point Coastal Park - Week 4

by Jamie Blair 11 Jan 01:50 PST 7 January 2024
Medway RC Laser Club Winter Series week 4 © Fiona Blair

New Year and strong wind again!

After a break for Christmas and New Year's Eve races postponed for high winds, we returned to our Winter Series with 6 racers. The wind had forecast 20+ knots from the North but for the first race a breeze of just under 20 prompted three boats to race with C rig and the rest on D rig.

For Race 1 all were close to the line to race the standard triangle/sausage course with the first beat and windward mark close to the café building - would there be a shifty wind to master. The usual boats jockeying for position around the starboard end of the line. Jamie Blair (51) managed the gusts with the C rig and worked his way to weather of the fleet from a mid-line position allowing him to tack across the front of the fleet (just) and lead at the windward mark. The cluster of boats behind were hampered by boats on the port lay line. This lead would not change. The mixture of rigs was marginal bur Mark Penny (03) came home in second with his D rig and Bob Woolford in third.

Race 2 was almost a repeat of Race 1 but with the best start by Tony Alexander (04) and his downwind speed with the C rig and only a wide rounding of the last mark allowing Jamie to get the windward advantage and take the win.

Race 3 was a repeat of Race 2, but Tony suffered the loss of his mainsheet following some snappy gybes.

Was there no stopping Jamie - yes Race 4 saw Mark winning but with Jamie coming from mid fleet to count a second. By this time a lot of the fleet realised that there was an advantageous wind bend between the start line and the windward mark because of the old café building. An early tack after the start reaped early rewards but with the wind strength it was still a degree of survival, particularly downwind.

After Race 4 the wind notched up a few more knots and a change of sail saw the whole fleet on D rigs. Jamie took the next three races with Mark and Tony swapping 2nd and 3rd places. Spencer Pope (62) and Bob were adding to the spicy moments at the start and windward mark. Great to see penalties being taken.

Race 7 ringed the changes with Mark to the front in the race. Jamie with contact and turns was always on the back foot. Nosediving, even with the D rig providing stylish but place losing moments.

At the break Jamie had a 5 point lead, Mark second and Tony just behind. Some sail tweaking of Bob's sail seemed to make him sail faster and a second in Race 9 a great achievement. Mark and Tony battling it out to the finish for 3rd and 4th.

Race 12 saw Mark and Roger Gibb (32) off the start line from the windward end and round the windward mark in that order. Jamie, Spencer and Bob in the second row at the start needed some hard sailing to make inroads on the leader - but not to be.

Race 14 was a close encounter with three boats on the second beat. Jamie trying to cross behind Mark on starboard failed and despite Mark covering the whole fleet a short time with boats linked spoiled a race win for Mark. He clawed back to record a 3rd, leaving Jamie spinning out his penalty. Roger took the opportunity to pass and take the win, closely followed by Tony.

Cold from the N wind drew the racing to a close with Jamie winning the day followed by Mark and Tony.

Our next Sunday racing is scheduled for the 14th January and we hope for less wind.

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