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Medway RC Laser Club Winter Series at Barton's Point Coastal Park - Week 9

by Jamie Blair 18 Feb 09:44 PST 18 February 2024

Rain or Nor Rain

Each weather portal in days before this outing showed something different for rain. Decision to race was never changed, even with the rain hammering down on the windows first thing. Nor did the road closures at M2 junction 5 deter eight racers arriving at Barton Point for the ninth round of the Medway RC Laser Winter Series. We welcomed Quentin Strauss sailing boat 58 on loan from David Townshend.

Wind was as predicted W at 15 kts. Race 1 saw the usual front runners with Jamie Blair (51) and Tim Townsend (45) pop to the front, challenging places all the way to the finish.

Race 2 saw the same two head to the front, this time from the pin end of the start. The wind picked up in squalls peaking at times over 20 kts and stimulating some very spectacular downwind nosediving. The beat posed a number of questions - where to start; going left took the boats in to rougher water and away from the windward mark, were you able to play the shifts and thirdly take the right side of the beat in less wavy water. Mid fleet place changes, especially from the early tack on to the starboard lay line to the windward mark where invariably there was a lift into the mark were often seen.

Race 3 to 5 saw the start of a run of firsts for Jamie. Not without pressure from Lucian Stone (75), especially in race 5 where Lucian led but a tricky gybe in a gust at the last mark opened a gap for Jamie to go through. With the gusts coming more frequently there was discussion about putting up the D rig. Race 5 saw that this wasn't the right choice with longer periods with reduced wind.

Race 6 saw Tim start at the pin end and push on to almost the port lay line for the first time to the windward mark; holding off Jamie and led at the windward mark. Jon Moon (84) now in his stride after a string of third places and Tony Alexander (04) pulling in some better results. Quentin in his first outing, on a steep learning curve but persevered through thick and thin. His eagerness at the start was not let go by the RO with a number of return visits to start.

Race 7 saw a new race winner with Lucian making the best of the first beat and despite some nosediving led to the finish. Tim and Jamie locked as usual until the finish.

Race 8 & 9 with Lucian now in control of his starts and spotting the shifts logged two first places. At the break Jamie led overall by a point to Tim, Lucian just 3 points adrift and Jon another 3 points away.

Race 10 brought Jamie back to the front and with Jon close behind he took the lead passing a nose-diving Jamie but lost it in the final rounding of the last mark. Tim used the left side of the beat and found that he had to scrap his way through the mid fleet for a fourth.

Races 11 & 12 were golden moments for Tim with back-to-back firsts and now leading overall. Jon with consistent results edging his way closer to the two at the top. Lucian stayed ashore with servo issues and not to race for the rest of the session.

Races 13 & 14 brought two firsts for Jamie and. Jon and Tim swapping seconds and thirds. Roger Gibbs (32) making good starts and mid fleet finishes with some buoy rounding practice needed. Always a challenge and he not the only casualty!

Our last race looked like Jamie would log in another first but on the last downwind leg a coming together with Quentin going upwind allowed Jon to go through to score his race win. Tim was second and Roger third. Jamie eventually disengaged and chased after with a sixth to record.

Did Tim win overall - it wasn't to be - a second week with just one point separating Jamie and Tim. A great session with 15 races and two discards put Jon third and Lucian fourth.

Our next Sunday racing is scheduled for the 25th February.

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