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Fishers Green Sailing Club Winter Series

by Christian Hill 8 Mar 23:41 PST

When worlds collide

Every cloud has a silver lining. Due to maintenance work being carried out on the Welsh Harp reservoir, the Welsh Harp brought six GP14s and the Wembley Merlin Rocket fleet with six boats took a busman's holiday and relocated to Fisher Green Sailing Club for the Winter Series, with the GP14s racing Saturday afternoons creating a Saturday series, while the Wembley Merlin's joined in with the Sunday club racing.

Resident Saturday RO Nick Yannakoyorgos ran two races back-to-back on Saturday afternoon, with the GP14s swapping helms and crews around for the second race - a stroke of genius, a great idea to encourage new helms - and the racing was as close as ever. FGSC Saturday regulars now also had a focus point and the home fleet took to the water in fantastic numbers, fresh shoots of a re-emerging Laser fleet, taking unloved moss covered Lasers and giving them a new lease of life, whilst themselves taking the leap into club racing.

With each Saturday race becoming a event in its own right, crew pairings would change regularly, regular Sunday club racers would drop in to get some extra winter practice, hopeful that their Sunday counterparts hadn't also had the same idea.

The front runners for the series were GP14 14110 Liz/Steve taking on GP14 13787 Keith/Cora, leading single hander streaker 1777 Roberto Manicni, vying for first Laser Angie Meyer versus Oz Ahmet, with Angie taking the honours and bragging rights, Cadets, Toppers, Picos all getting involved from to time.

The GP14s invited anyone and everyone to have a go with a carefree enthusiasm, youth crews, new comers and seasoned racers all jumping in to take on the challenge, plus the GP14 fleet would always bring cake, just an added bonus, as confidence grew the distance between boats dropped with the racing getting even closer, so many crews and helms took part far to many to mention.

The winter series was blessed with fantastic breeze until the final day, when the fleet were robbed of a final show down due to no wind, but even that couldn't quell the spirits of the Saturday afternoon racer, prizes, cakes, beers handed out in abundance, a feel good factor at the Green enhanced with the creation of a Saturday series with the help of the great Welsh Harp GP14 crowd, happy racing happy days.

Winter series Part 2

Sundays has always been considered race day at Fishers Green, now with the battle-hardened race-ready Wembley Merlins entering the arena who would certainly bring their A game, it was time for the home menagerie fleet to up their game too, and for the Race Officer to hopefully lengthen the line.

The long anticipated start was delayed by a week due to no wind, but the breeze certainly made itself know in the following weeks.

Straight out of the blocks and showing how the home side do things Merlin 3770 Jon/Blake with two race wins. Six Merlins were joined by the home fleet of Solos, and other classes, as we gently came to terms with the fact that space would at a premium and would certainly focus the mind.

As the series progressed so did the numbers, six to ten Merlins regularly turning out for epic close fleet racing between most of us anyway, while trying to keep series leader Merlin Rocket 3702 Duncan/Ruth in sight.

As more and more Solos came out if hibernation, race management became paramount. Leading the way for the Solos was 4571 Richard Piper. As the series grew so did the standard and intensity. Nine different race winners, with the Solos and Merlins taking the majority; Mo Allen in his Laser Radial pitched in with a few race wins.

Special guests Tom/Rob 3812 joined us for a few races, along with race wins they also took on capsize practice to ensure no stone left unturned before the season starts. 3702 Duncan/Ruth had the series wrapped up the last race so decided to let some others have a go at the front, with one point separating three Merlin teams 3770 Jon/Blake, 3575 Harry/Claudia 3578 Godfrey/Bill for the race for second spot.

3770 Jon/Blake did enough to take second, with son 3575 Harry/Claudia taking third.

Many thanks to all sailors and classes involved. Special mention to our young Merlin crews Francesca Dean sailing with dad Paul 3745 training to take on Salcombe Week, Hannah Baker sailing with your author in 3597 after many attempts we finally got to finish a race without injury or breakage, so progress made.

Many thanks to our home fleet at Fishers Green, for the customary warm welcome to our guests, and to our guests from Welsh Harp and Wembley sailing clubs for such close friendly competitive racing, and enhancing our winter series.

The Race Officers were amazing, as were our ever-present, at time double busy, rescue crew: Richard, George Matt and Alan.

If that was the taster for the season ahead, I for one am "proper" excited for upcoming season.

Full results at on the Fishers Green website.

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