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ILCAs at the Queen Mary Summer Series Week 1

by Mike Hicks 4 Jun 02:56 PDT 2 June 2024

22 ILCAs lined up for the first 2 races of the QMSC summer series. The wind was a gusty and shifty 5 to 14 knots from the north with wall-to-wall sunshine.

The race team set a good course making use of the full width of the reservoir - 3 laps (sausage, triangle, sausage) - about 40 mins each. Picking the shifts and finding regions of pressure upwind was crucial. There were gains to be made on the runs and reaches by looking for gusts coming from behind.

Race 1

The start of race 1 had a slight pin bias and the leaders round the first mark were Michael Hicks and then Andy Omasta (both had taken the port route up the beat) followed by Adrian Elwood who seemed to come from the starboard side. A closely bunched chasing pack followed. Andy moved into the lead down the run. But shortly before the mark he was hit by a weird gust which seemed to come from one side and then a moment later from another which resulted in a windward capsize (see photos). He made a fantastic recovery to finish 3rd. On the second beat Chris Ellyatt escaped from the pack and made good progress on the port side of the course to move into a comfortable 2nd. Meanwhile it was hard work in the peloton trying to get a clear wind. On the final beat there was a patch of good pressure to be seen on the starboard side of the course, but that involved making slow progress through a section with little wind. Michael and Chris bridged that gap and then had a fairly easy final part of the beat and run to the finish. Overall, it was Michael, Chris, Andy, Tim Crook, Adrian and Simon Sydenham.

Race 2

The wind went light for the start of race 2. The pin looked favoured with 60 seconds to go. Ben won the pin and looked good for a while but was then all but becalmed. Meanwhile, QMSC Commodore James Baxter had spotted pressure on the right shortly before the start and sailed back down the line on port towards the committee boat and away into a comfortable lead chased by class captain Tony Woods. Again, it was hard work for the chasing fleet trying to get some clear wind. Tony passed James up the final beat. Richard moved into 3rd followed by Orlando Gledhill and Marcus Bird in his new boat. The finishing order was: Tony, James, Simon, Orlando, and Marcus. However, James had crossed the line with about 10/15 seconds to go. Although he dipped back behind the line before the start he was caught by the 1-minute rule.

The take-away from the day was the usual advice in these conditions: keep one's head out of the boat upwind, look forward and try to anticipate what the wind would do in 3- or 4-minutes time. But we all agreed that was easier said than done. An excellent and competitive start to the summer series.

Full results can be found here.

Come and race at the QM Thames Valley Series Open - Sunday 30th June.

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