GP14 Nationals – Day 2

Firstly, I have some apologies to make for yesterday, apparently it was Fergus and Ellie first round the windward mark and not Shane and Andy (I was thinking of the first race!) And while I’m wiping my slate clean Vicky Ford had a good race at Brixham last year that I forgot to mention in any reports and hasn’t let me forget it. Well done Vicky!

The Race Report

The forecast for Day 2 of the GP14 Nationals was heavier in the morning and it was spot on. Not many bothered changing for the published start time and the Race Officer’s scouting trip first thing revealed a variability of 10 knots between the average wind strength and the gusts and the swell bigger than the day before. With the postponement called there was nothing to do but wait.

The game of kwik cricket in the demonstration hall passed a little time with the rest of us carb loading and getting wired on caffeine. Finally at 2pm we headed out to the course. In a borrowed dry suit so bright it could be seen from space I at least felt assured that if I ended up in the water I’d be noticed.

As we lined up for the first race of the day, Race 2, the wind was about 20 knots. We got away clean but I was aware of an incident behind as I saw the apple green rudder of Sam Watson and Andy Hunter (Nantwich SC) poking up in the air and Sam flying into the water.

Apparently as Justin Smith and Sarah O’Neill (Derwent SC/Poole YC) were sat on the start line Sam and Andy came above. With 10 seconds to go Justin hardened up to accelerate. At this point Sam starts to bare down on top of Justin and Sarah and comes right alongside, leaving the hiking pair sat in Sam’s boat. To make matters worse Sam’s main sheet gets wrapped around Justin and Sam can’t steer as the two boats become connected. It was at this point that Sam and Andy then capsized with Justin having nowhere to go other than over Sam’s (borrowed) main sail. Justin then narrowly avoided the anchor rope on the pin end boat before getting away.

Right seemed to be the favoured way up the beat with yesterday’s winners Shane MacCarthy and Andy Thompson (Greystones SC) looking dominant again. Still with some big waves and decent breeze the boats we all surfed along the reach, if you hit one right you could make big gains. For others there were big losses with the Seniors and Nick Devereux and Geoff Edwards finding themselves OCS.

With the wind dropping race 3 got away cleanly and it was the turn of another Irish pair to take control with Alan Blay and David Johnstone (Sutton SC) leading the pack round windward closely followed by Shane and Andy, Mike and Liz and Fergus and Ellie. After the gybe mark the front runners opened up a gap on the group of blue spinnakered boats tightly bunched behind. Alan and David kept the lead and we have a very interesting Championship opening up with the top 10 starting to take shape.

As we hit the shore at 5ish the tide was out leaving the weary sailors with a seemingly never ending slog back up the beach with the boats. Fortunately our beer sponsors Cwrw Llyn were on hand at the top to refuel us. Prize giving was sponsored by Typhoon Covers and Zhik.

The Rum Punch Report – Sunday

There were some very weary, and in my case, grumpy sailors who turned up for the BBQ on Sunday night. We all managed to man up though and force down another beer. Given that 66% of the people in my accommodation had gear failures which resulted in DNFs I thought it would be a sombre night.

You can always rely on someone in the fleet to cheer you up. When I say cheer you up, I do of course mean, do something daft that you can relentlessly mock them for. And this is why we have the Naff Awards (formerly known as the ‘Dick of the Day’). Today’s winner apparently packed plenty of knickers but forgot her buoyancy aid and was unable to sail! She was presented with some bubble wrap as a substitute by gleeful compare Gill Beddow.