Southerns – Victor Trophy Report
Twenty four crews, 19 local and 5 visitors assembled for the for the Victor Trophy at the Welsh Harp reservoir on 27th October, to be informed at the briefing that the wind was “not blowing from a favourable direction“!
Orientation of the lake is SW to NE along its length. Pleasant woodland walks on either side. Wind from the North.
Race officer Brian Jefferies wisely set up the start in the lakes only corner, this to enable a beat across the widest and clearest part of the water.
The corner is formed by the Dam walls, extending high above the lakeside. A serious restriction of navigable water for the pin end starters, requiring the necessary hail for water to tack.
Victor Trophy – The view from boat 14151:
Race 1 – A decent start avoiding the pin end melee. First beat is chaos, not much strategy it’s all reactive stuff. Starboard approach should pay off but we’re sailing into the sheltered side of the lake into the mad zone of big shifts and holes. Chaos at the mark! We escape onto the first reach in a decent position. The course has two more short beats, same pattern, relief to get round the windward marks and hope that you’re not the ones left out in the lottery of gusts down wind. Richard Ham and Charlie Cotter led at the end of the first lap but were overhauled by Lawrence Creaser and Szymon Matyjaszczuk on the short beat between marks 2 and 1. Going further right they were lifted nicely to the mark while Ham having taken the starboard approach earlier, was now arriving too late on port. Creaser held the lead to the end while Chris Lomax and Dianne Marcos gained places keeping to the South side of the lake on the final run/reach, with R Ham marooned on a course nearer the trees. Supercrew Amy and I were pleased to hang on to a 3rd with Ward and Whitehall on a charge down the final reach.
Race 2 – We chose the concrete wall end of the line. Epic fail, should have listened to my crew. Ducked most of the fleet on port tack, the mark rounding doesn’t go well, then we’re luffed towards the woodland walk. Amy starts singing we reflect on the quality of the lunch, and enjoy the stunning view, low autumn sun through the Wembley arch. At the front Richard Ham gets off well but Creaser/ Matyjaszczuk again get past, this time on the fetch/ reach from 3 to 6,” He didn’t fly his kite and sailed under us as we were taking ours down, he got a puff and popped out in front by the mark.”( R.Ham)
Race 3 – More Easterly in the breeze now and the course is tweaked . The new course demands an early tack onto port. 14151 is off the line cleanly, the tack could have been choreographed as the boats around us all make the wise choice and we are off in clear air. First round the windward mark! Good hoists, good choices, 2nd lap we’re pulling away.
Final reach, a look behind, it’s Lawrence and Szymon! The music’s changed, Jaws theme tune, don’t panic! Tight at the end of the reach, plate’s not down far enough, kite comes down, messy gybe big wind shift. Nearby we hear the efficient gybing of 14178. We were pleased with second.
Winning helm Lawrence Creaser acknowledged the efforts of the race team in providing a terrific day’s sailing in ‘tricky conditions’ and thanked WHSC for an excellent event.
- 1st Overall – Lawrence Creaser and Szymon Matyjaszczuk , Hayling Island SC and WHSC
- 1st Lady – Lesley Kaye and Norman Brown, WHSC
- 1st Silver – Maciek Matyjaszuck and Denise Vale, WHSC
- 1st Bronze and 1st time in a GP14 – Joseph Burgin and James Mcleod, Imperial College Sailing Club
Points from the event will contribute towards next year’s Southern Travellers series.