A fine and mild late winters day at the Brook for the August Long Distance Series with forecast north westerlies at 15 to 20 knots for the greater Derwent Estuary. Winds on the brook were not as strong or "north westerly" as modelled by the BOM, but the prevailing wind strength for todays long distance racing was B rig most of the time and a brave skipper that thought about A rig. The ten skippers that fronted all rigged with the number 2 rig and average speed would have been 8 knots with faster puffs to maybe 12+ knots at times, and a few softer patches, dependant on which course we sailed, where the A rig would have been better, but... To keep things interesting with the long distance series we sailed alternating courses between the normal long distance course using the bottom gate and finish at the starting line, and a two lap circuit of all the bouys of the regular sailing area; Start between 1 and 2 up to the 0 mark off the second ramp, broad running reach out side the wing mark 9, gybing down to the outside gate mark 8, all bouys to port, 2 laps and beat to finish at the starting line. Add to that the handicaps; David Murfet, John Banks and Les Hanson were all on the gun off scratch and the rest of the fleet were off 1 minute, the podium for each race getting the usual handicap adjustments.
Race 1 and it was the bouys course to start with that allowed inform skipper Rod Jackman, starting with the 1 minute handicap, to out sail the fleet and take the gun and another 30 seconds, from the Silver Fox, Peter Darcy, also off 60, in second place with fellow backmarker Ray Joyce sailing well as usual into third place. Race 2 saw Stuart Harris off 60 seconds, beat the fleet around the bouys with Les Hanson doing well sailing into second place and "Sir" Rodney on the podium again from a 90 second handicap. Race 3 was sailed on the normal long distance course which suited Ray Joyce with a commanding win from Bruce Rose, both off 60 seconds, and the Silver Fox on the podium from 1:20 behind in third place. Race 4 was back around the bouys and starting off 1 minute, I managed to pick the "right" way to get round them taking the gun, but only just from Ray Joyce who started at the back on 1:40 in second place, and Andrew Wardrop also off 60 showing good boat speed to take out third place.
At the lunch break and the first drop, Ray Joyce led the fleet with 6 points from Rod Jackman in second with 8 points, yours truly third with 10 points, Darcy 1 point back in fourth place and Bruce Rose rounding out the top five with 13 points. A hearty sav or two was enjoyed by those that were willing!
The afternoon session got under way with Race 5 up to the Bay mark and The Silver fox bolted from 1:30 to win by a very comfortable margin from second place scratch marker John Banks, and yours truly off 1:30 as well, filling the minor podium position. Race 6 around the bouys saw the only double win of the day with Darcy, now starting last off 2 minutes, give another lesson in long distance sailing and take line honours from Stu Harris sailing well off 90 seconds, as too was Bruce Rose finishing in third place. Race 7 was the final "long" course for the day and John Banks off 20 seconds connected all the shifts to get the gun from Wasabi off 1:40 in second place after a good battle with Andrew Wardrop in third place. With one race to go the fleet was led by the Silver Fox, Peter Darcy with 18 points, second was Ray with 19 points, myself 3 points behind in third place, Andrew and Stu Harris rounding out the top five with 25 and 29 points. Race 8 was the last race for the day and back around the bouys. Rod clawed back most of the fleet off 2:10 to take the final gun from another ding dong battle between myself and Andrew in second and third place respectively.
Final results and an unexpected win for Wasabi with 17 points by 1 point from Peter Darcy in second place, with Ray Joyce another 1 point behind in third place overall. Weed was still a bit of a headache, particularly for Rod who DNF'ed in three races and the final results may have been different had that not been the case, but that's the luck of the day! All skippers enjoyed the variety of course for the long distance format and we will carry this forward for future long distance days.
Wednesday is the usual handicap series and with all the positive feed back of the last IOM/DF95 format, with Stu's permission of course, I invite DF95 skippers to bring their boats this Wednesday. Sunday is Round 5 of the IOM Winter Series with racing from 11:00 AM.
Till then, wet sails.
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