A cool, grey, overcast morning and a very light westerly greeted skippers for the re sailing of the IOM Mid Winter Challenge today, and indeed it was looking like it would be another challenge to get any racing in, but there were enough zephyrs coming through to keep things moving and racing commenced after the usual proceedings of a ranking event took place, shortly after 10:30 AM. Principal Race Officer for the day was Les Hanson, ably assisted by the Commodore, David Murfet. Right at the start, a big THANKYOU from all the skippers to both of you for a well run event. Another thankyou goes to JB's Catering, but I will talk more on him later.
Nine skippers fronted the starting gun for shortened Race 1 in conditions that can only be described as PuffLotto (I might copyright that!). Ray Joyce started his score card of well winning from the Silver Fox (aka Peter Darcy) and myself third. Race 2 saw the John Nieuwenhuizen join the fleet to take numbers up to 10 boats for the day. Rod Jackman returned from his mid winter challenge to escape Tassie's winter, to take line honours from myself and David Jones with his new WHITE not PINK V9 in third. Bruce Rose continued his current form winning Race 3 from myself and Rod third. After 3 races, I held a 4 point lead from Rod, Bruce and Ray all tied on 11 points. By now, the clouds were beginning to burn off as the sun shone through, bringing hope for a little more breeze. New Team V9 rookie David Jones, sailed his new WHITE boat to victory in Race 4 with Darcy finishing second. Rod Jackman sailed his V8 into third place and first place on the leader board after the first drop, on countback from me and Bruce and Darcy tied for third. Bruce Rose scored his second win in Race 5 with Ray Joyce coming home second, David Jones third. Bruce now claimed the leader board with 11 points, on countback from me again, Ray Joyce claimed third place with 13 points, 1 point ahead of Rod Jackman, 1 point ahead of Andrew Wardrop who was 1 point ahead of Darcy in 6th position. With the breeze about to give up, lunch was called and JB's Catering provided the finest cuisine one would expect from such an reputable vendor.
By lunch end, the breeze had filled in a little, but more from the west which meant for a light airs reaching start. Bruce set up a hat trick winning Race 6 with Team V9's Silver Fox and yours truly in the minor positions. The Silver Fox denied Bruce his hat trick when he chalked up another bullet in Race 7 after he skirted the fleet on the run with his own personal wave of pressure. David Jones showed he is getting use to the new V9 with a second place and Ray Joyce sail consistently to claim third. Bruce now led by 1 point from Darc and me on countback on 19 points, with Ray 1 point behind and Andrew in 5th with 22 points. By now the breeze had swung left with the first whiffs of sea breeze hitting the dam making for a more windward start to the southern bouys. I scored my first win for the day in Race 8 with that pesky fox in second and the Zero boat in third. The leader board changed again with Darc claiming top spot from myself on countback, both 15 points, Bruce in third place with 18 points, Ray fourth with 19 points and Andrew Wardrop in 5th with 22 points. David Jones took line honours in Race 9 with Darcy sailing consistently into second place and myself third. The hounds couldn't catch the fox in Race 10 with Darcy notching up his second win for the day from David Jones in second and Ken Dobbie making a podium appearance in third place. I scored my second win for the day in Race 11 with John Hall finally making the podium and the consistent Fox in third. Race 12 was the final race of the day and the Silver Fox removed all doubt who would win the day by winning the last in style from Ray Joyce and David Jones.
All in all it was a very pleasant day's racing with a few minor racing incidents that were resolved quickly and without fuss. All skippers must be congratulated on the manner in which they conducted themselves. Twelve races, seven different winners and more changes to the leader board than nappy changes in a maternity ward. The final results were beyond doubt with Peter Darcy sailing consistently well to win the day on 22 points from yours truly on 27 points. A 10 point cumulative error saw third place go to Ray Joyce and not Andrew Wardrop as announced after sailing. Sorry Andrew, the scorer's curse strikes you again.
There where murmuring's to form a lynch mob after JB's Catering took off with the post race beverages, but after considering the fine job he did of feeding and watering us at lunch, we decided he could live.
Next week is Round 1 of the IOM Summer Series with scratch racing in the morning and handicap racing in the afternoon.
Til then, wet sails,
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