A solid fleet for a solid day of scratch racing for Round 4 of the IOM Winter Series. After a week of "winter" weather and a snow covered Mt Wellington, skippers were greeted with fine and sunny, albeit "cool" conditions with a steady 10 to 12 knot prevailing NNW'er that had the 16 skippers scratching their heads as to which rig to use. A number rigged up with B rig only to change up to A Rig as the breeze softened shortly before racing was to commence. PRO duties were allocated to each skipper in turn for each race with no particular order other than the skippers list I made prior to racing, and with 14 races completed during the day, only 2 skippers missed their turn to "run the show". The course for the day was start between 1 and 2, windward beat up to 6 to port, short run down to 4 then into 3, back up to 6 again for a longer run down to the bottom gate before a short but decisive windward beat to the finish between 1 and 2. The last beat to the finish proved to be make or break throughout the day depending on which mark was rounded and the mood that Hughie was in at the time. It was certainly a case of each race not being over till the fat lady sang.
Race 1 saw Risdon Brook stalwart Michael Hickman take the gun from another Risdon veteran, Lisa Blackwood finishing second and the none too shabby Ray Joyce finishing third. Race 2 went to John Hall with Andrew Wardrop and Michael filling the minor podium places. Race 3 line honours went to Matt Gray with myself second and Ray on the podium again in third place. Race 4 and Matt and I made a carbon copy of the previous race finishing first and second respectively and seasoned yachtie Rod Jackman on the podium for the first time for the day. After the first drop, Matt held the lead with 4 points with myself in second spot on 7.3 points, Michael in third place and 8 points, Lisa in fourth with 11 points and Rod rounding out the top 5 with 12 points.
Race 5 saw Lisa take line honours and a second podium from Wayne Behrens in second and Matt on the podium again with a third placing. Rod took the gun in Race 6 from Ray and Bruce Rose with his first podium of the day in third place. Race 7 and another win for Lisa with Ray back on the podium and a second, and David Jones mixing it with a third place. Race 8 saw Matt notch up his third win for the day and was the only skipper to do so, from second placed Lisa and John Hall in the top three. After the second drop, Lisa led the field with 15 points from second place Ray on 18.6 points, Matt in third with 19 points, Rod and myself rounding out the top five with 21 and 27.3 points respectively.
Race 9 saw my only win for the day with Michael finishing second and John on the third step of the podium for a double in that position. Ray sailed well in Race 10 to take the win from Jammie Jones on the podium again in second place as too Matt with a third place. Race 11 line honours went to "Sir" Rodney, closely followed home by Matt and Lisa. Race 12 saw Michael's second win for the day with Lisa ever competitive in second place, ditto Matt in third place. The penultimate Race 13 went to Wayne Behrens with Michael and Lisa fighting it out for the minor placings. The final race for the day, Race 14, went to Bruce Rose with Lisa and Matt rounding out the top three.
Final placings for the day saw Lisa Blackwood take a comfortable win with 32.7 points from second placed Matt Gray with 45 points, Rod Jackman third with 47.1 points, Michael Hickman finishing in fourth place with 51 points and yours truly rounding out the top five with 64.1 points.
Next Sunday is the IOM Mid Winter Challenge that unfortunately will not be counted as a ranking event due to an administrative error. Briefing is at 10:15 AM with racing from 10:30AM.
Till then, wet sails.
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