It was my pleasure to be PRO for the Wednesday Handicap Series. Although overcast with mainly high level cloud and some mid level, conditions were quite good for racing with a fairly consistent NNW'er, 2 to 8 knots, averaging 4-5 knots coming down the dam with the usual left and right shifts. The fleet was effectively 14 boats after 1 DNF'ed in Race 1 and retired from racing, but still a decent size fleet I'm sure you would agree. With the thumbs up from Stu Harris, the format was going to take some elements of the 18 Footers 3 Buoy Handicap where there are multiple windward marks to round depending on your handicap, but all boats start off scratch and the handicaps unwind as the race progresses. For the IOM's, Race 1 would start between marks 1 and 2, up to 5 then 6 for the front markers, up to the top 0 mark then 6 for the backmarkers, run back down to the first white mark south of 1 and 2 for the front guys and the "Gate" mark 0 for the backmarkers, then a short windward to finish between 1 and 2 on the second lap. A tough ask for the back markers! To make it a little more tougher, I gave everyone a time handicap as well: 0, 20, 40 and 60 seconds. The zero and 20 second group sail the shorter courses and the 40 and 60 second group would sail the longer course.
Race 1 and an impressive win for Rob Cooney starting off 40 seconds and sailing the long course, from second place Kim Potter also with the same handicap and Don McLeod starting off scratch and sailing the shorter course finishing third. Podium getters were relegated to the next handicap group.
Race 2 and I thought it a little too tough for the backmarkers, so I bought them back to marks 5 then 6 as well, but still the 2 leeward marks. Race 2 went to 20 second handicapper Peter Germein sailing the shorter course, with front marker Craig McCauley in second and fellow front marker Don McLeod finishing in third place.
Race 3 and after missing the first two races, Wayne Turner took advantage of his scratch start and short course to comfortably win from 20 seconder Denis Lees also sailing the shorter course and a well sailed third for the seasoned Peter Sylvester sailing the longer course off 40 seconds.
Race 4 and the 20 second handicap didn't bother Wayne as he notched up another win followed in second by an impressive sail from Ray Joyce starting last and on the long course, with another well sailed race from Peter Sylvester in third place, also sailing in the same group as Ray.
Although it didn't appear to be that close racing on the water, there were individual races within each group and the score sheet shows the same story. First and second place overall went to a countback of 6th place, 2 points separating first to fourth, 6 points first to sixth and three skippers battling it out for 7th position.
Well done to Peter Sylvester who won the day and bouteille de vin with 11 points, on countback from Don McLeod and Ray Joyce finishing in third place with 12 points.
Sunday sailing resumes 3rd April with the Southern IOM Championship.
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