Gusts galore cause chaos

By Tim Leigh in Sailing

Last week down at Dittisham Sailing Club was a very gusty week.

On Sunday only 15sailors turned out (not bad but there have been 20 or more) and there were more gusts. Oh, and there was racing.

Martin Thomas, the race officer and a keen Laser man himself, in an act of selective sadism, carefully positioned the triangular course slap bang in the windiest area of the estuary. At least he had the decency to put out all three safety boats, none of which were exactly idle during the racing itself.

As race one got under way you could see that just getting to the start-line roughly on time and while upright was going to be a challenge.

The nine assorted PY boats set off into the teeth of the blustery conditions.

The RS400 of Craig Franklin and Chris Bates with their large sail plan and huge spinnaker looked very vulnerable as they hurtled round the course throwing up dramatic plumes of spray on the reaches and finishing first on the water. But it was the more stable rig of Pete Joscelyne’s Laser Radial and Sue Thomas’s Laser 4.7 which proved most suitable, taking the first two spots on corrected time.

Steven Black in a standard Laser did well to stay upright long enough to take third place.

Now it was the turn of the Solo fleet, who, with arguably the least stable boats in these conditions. Chaos and capsizes ensued, with Mike Bennett, cruising around behind all the carnage, coming in first, with Johnny Moulsdale second and Richard Allen third.

As race two got under way there seemed to be a slight reduction in wind strength. For the PY fleet the results were a carbon-copy of race one. So far this season it seems as if there has either been too much or too little wind. All at Dittisham Sailing Club are hoping more for Goldilocks conditions in the balance of the summer.

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