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DRAFT OLD VERSION LIVE

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{"ID":508,"SpaceID":1,"PageID":24,"HasCommentsThread":false,"SeoTags":{"PageID":0,"MetaDescription":{"ID":0,"Name":"description","Value":null},"MetaKeywords":{"ID":0,"Name":"keywords","Value":null},"OgTitle":{"ID":0,"Name":"og:title","Value":null},"OgDescription":{"ID":0,"Name":"og:description","Value":null},"OgType":{"ID":0,"Name":"og:type","Value":null},"OgImage":{"ID":0,"Name":"og:image","Value":null},"CustomTags":[],"AllTags":[]},"Path":"Racing+Reports","Title":"Racing Reports","Author":{"ID":25,"Name":"Roy Pryor"},"Version":25,"IsDraft":false,"IsOldVersion":false,"PublicationDate":"29/09/2020 19:19","VersionDescription":"v25 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 29/09/2020 19:19","HideHeader":false,"IsFullWidth":false,"Blocks":[{"Columns":[{"InstanceID":"2967","Width":12,"WidthClasses":"col-md-12","Type":"HTML","Content":"\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-size: 18px; color: rgb(23, 54, 93);\"\u003eRacing Reports 2020\u003c/span\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cfigure\u003e\u003cimg src=\"https://dsc.myclubhouse.co.uk//Client/Images/Cms/Spinnakers2%20small.jpg\" data-image=\"1\" width=\"273\" height=\"182\"\u003e\u003c/figure\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDSC Blue Flag Autumn Points Series, Races 3 \u0026\u0026nbsp;4 -\u0026nbsp;Sunday 27 September 2020\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eby Martin Thomas\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe signs were good. There was wind. It was set to stay. And our race officer, Tim Littler, had surveyed the racing area, coming up with a large figure-of-eight course that contained both a decent beat and a deep run. Tim was also disarmingly frank. The second of our marks, nestling by the Waddeton shore, might prove tricky because it sat in the lee of the north-westerly breeze. And the Covid-induced club-line start meant that Sunday’s races would begin with a reach (only after we port-rounded our first mark out in the channel would we get a beat). So the temptation for boats to come barrelling into the line at reaching speed was, on this occasion, less an egregious foul than a requirement. All this crucial information was relayed in a briefing conducted to the sound of mainsails flogging impatiently as the gusts chased one another onshore. With Chris Taylor’s social sailors also eager to get afloat, it was time for our twenty-eight competitors to get going.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eSadly perhaps, last week’s innovation of the landlord’s bell lost its place in the race hut to our more customary hooter, which, after its suspicious cough-like symptoms last week, was allowed out of quarantine and back on duty. One minute sounded and on the water two distinct clusters were forming. Chomping at the bit, the larger of the two readied to bear down on the favoured pin end. The smaller cantered down the line heading for clearer air but less wind and, unless they slowed down, not much water either. In the event, the seemingly unassailable logic of our pin-end chompers was confounded by a brilliant start from Paul Mogridge. He’d hung back for that extra second or two, avoiding the hubbub, but then seizing the opportunity of the newly vacated space to nip round the pin and straight onto the reach in his Laser Radial. Nicely done! The jockeying of everyone else through the uneven breeze among the moored boats on the Dittisham side soon gave way to a straightforward beam reach for speed across the open channel to our first mark. Within a matter of seconds, a snowplough of boats abreast had churned up such deep waves that there was surfing, and the best planing to be had, down the resulting wash.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eNo fallers at the first fence, our runners and riders began that long beat across the strongest of the day’s wind. Those that tacked leftwards earliest perhaps did best, using the tidal set to better advantage than those who had to work against it in the lighter air nearer that Waddeton mark. Tina and Mike Mackie in their RS 200 worked wind and tide to maximum benefit, establishing a strong lead. Hoisting their spinnaker, the pair tightened their grip on the race, using their back-and-forth reaching to keep in stronger breeze. Some of their single-sailed rivals meanwhile struggled to sustain much speed on a dead straight-line run. The handicap results would prove that things were tighter for the remaining places: Paul Mogridge in his Laser Radial took second by four seconds from Solo sailor Jon Clarke, who, in turn, pipped Sue Thomas in her Laser Radial by a nine second margin. But on the water the RS 200 was an increasingly solitary leader by the time she rounded the final mark to the sound of a shortened course double-toot. The single-lap race completed, others in the chasing pack were left to rue the various permutations of little things – a mediocre start, a dodgy rounding, a bad tack, or the wrong decision to go one way or the other – that tend to make the difference.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe second race was, in some ways, a case of Groundhog Day, in others, more of a contest. The most obvious reprise was another excellent performance from Tina and Mike in their RS 200. Once again, they’d built a strong lead by the end of the first of two laps. This time, though, the final results on handicap were closer still. The RS 200 came out on top by the shortest of necks – only two seconds from closest challenger Jon Clarke. Behind them, Sue Thomas (Laser Radial) secured third place from Paul Mogridge also in a Laser Radial. Lest they go unsung, there were strong performances across both races from Will Loy, Peter Sturgess and Mike Webster in their Solos. And the three D Zero Musketeers all finished in close succession, with Ged Yardy pipping his two \u003cem\u003ecompagnons\u003c/em\u003e. Further down the fleet the usual combination of personal victories and minor tragedies should be acknowledged – the broken tiller hastily replaced, the gust bomb defused, the planing enjoyed, the leeward mark’s identity at first mistaken but then discovered. Finally, special mention should be made of our latest recruit, young Victory in his Topper. His gymnastic contortions to keep his boat upright, which continued either side of two dry capsizes, were a lesson in quick witted determination.\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDSC Blue Flag series, Autumn Points Series -\u0026nbsp;Sunday 20 September 2020\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eby Martin Thomas\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBarely half a dozen reports filed and your correspondent risks sounding like a broken record or, in deference to 21\u003csup\u003est\u003c/sup\u003e\nCentury tastes, a Spotifier hooked on repeat-shuffle. Another affable Sunday assembly of twenty competitors, another balmy morning of uninterrupted sunshine, more light breezes determined to thwart us, and yet more surging tide threatening to carry the windless either sideways or worse, backwards. We’ve heard it all before, we know that the microclimate of the Dittisham amphitheatre can be meaner than a coliseum baying for the lions to get an early lunch. And yet we all flock back hoping that this time it’ll be a definite thumbs-up from the crowd.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eNot so on this occasion. By the time our gladiators were ready for the ring, it was clear that not even the craziest emperor could defy the Gods to conjure a constant wind from a discernible direction. That said, our race team did their best. Here, a brief diversion to say two ‘thank yous’, the first to Peter Hammond, sadly not sailing his Solo this year, but who kindly stepped up for his first-time race duty; the second to RS Aero ace (and next week’s race officer) Tim Littler, who struggled down the A38 to join us only to be defeated at the last by the late season traffic. To these we should add a third: to our indomitable sailing secretary Steven Black or, as he should now be known, DSC’s pub landlord. His enthusiastic adoption of a large bell in place of our still defunct race hooter saw him rattling his giant clanger with all the vigour of a bar steward poised to send the punters packing at last orders. Clipboard and bell in hand, Peter and Steven were soon in hushed conversation. How to cope with the lack of wind? The answer? A short postponement before a briefing to explain a sensible figure of eight course that was not only viable but which promised at least one beat, possibly two, as well as a possible run.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003ePerhaps it was the sound of that bell booming from the race hut that sent some of us haywire. More likely it was the odd combination of good breeze either side of the line but very little on it that heralded a contest with more than its fair share of oddities. While some crept crab-like around the inevitable pin-end pile-up, others got away well: Terry Phillips, Jon Clarke and Will Loy in their Solos, Ged Yardy in his D Zero, and, in their first appearance this year, Andy and Emma Middleton, welcome returnees in their RS 200. Others, though, decided to linger, perhaps mesmerized by Steven’s new-found love of campanology. Among them, another D Zero sailor, who’d best remain nameless, brought up the rear with a flawless demonstration of how to do everything wrong.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eSo how did things unfold? For those eager to know placings, the essence of the story is this: the race had resolved itself into a two-horse affair by the end of the first beat, Jon Clarke clinging tenaciously to Andy and Emma’s RS 200 and both boats establishing an ever-increasing lead over the few chasers behind them. The results rather spoke for themselves, Jon winning by more than three minutes on handicap, Andy and Emma, in turn, almost three minutes ahead of Will Loy, Peter Sturgess and Richard Allen who finished more closely together to take third, fourth and fifth places respectively. All demonstrated that combination of skill, wind awareness, good tidal sense, and unbroken concentration necessary to master the conditions.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAs for the other fifteen sailors who took part, perhaps the best way to recreate the joys of this particular race is by allowing you to fill in your own recollections as appropriate.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eTacking my way up the first beat, I did/did not fall into a wind hole.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eI wove my way expertly between the flotsam and jetsam thrown up by the tide/I got snagged in so much weed that I came to a standstill.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThis meant I was/wasn’t able to lay the windward mark without having to make additional tacks against the tide.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eWatching other boats catch up made me smile/want to cry.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eI rounded the windward mark with/without difficulty.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAfter that, the wind held nicely/died totally as I worked my way over to the mark off the Waddeton shore.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe tide did/didn’t catch me, setting me way off the mark before I got round it with ease/agonizing slowness.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBoats that rounded ahead of me faced the same challenges/seemed to have wind of their own.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eIt was a steady run/weird sort of reach/tedious plod to work back to the third mark.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAfter getting round that one, it was a pleasure/dark night of the soul reaching/drifting back to the leeward mark.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe second lap was equally enjoyable/made me question why I ever bought a boat in the first place.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDSC Mid-week race -\u0026nbsp;Thursday 17 September 2020\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eby Martin Thomas\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThose kind souls who run our racing have a lot to think about these days. Alongside Covid restrictions and the social distancing measures integral to Blue Flag sailing, the vagaries of early autumn weather can throw up other surprises. So the nine helms assembled for the final race of this season’s Red Lion mid-week series owed a particular debt of gratitude to the evening’s race team, led by Martin Ely. Not only did Martin set us a capacious figure-of-eight course, but he held his nerve amidst a welter of less-than-encouraging forecasts. With a baseline easterly predicted at around eighteen knots and topped off by powerful gusts of considerably more, prospects looked less than rosy earlier in the day. Fortunately, those, like Martin, with a sanguine attitude to forecast predictions and a seasoned eye for Dittisham’s topography knew otherwise. For one thing, there’d probably be room – and shelter - enough for a viable course of some sort. For another, more clement conditions by our 6pm start-time were always a possibility. In the event, a wind falling away to well within Blue Flag guidelines obviated the need for any nursery-style course. Indeed, the white horses of early afternoon were a distant memory as a setting sun dappled over the valley-side, bathing our racers in a lovely golden hue.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe tranquility proved infectious. Unusually, the evening’s club-line start, required competitors to set off upriver rather than down. More unusual still, it was remarkably free of incident. With the pin-end strongly favoured in anticipation of a beat across the river channel, there was scope for pile-ups-a-plenty. Not though, dear readers, in the more demure atmosphere that is mid-week racing. No knocks, no calls, no bother. Instead, our valiant nine set off at a canter, perilously close to being over the line perhaps, but untroubled by any discouraging double-hoot from our friends in the race hut. (Our generous starters subsequently revealed that said hooter could anyway only splutter at best.) Thus set free to roam, our racers quickly discovered that not just wind, but tide, would play a big part in the night’s proceedings. That north-easterly wind, easing steadily, but otherwise unstable would see some boats surge ahead only to be stopped in their tracks. The powerful flood tide at one point had Jayne Morris in her Solo and Martin Thomas in his D Zero ferry gliding in unison towards the mark, the pair then setting off a chain reaction of fleet tacking as one boat after another succumbed to boom-wobbling headers. Others, including Mike Bennett in his Solo and Paul Honey in his Laser Radial, had opted to follow the tide further upstream before tacking back for the mark, a good call as it turned out. For those less certain of the true path to wisdom and windward mark, a distinct tide-line of mini-wavelets left no one in any doubt where the tidal channel was to be found.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eIf we all danced a bit differently to the beat, choices proved more limited on the subsequent reach further up the river to the Waddeton shore. Yes, it made sense to use tidal advantage as much as possible but it was becoming increasingly apparent that finding - and staying in - reasonably constant pressure was priority number one. Easier for the eager-to-plane D Zero and the fully-battened Solos, the job of building and keeping momentum was tougher for our Laser sailors. Huge credit, then, to Paul Honey who would keep his radial powering along throughout. From Waddeton, our long return leg consisted of a broadening reach that, for the lucky few, began with foamy planing back towards the moorings off Gurrow Point. By contrast, the adverse tide and minimal wind at our leeward mark, located upstream of the club-line, were more of a leveller. Some strove to put off the inevitable. They stuck doggedly to the stronger wind in the main channel, ignoring the adverse tide and delaying their move inshore to that mark as late as possible. Others took a more direct line but fought to keep their boats edging forward against a fearsome tidal stream that threatened to prise mooring buoys from their chains. To sighs of relief after rounding, it was but a short hop with tide now under you back through the line to do it all again on a second, and final, lap.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eTimes and handicaps tallied, the upshot would see Paul Honey’s Laser Radial secure a well crafted win, closely followed by Jayne Morris in her Solo, with Martin Thomas in his D Zero snagging third. In the rest of the fleet, Mike Webster [his rudder finally down] kept up the pressure, getting the angles right to take fourth place.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eTide lapping the club wall and launch trolleys floating jauntily, the return ashore was a damp but happy one.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDSC Blue Flag series, Sunday 13 September 2020\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eby Martin Thomas\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eDinghy sailors are an amiable bunch, but they rarely agree about wind. For some, light airs are the ultimate test of delicate boat handling. For these keen-eyed zephyr-spotters, the more on-board signals, the better – not just the plastic wind indicators carefully attached to mast stems, but extra tell-tales, and that old favourite: streams of cassette tape tied to the shrouds. The most dedicated combine these with a compass, avid transit-taking, and levels of sensory perception worthy of the ancient mystics. For others, things are simpler. A ‘decent’ wind begins around ten knots or so and anything much less elicits derision as somehow ‘not worth it’. For the most adventurous, life-affirming crash gybes and Dittisham’s now infamous ‘random descending gust bombs’ are what make for truly memorable days out. The one thing that unites these contrasting meteorological tastes is a shared liking for a breeze that has some kind of predictability. So there was the basis for consensus among the twenty-five competitors and eight social sailors who took to the water for another pair of Blue Flag races on a sparkling mid-September afternoon. Our race officer, Paul Mogridge, warned in his briefing that the wind (or winds) was playing tricks. Somewhere out in the main channel, the morning’s light southerly force three was dallying with a newcomer – an easterly wafting down from the hillsides of Galmpton and the Greenway shore. How would these breezes get along? Peaceful co-existence or a grimmer outcome: mutually assured destruction and no wind at all? Only time, and some testing race legs, would tell.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eOther augurs were more promising. A smallish neap tide presented little complication. The sky was pretty cloudless. And our sterling race team had relocated our windward mark in an effort to put it, well, to windward (an almost impossible task as it turned out). With a large figure-of-eight course in prospect for the initial race and reassurance from race officer Paul that things could be reconfigured for the second if need be, the stage was set. The show began, as usual, with all manner of start-line performances. There were accomplished Solo-ists: Mike Webster and Jon Clarke flying out of the blocks in race one; Les Moores timing an impeccable approach to the pin end in race two. And there were blinding Lasers, Ian Wakeling piercing the line bang on the hooter in the first race and the two Pauls - Green and Honey – shining brightest in the second. For the rest of the cast things proved less harmonious, the inevitability of having to cross the start-line on port the prelude to a frenetic game of aquatic dodgems. Start negotiated, the honey-coloured windward mark proved sticky. Swarms of boats buzzed around it, room requested by some, rounding opportunities seized by others, an unlucky few left affixed to the offending globule and doomed to perform a 360-degree waggle-dance.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAfter such excitement, the reach across the main channel to our gybe mark on the Greenway Bank brought different foodstuffs to mind, being more of a curate’s egg. James Dodd’s Phantom would see his early lead cruelly eroded as one gust after another offered welcome consolation to those further back. For many the final approach was agonizingly slow, those competing winds tending to cancel each other out in a widening dead zone around the mark. For others, the southerly held out, making gybing easier and the subsequent reach back to the Owers red buoy a lovely plane. From there a longer leg beckoned, our leeward mark twinkling in the sunlight off Galmpton. Now those on-board gizmos would have their day. Mainsheets eased, booms out, what began as a broad reach would, by its last two hundred yards or so, have turned into something else, sometimes beamy, occasionally fetchy, then back to broad. Their cassette tape streamers tied in knots, the prospect of a drag race back to the club line was perhaps a relief for some. Still, there were challenges ahead: first, the post-rounding barn dance as the leaders sashayed between a phalanx of oncoming boats on starboard, then the decisions to be made about that variable wind. Staying out in the channel where the breeze looked firmer seemed wise but would mean sailing a greater distance. So timing the right turn into the moored boats off the clubhouse could be critical. On both laps, those who fared best chose that windier, but more circuitous route before dipping crosswind to the finish. The upshot would see Jon Clarke rewarded with the win, closely followed by Paul Honey (Laser full rig), with Ian Wakeling (Laser radial) taking third. In the chasing Solo pack, Mike Webster, Jayne Morris and Roy Pryor showed strongest with Roger Morley’s D Zero also recovering well after an early encounter with that windward honeypot. Nicky Sheppard’s Laser was the next of the radials to make it home despite two capsizes, while Martin and Anne Ely did well to steer the sharabang, sorry, their Wayfarer, to a very respectable finish.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eHaving scanned all finishers over the line, the onshore race team of Sheila Phillips, Paul and Pauline Mogridge quickly reorganised things for the second race. The two safety crews weaved expertly amongst the milling boats advising us of the course change. The long reach-cum-fetch to Galmpton was out; a more pronounced downwind leg to a distant mark on the Waddeton shore was in. Freed of any requirement to venture near the opposite side of the river, there’d be no more sinking into the Greenway doldrums. So it was that the second race proceeded. Fortunes would rest on the long downwind run and the playing of shifts on the reciprocal beat back to Owers. The tide now turned but running slower, the key, as ever, was to find the most accommodating breezes. Again, deciding when to head rightward to the finish was crucial. With so many variables, it was little wonder that back and forth changes occurred mid-fleet, with Solos and Lasers vying for the advantage of those favourable gusts upwind and down. Martin Thomas’s D Zero meanwhile came out on top, with Jon Clarke and Paul Honey taking second and third. Soon after, Mike Webster and Jayne Morris came through, closely followed by fellow Solo sailor, Ben Morris.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eBack onshore strips of cassette tape were in high demand.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eOverall Blue Flag Summer Points Series Results\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e1st - Jon Clarke in a Solo called Bashful - 5.2 points\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e2nd - Peter Sturgess in another Solo - 6.6 points\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e3rd - Paul Honey in his Laser - 10.6 points\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e4th - Martin Thomas sailing and jotting down notes in his D-Zero - 16 points\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e5th - Jayne Morris in yet another Solo - 19.2 points\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDSC Blue Flag series -\u0026nbsp;Sunday 6 September 2020\u0026nbsp;\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBy\u003c/strong\u003e\u0026nbsp;\u003cstrong\u003eMartin Thomas\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eHalf a dozen social sailors plus a mixed race fleet of twenty-two made for a festive atmosphere in the early autumn sunshine of another Sunday’s Blue Flag racing at Dittisham. Bobbing seals and diving cormorants awaited the socialites. For those racing, as we shall see, there would be less time to admire the wildlife.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eIn these days of no changing-rooms strictures, many sailors arrive in their wetsuits. Suiting up early leaves more time for those pre-race tweaks to lines, blocks and cleats that might help us go that tiny bit faster. That said, there was perhaps less need for fine-tuning this particular morning because, as so often this summer, the river shimmered to a light westerly wind that was set to ease as the morning went on. Our race officer, Solo Svengali Jon Clarke, weighed the options. Should he send us on a big course, meaning we’d have to traverse the main channel tide both upwind and down? Or should he set something tamer, with shorter, easier laps but less opportunity for bold initiatives and a good fleet ‘spread’. Eager to please, Jon gave us both: a large triangular course for race one and a smaller, simpler triangle in the fading airs of race two.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBriefing done, tweaks completed, the racers took to the water for the morning’s first club line start. Hooter sounded, five minutes ’til the off. Even from a distance, the familiar waltzing between boats running up and down the line suggested things might not be easy. A closer look revealed how testing things really were. Light wind? Certainly. Consistent direction? Not really. Instead, the gusts flicked back and forth, keeping everyone on their heels. Which end of the line was favoured? Could you get there? Was there room to do so? By the time the one-minute hooted it was reassuringly clear to some, painfully apparent to others that crossing the start-line on starboard meant securing your ‘spot’ early. Paul Honey in his full-rig Laser and Will Loy in his Solo had the measure of things. Many others (your correspondent included) hadn’t. An unlucky few, set fair with seventy seconds to go, were left scrambling like startled spiders at thirty. Stopwatches ticking down, the shenanigans began in earnest as the pack began to bunch. Five seconds to go, the ‘pin end’ buoy quivered as boat after boat struggled to round it. Was that chuckling from the Start Hut or words of encouragement?\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eNo sooner had the drama peaked at the start line than the curtain came down on the first act. With the sun now gracing a cloudless sky, Paul Honey’s Laser and Will Loy’s Solo made hay. Both reaped the rewards of their excellent starts, speeding away from a fleet still threshing towards the windward mark. A lengthy reach all the way to Galmpton entrance saw the leading pair disappear far into the distance, Paul ‘kiting’ his sail to harvest as much wind as possible, Will avoiding unnecessary movement to keep his Solo skimming downwind. Far behind them, the chasing group split along two axes. The ‘gybers’ zig-zagged their way to stronger gusts in the main channel, risking an adverse tide they knew was about to turn. The ‘runners’ stayed closer to shore. Fewer changes of direction here, just booms pushed out wide, the Lasers sailing by the lee, the Solos, for the most part, remaining on port, knowing (or hoping) that a lee bow tide would edge them closer towards that distant Galmpton mark. Too soon perhaps to speak of winners or losers, but Peter Sturgess in his Solo fared best among the gybers, while Ged Yardy in his D-Zero made strongest progress among the runners.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eA briefer leg to the next mark off the Waddeton shore posed different challenges. An early tack allowed boats to stem the tide and head for better wind. Those preferring a single fetch for the mark had less to do but would slip sideways as that powerful tide hit them beam on. Would there be lifts to help you feather up and get back on line? Or was it better to bite the bullet, the earlier tack helping you ferry-glide into the mark later on? You, dear reader, can choose (or, perhaps, remember). Back on the course, the leading pair maintained their lead but there was change afoot behind them. Peter Sturgess took the early tack option and stayed in the hunt. Among the other Solos, Mike Bennett, Sam Westcott and Richard Allen were all making ground, playing the shifts, watching that tide. Of the chasing Lasers, Paul Mogridge also kept up the pressure, his transom raised clear of the water off-wind, his full-rig powering him nicely upwind. Elsewhere, not much separated Ged Yardy and Martin Thomas, while their third D-Zero musketeer, Roger Morley, closed the gap on them both. It was a similar story among the other Lasers, where Pam Spittle, Nicky Sheppard, Denise Winks, Kevin Gilbraith, Paul Green and Martin Ely were sometimes clustered, sometimes split as those gybing-tacking choices were made.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAnd so it continued into the second lap. Paul Honey, by now a distant speck for most of us, kept the Solos – and everyone else - at bay. Behind him, Will Loy and Peter Sturgess swapped places, the latter snatching second place by a slender six-second margin.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThose flickering gusts having prised the fleet apart, there was much to think about as the boats reassembled for a briefer second contest. Our safety boat volunteers, Chris Taylor and Jayne Morris, tended the gathering flock, spreading the word about the new triangle course. So our path to enlightenment was clear. But how best to follow it? Uppermost, surely, the day’s clearest lesson so far: a good start matters.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe morning’s forecast had predicted a shower or two, but nothing worse. As our hapless starters were soon to discover, though, it was lightning - not literal, but metaphorical - that struck twice. Again, their waltzing was interrupted by a fickle wind; again, the start line seemed to shorten as options ran out. This time, a different pairing of Peter Sturgess and Martin Thomas managed to get away, rounding the windward mark for another reach across the main channel to the wing mark on the Greenway bank. The chasers, though, were not far behind, assisted by a comely gust, which coaxed them onwards as it swept upriver. For some, there was planing to be had on a close reach back to the Owers Red Buoy. But then, much trickier progress upwind as everyone laboured back towards the finish line. Picking up the now favourable tide and some promising zephyrs offshore seemed obvious, but those oscillating breezes whispered otherwise. Spotting the wind-shifts and reacting to them quickly would make the difference. Eventual winners, Peter Sturgess and Paul Honey made the best of it. Each sustained their momentum while others slowed. Eyes glued to tell-tales, everyone finished the day much as they’d started it, beguiled by the capriciousness of sailing at Dittisham.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDSC Mid-week race -\u0026nbsp;Tuesday 1 September 2020\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBy Martin Thomas\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eLong-time aficionados of DSC’s mid-week evening races and the get-togethers that usually follow in the beer garden of series sponsors, \u003cem\u003eThe Red Lion\u003c/em\u003e, will not be surprised by the canine theme of our latest encounter at Dittisham on Tuesday 1 September. The promise of a meeting with \u003cem\u003eThe Red Lion’s\u003c/em\u003e newest residents – two four-month-old Dalmatian pups – still ahead of them, the mid-week sailors were first greeted by not one, but two lovely golden retrievers who’d brought along their owners, Sue Evans and Pete Joscelyn, to help out with proceedings.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBy then, the evening’s race officer, our club commodore, Mike Webster, was already sniffing the wind with all the skill of his fine-featured spaniel, \u003cem\u003eFern\u003c/em\u003e. Was that southerly enough to sail by? Would it hold? Was that a stray biscuit in the race hut? His eyes still scanning the horizon, or, more precisely, the holes appearing in the wind, Mike made two quick – and wise - decisions. One was to set a straightforward triangle course. Its dimensions, like Goldilocks’ apocryphal porridge bowl, were just about right. The other was to put two of his race team on immediate furlough. Released from their duties, said volunteers - Liz Lee and Pete Joscelyn – found themselves free to sail instead. His altruism already proven, Mike then went the extra mile, loaning lucky sailor Pete a pair of salopettes to keep him nice and dry aboard his full-rig Laser. Not only that, but Mike took charge of Pete’s birthday-girl retriever \u003cem\u003eAnnie\u003c/em\u003e (who wouldn’t want to spend their fourth birthday bounding up and down the boat park?) while her owner pushed off from the beach.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eA new month, but some familiar issues confronted the nine competitors zig-zagging along the club line as the countdown ticked towards its 6pm go. The combination of a fading wind, perhaps five knots at best, and a fast-running flood tide would put delicate boat handling and careful breeze-spotting at a premium. The challenge was evident from the start. Their fully-battened mains and yellow buoyancy bags gleaming in the evening sunshine, Solo sailors Trevor Kirkin and Martin Fodder sped greyhound-like out of the traps. Both took full advantage of helpful lifts to propel them swiftly to the windward mark 150 metres down-river from that club line. Close behind them was Sam Westcott, another sailor to have a strong start in her Solo \u003cem\u003eLagertha\u003c/em\u003e. Those, like Martin Thomas in his D-Zero, who opted to avoid the adverse tide and head inshore, were left cursing and becalmed.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe testy windward mark negotiated, the reach that followed sent the pack scurrying this way and that as they nosed among the moored boats. Some foraged for patches of wind. Others were more direct, ears pricking at an early sight of the wing mark not far out in the main channel. By the time he got there, early leader Trevor Kirkin had Joscelyn in hot pursuit, salopette-clad Pete’s endeavours spurred by \u003cem\u003eAnnie’s \u003c/em\u003e‘how could you leave me on my birthday?’ whimpers from shore. Behind them, a still cursing Thomas was making ground as his D-Zero at last made contact with the occasional gust. It was a wilier sailor, Richard Allen in his Solo, who had the keener scent for victory. Playing what minimal breeze there was to full advantage, as the race wore on, he’d chase down the early leaders with the relentless determination of a wolf shadowing unsuspecting buffalo.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eMeanwhile, and as is so often the case at Dittisham, captivating races-within-races were taking shape. The first pitched three Solos into a dogfight, its outlines woven amongst the moorings. Not since Biggles bested the Red Baron were honours so keenly fought. One after the other, our combatants emerged abruptly, if not quite from behind the clouds, then certainly from astern the gaffers and fishing boats. Their Solo pilots? None other than the early pairing of Solo leaders, Trevor Kirkin and Martin Fodder, plus a third – Johnny Moulsdale. With the good sense to keep a little offshore, and thus within the band of steadier wind, Johnny would eventually succeed in splitting the other two and finishing between them.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAs for Laser Radial sailors Nicky Sheppard and Liz Lee, their contest resolved itself, not so much into a tussle between them as a race against time. The setting sun may have kept shining, but the wind refused to be as helpful. So the duo had to work hard, not just to round a leeward mark that now seemed a very long way from the sanctuary of the finish, but to make it back to the club line against a tide whose bite left a gentle wash streaming astern of their Lasers. With encouragement from the race team and late arrival Julie Lee, both made it.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eLiz’s joy at completing her first introduction to racing at Dittisham was only eclipsed by that of \u003cem\u003eAnnie\u003c/em\u003e. Having urged him on with those doleful cries every time he’d gone past the club line, \u003cem\u003eAnnie\u003c/em\u003e sprinted to owner Pete, showering him with licks and muddy paws. Retrievers aren’t just trusty companions; their predictions of victory are pretty reliable too. Once handicaps were tallied, the hungry wolf was left unsated: Richard Allen secured a second, but it was Pete Joscelyn who took the win, with Martin Thomas a more distant third. Undeterred, Richard took to the water again for a well-deserved swim – as did \u003cem\u003eAnnie.\u003c/em\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003eNB: No sailors were harmed in the writing of this report\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eDSC Blue Flag Regatta - Sunday 23rd August\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eBy Martin Thomas\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAn imminent high tide spared only the narrowest of beach space for the sailors assembling on a sunny Sunday morning for Dittisham’s first-ever ‘Blue Flag’ Sailing Regatta. So the boat park was a sea of sail as competitors rigged their boats for the brace of races to come. A concise briefing from Richard Stevens, the day’s race officer, to explain his choice of that regatta staple, the ‘triangle-sausage’ combo, brought nods of approval from some, apparent comprehension from all; but ah, as we’ll see later, appearances can be deceptive.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eRichard’s offer of his catamaran – a magnum \u003cem\u003eOpus \u003c/em\u003eif ever there was one - to serve as the day’s ‘Regatta ship’ delivered the first committee boat racing of this post-lockdown sailing season. With it came the prospect of a decent start line and a genuine beat upwind. So it was with lively anticipation that twenty-seven souls ventured forth from DSC’s still sheltered shore towards the lively westerly wind funnelling down the river from Stoke Gabriel towards said start line off the Waddeton boathouse. Accompanying the boats weaving back and forth along that line came the murmur of sailors’ banter. Two themes emerged: one along the lines of ‘Where’s the windward mark?’ the other an incredulous ‘How far?’ Richard had promised a good, long beat with lots of tacking – and he didn’t disappoint. The other ‘points’ of our regatta triangle would see boats returning from their upwind travails on a picturesque downwind run to the Flat Owers buoy. Then, the bottom of the triangle was traced with a smart port-hand turn at Owers for a lovely, on the plane, off the plane reach back to the Waddeton start-line.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eTwo fleet starts, an inventory of competitor wristbands, and the usual melee of flags and hooters were no obstacle to the race team who got the first race cracking soon after 10am. First to go was the PY fleet. A mixed handicap, it sported thirteen Lasers, from the sprightly 4.7s of Denise Winks, Pam Spittle and Sue Thomas to the full-rig athleticism of Nick Barnett, Kevin Gilbraith, and father and son duo, Paul and Sam Mogridge. In-between, a larger clutch of mid-range Radials included Martin Ely, Paul Green, Paul Honey, Julie Lee and Colleen Pope. Alongside them was a full club complement of three Devoti D Zeros (Ged Yardy, Roger Morley, and Martin Thomas), and the king of the sportier boats: James Dodds’s Phantom. The PYers were followed five minutes later by the ten sailors of the Solo fleet, a nice combination of newer and older boats, club veterans and very welcome newer members. By 10.15am everyone across the fleets was stretching sinews and taxing tummy muscles, working to keep their boats more or less flat – or at least upright - in the face of that strengthening west wind.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBy the time they reached the Promised Land, or rather, the bobbing yellow plastic of that oh-so-distant windward mark, both fleets were beginning to spread out. (Aside, that is, from the four-abreast raft of Lasers, plus one shepherding D Zero, who, in the day’s only real challenge to social distancing, rounded the windward mark in unison.) The benefits of tidal advantage and playing those testy gusts were taking effect. It was more of the same on the downwind leg. Again, decisions had to be made. The shallower water of the Gurrow Point bank promised less adverse tide, but perhaps less wind. For others, it was when to gybe, and where. Some opted for minimal gybes, others for multiple ones, still others seemed to be wondering if they might get away without gybing at all. Several Lasers in the PY fleet were, by this stage, more than keeping pace with their D Zero and Phantom cousins. In the event, their skills would be amplified by the disaster about to befall those at the front of the fleet.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eIt was the first race’s second lap – the aforementioned sausage – that shook things up. (Who knew sausages could do such things?) Leading the pack on the water, the trio of James Dodds, Martin Thomas and Sam Mogridge proved the maxim that not just attending, but listening to a briefing is always worthwhile. Much like Mondriaan’s rejection of the diagonal or perhaps closer to Picasso’s embrace of Cubism, all three spurned the wisdom of the curvy \u003cem\u003esaucisson\u003c/em\u003e, sticking doggedly to their triangular preferences. Rejecting, or, more accurately, forgetting, that they were now supposed to sail the outline of a giant River Dart bratwurst, the hapless three instead retraced their earlier steps, leaving a number of their less frankfurter-phobic PY colleagues to finish well before them. Truth be told, a different trio – of Laser sailors, Sue Thomas, Ian Wakeling and Paul Honey – had already done more than enough to secure the top three places on handicap, leaving only Sam, who had been in contention for a win, to rue his forgetfulness.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eFree of any aversion for second-lap sausages, the Solo fleet proved a more disciplined bunch. There, the top three placings would eventually go to Will Loy, Jon Clarke and Mike Webster. As the last boats of the Solo fleet rounded the finish line, there seemed all to play for in the second race. ’Twas then that a thick wedge of black cloud descended, bringing with it vicious squalls (at least for us refined Dittisham folk) and a sharp increase in wind strength. Some rejoiced, devouring the time between races to whizz around the wavelets. Others read the gustiness differently: as proof positive that an early lunch made sense.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe PY fleet now hollowed out to ten, the Solos still at full strength, were soon lining up for their second starts. Ironically, they did so amid brightening skies and a wind easing back to force three. The race team had meanwhile trimmed the course – bringing the windward mark within eyeshot of the start line – and thereby making the second races less muscular, but more tactical. Zephyrs still tempted us with lifts but holes of glassy windlessness also appeared – unfortunately, the largest being near that Flat Owers wing mark. Perhaps spying the problem, our race officer brought an early end to proceedings sounding a shortened course of a single triangle. Again, the Lasers triumphed in PY. This time Sam Mogridge sailed a true course, romping home, closely followed on handicap by Sue Thomas in her 4.7. In the Solos, Jon Clarke and Will Loy switched places, Jon emerging first, with Jayne Morris taking third place. Behind them, Mike Webster capitalised on Johnny Moulsdale’s eagerness to sail an unnecessary second lap to snatch fourth place over the line.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eFinal honours on the day went to Sue Thomas in her always-kept-flat-on-the-water 4.7, and Jon Clarke’s familiar lime-green Solo. With a bemused harbour seal and a flock of whooping curlew looking on, the delights of another regatta – albeit a brief one – up the River Dart were confirmed.\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003c/p\u003e","ComponentCode":null,"ComponentData":null,"ComponentError":null,"Background":{"Colour":null,"ImageURL":null,"ImageCrop":null,"Filter":null,"Html":"\u003cdiv class=\"cms-image\"\u003e\u003c/div\u003e"}}],"Height":0,"ColumnSpacing":0,"BottomMargin":0,"IsFullWidth":false,"IsBackgroundFullWidth":false,"Background":{"Colour":null,"ImageURL":null,"ImageCrop":null,"Filter":null,"Html":"\u003cdiv class=\"cms-image\"\u003e\u003c/div\u003e"}}],"PageURL":"https://www.dittishamsc.org.uk/Cms/Spaces/DEFAULT/Racing+Reports?version=25","AllVersions":[{"ID":24,"Name":"v1 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 30/08/2018 13:52"},{"ID":125,"Name":"v2 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 12/02/2019 17:03"},{"ID":146,"Name":"v3 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 04/03/2019 09:57"},{"ID":163,"Name":"v5 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 03/04/2019 09:51"},{"ID":177,"Name":"v12 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 17/04/2019 19:46"},{"ID":181,"Name":"v13 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 22/05/2019 20:00"},{"ID":187,"Name":"v14 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 23/07/2019 16:31"},{"ID":190,"Name":"v17 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 29/07/2019 19:41"},{"ID":201,"Name":"v18 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 18/08/2019 11:23"},{"ID":221,"Name":"v19 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 14/10/2019 09:51"},{"ID":500,"Name":"v20 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 04/09/2020 10:23"},{"ID":505,"Name":"v22 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 16/09/2020 09:30"},{"ID":506,"Name":"v23 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 19/09/2020 11:33"},{"ID":507,"Name":"v24 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 22/09/2020 09:10"},{"ID":508,"Name":"v25 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 29/09/2020 19:19"}],"Comments":[],"UpdatedComments":[],"Spaces":[],"IsWatching":false,"LastViewTime":null,"CanEdit":false,"CanPublish":false,"CanComment":false,"CanReadComments":false,"CanModerateComments":false,"CanLike":false,"CanWatch":false}