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{"ID":574,"SpaceID":1,"PageID":24,"CreateCopyOfID":null,"HasCommentsThread":false,"SeoTags":{"OpenGraphTags":[{"ID":"og:title","Name":"Racing Reports"},{"ID":"og:type","Name":"website"},{"ID":"og:url","Name":"https://www.dittishamsc.org.uk/Cms/Spaces/DEFAULT/Racing+Reports"}],"NonOpenGraphTags":[]},"Path":"Racing+Reports","Title":"Racing Reports","Author":{"ID":25,"Name":"Roy Pryor","CompanyName":null},"Version":29,"IsDraft":false,"IsOldVersion":false,"PublicationDate":"06/09/2021 09:21","VersionDescription":"v29 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 06/09/2021 09:21","HideHeader":false,"IsFullWidth":false,"Blocks":[{"Columns":[{"Width":12,"WidthClasses":"col-md-12","Elements":[{"Type":"HTML","Content":"\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cspan style=\"font-size: 18px; color: rgb(23, 54, 93);\"\u003eRacing Reports 2021\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\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eLaser Club Championship, 30 August 2021 by Martin Thomas\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eA glowering sky, competitors bearing wounds from the preceding days’ yacht regatta, and a brisk north-easterly wind humming the first chilly notes of autumn: could it be that Dittisham’s inaugural Laser class championship might not make the grade? Of course not! DSC water-babies are made of sturdy stuff. As if to prove the point, the beach was soon a cascade of those distinctive three-batten Laser sails swishing to the rhythm of a breeze topping off at Force 4. Rigging done, the DSC bell summoned seventeen Laser sailors to race officer Jon Clarke’s course briefing.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eJon had treats in store. There would be ‘gold’ and ‘silver’ Laser fleets (later, a ‘bronze’ one as well). The latter two would start ahead of the former. Everyone would be assured ample room at the start line. And long, strung-out finishes would be avoided. We knew already from fleet captain and event organisers, Martin and Anne Ely, that there would be prizes - and cream-teas - aplenty. So a medalling bonanza and a hearty lunch were in prospect once the day’s three races were done. Before all that, Jon brought us back to earth, proudly drawing our attention to the map he’d sketched on the blackboard. But what was it? At first glance, the coloured dots and squiggles looked random, suggesting something by Jackson Pollock after a heavy night on the booze. Closer inspection revealed a challenging circuit beginning with a lengthy beat upwind towards the Galmpton shore. This was to be followed by a reach-run-reach-run-reach combo designed to get our Laser-ites beaming with anticipation. Plenty of overtaking opportunities, multiple chances to get on the plane but, oh, three gybes as well.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAs even the keenest Laser sailor concedes, this particular dinghy takes malicious delight in those downwind turns. Forgetting its origins as an affordable beach boat (with a pathetically inadequate rudder), at gybe marks the Laser morphs into a satisfied cat airily toying with a hapless rodent. It knows it has the claws and teeth needed to pitch its unsuspecting owner hurtling into the drink. On occasion, it even mocks them beforehand. With feline abandon, its rounded hull lurches the helm back and forth into the infamous Laser ‘death roll’, typically the prelude to a windward capsize. Sometimes it dispenses with niceties altogether, the boom playing cats paw to swipe the tardy gyber overboard. And woe-betide the wearer of a loose-fitting buoyancy aid: more than a sartorial calamity, another prime target for that roving boom. Most often, though, the ample mainsheet becomes the weapon of choice. It delivers the \u003cem\u003ecoup de grace\u003c/em\u003e more surreptitiously, snaking its way around the windward transom. In high winds, as every Laser sailor knows only too well, this, too, signals unceremonious defenestration into the waters below. Jon’s artwork deciphered, the realisation dawned that there were three gybes per lap to negotiate. Even the starchiest stiff upper lips went flaccid as nervous gulps filled the briefing room. Fear not, though, dear readers: our competitors soon recovered their composure, drawing succour from the presence of experienced safety boat teams and the knowledge that the river was warmed by weeks of summer sunshine.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eLet the games begin! Off we sailed to mid-channel where long-time club supporter, the catamaran \u003cem\u003eOpus\u003c/em\u003e, enlisted as committee boat and start line marker awaited us. The race team, expertly marshalled by Sheila Phillips, were ready. Some sat poised with clipboards. Others waved countdown flags of such enormity that they darkened the start-line. As anyone who has participated in the ‘big boat’ RDYC regatta will recall, volunteer committee boats seem to become magnetized in races, drawing boats towards them like moths to a flame. Poor \u003cem\u003eOpus\u003c/em\u003e, a veteran of such bruising encounters, this time basked in the safety of a well-deployed tender and owner Richard Stevens’ spaniel Ben. Tail wagging, he happily patrolled the boat’s flanks (Ben, that is, not Richard), ready to bark – or, more likely, lick – any sailor careless enough to get too close.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eCountdowns done, flags lowered, we were off for race 1. While others jockeyed good-naturedly along the line, Sue Thomas in her Laser Radial nipped in at the committee boat end giving herself clear air to tack up the middle of the first beat. The majority followed suit. An adventurous minority meanwhile threw caution to the wind (literally in this case), risking a longer tack up the right-hand side towards the Greenway bank. Thanks to a lifting line of breeze curving down the river from Galmpton, the ploy worked – this time at least. Sue Thomas still made the windward mark first but the right-hand adventurers reaped the rewards of that steady lift, criss-crossing with the other early leaders who’d taken the middle path. At this point, Paul Honey, second in the chasing pack, came unstuck in his bid to double-tack into the mark. Forced to tack back quickly by an oncoming rival with starboard rights, Paul’s boat was soon impaled on the mark itself. Despite a strong recovery later on, he couldn’t make up the lost ground.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAs the race unfolded, Dittisham’s befuddling combination of shifting wind and tidal river presented further testing choices. Tell-tales squirmed like drunken eels, defying their watchers to work out where the heck the wind was coming from. What were supposed to be reaching legs turned first into unexpected beats, then into fetches. The long run back towards the start line was relatively predictable by comparison. That lovely whirring vibe of a Laser on the plane rewarded those who intercepted the onrushing zephyrs but frustrated others becalmed in lulls. More playful than fierce, the wind stayed largely benign. Largely, but not entirely: most rounded those fearful gybe marks without difficulty. Still, an unlucky few would find themselves summarily evicted from their boats by the now legendary Dittisham gust-bombs. Your correspondent wasn’t close enough to these episodes to play hack reporter, let alone reliable witness, but the distinctive sight of capsized boats with boom and sail pointing skywards suggested that some combination of death rolls and trapped mainsheets had done their worst. Meanwhile, after three laps completed, Sue Thomas crossed the finish in first place with Martin Thomas in Anne Ely’s loaned Laser Radial in second, closely followed by Graham Buckel in his Laser full rig. (Handicap corrections would see Paul Honey, disgorged from that windward mark, elevated to third and Victory Montgomery to fourth.), Ian Wakeling, Steven Black and Graham Montgomery (each Laser full rig) were not far behind while Denise Winks also put in a late challenge in her Laser Radial. As these and other finishers streamed over the line, race officer Jon Clarke shouted their assignment to the ‘gold’ or ‘silver’ fleets. So the next race would see boats starting with a one-minute interval between them.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eHooter sounded, giant flags deployed, Ben still protecting \u003cem\u003eOpus’s\u003c/em\u003e gunwales, the silver fleet duly began their second race as the blue-and-white \u003cem\u003ePapa\u003c/em\u003e came down. Freed of any need to worry about a crowded line, a stress-free start saw the mixed fleet of Radial and 4.7 rigged Lasers opting for the middle path up the beat. Victory Montgomery, sailing a Laser for the first time, made particularly good ground, hiking hard to defuse those pesky gust-bombs. His performance perhaps inspired dad Graham. Montgomery Senior timed his gold fleet start perfectly, hitting the line at speed to establish an early lead. Sue Thomas, another exemplary hiker, followed him, her boat kept so flat that it prompted accusations of a concealed spirit level on the foredeck. Paul Honey, Steven Black and Ian Wakeling also kept themselves in the mix. Each tacked shrewdly on the gusts trying to thwart those convinced that the right-hand side of the course might still be favoured. One of those, Paul Green in his Laser Radial, carried on unperturbed, evidently convinced that minimal tacks and that impending right-side lift would steer him to glory. Soon silver and gold fleets were intertwined. Among the former, Colleen Pope in her Radial and Nicky Sheppard in her 4.7 fought hard to keep themselves among the leading boats. Paul Green’s hunch was paying off, but it was Ian Wakeling who looked set for the winner’s podium until, with some blend of altruism and self-destructiveness, he threw himself into the river with a windward capsize. The outcome of the second race saw Graham Montgomery cross the line in first place, before the harsh discipline of the Handicap tallies rewarded the Radials, giving the race win to Paul Green, with Paul Honey second, and Sue Thomas third. A drenched Ian Wakeling, who’d been doing so well up that beat, was left to ponder what might have been. The rest of the fleets meanwhile registered strong improvement, closing the gap on the leaders to ensure a quick turnaround for race 3.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe brief intermission before the day’s final race saw the wind picking up again. So much so that a couple of competitors took an unanticipated capsize revision class before we returned to the line for our last examination. Obscured as he was by the ever-encircling Ben, it was clear nonetheless that Jon Clarke was pleased with his experimentation with gold and silver fleets. This time, Jon took his alchemy a step further, adding a bronze fleet scheduled to start five minutes ahead of the gold. Thus it was that race 3 compressed three separate starts into a single 5-4-1 countdown. Wow! They don’t even manage that at the Olympics. As before, those starts were clean and well contested. Numerous boats chomped across the line to the encouraging blast of the hooter. A galloping field of white sails duly advanced across the main river channel - the final charge to the windward mark was on. Onward they rode, the fifteen remaining competitors of the Laser brigade who stuck things out to the last. Thankfully, this was no Valley of Death, more a celebratory home-run to those much-anticipated cream teas as the earlier uptick in the wind faded into a Force 3 breeze oscillating between the Dittisham and Greenway shores. By the time they reached the Galmpton mark, the contest looked all but over, Sue Thomas having set the pace with another careful, flat-boated progress upwind. Positions were more keenly fought out behind her with Paul Honey and Martin Ely showing strongest in the Radials. But never under-estimate the 4.7. Anyone able to coax a Laser around a light wind course with only a small sail to help them deserves recognition. So it was great to see Nicky Sheppard take the final race on handicap with fellow 4.7 sailor Victory Montgomery coming in third.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAn especially generous prize-giving confirmed Sue Thomas as first in the Radials and overall championship winner. Ian Wakeling took first place overall among the full rigs and Victory Montgomery secured first in the 4.7 class (and a mightily impressive third overall). Second places in the respective Lasers classes went to Graham Buckel (full rig), Paul Honey (Radial), and Nicky Sheppard (4.7). And in third were Steven Black (full rig), Martin Thomas (Radial), and Pam Spittle (4.7). Unanimously hailed a great success, another club Laser championship beckons next year.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSummer Points 3 \u0026 4 -\u0026nbsp;18 July 2021 by Martin Thomas\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eA week of brilliant Devon sunshine encouraged a sea breeze to kick in early on this glorious Sunday morning, adding vim to a gentle easterly that greeted the Dittisham regulars assembled for the two back-to-back races of our Summer Points programme. Having weighed his options from a safety boat, race officer Jon Clarke set an expansive course, and an imaginative one. It would begin with a downwind start. This was to be followed by two successive beats laced together with a short intervening reach. Mainsails would then be set wide for a final run back through the Club Hut start line.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe more seasoned sailors know that downwind starts can be testing. Reaching or running in at speed make timing the approach harder and avoiding others trickier. Salty mutterings from boats jostling for space may be expected. With two fleet starts – one for a mixed PY fleet, the other for the Solo class - at least there was ample room along the club line. No expletives this time round. Let’s remind ourselves of two things after all: the wind was light and the competitors commendably polite. The first races thus began without incident (your correspondent’s brief encounter with a moored cruiser notwithstanding). So it took the first of those beats to split the PY fleet. Paul Green in his D Zero reaped the rewards. So did Paul Honey and Graham Montgomery. Each got away well in their Laser full-rigs. Close behind them, Sue Thomas in her Laser Radial also made quick progress towards the first of the windward marks. But what to do next? Spying patches of stronger breeze was key. Taking transits to see if the powerful ebb tide was pushing your bow off also proved useful as the wind direction, although flicking slightly, remained pretty reliably in that easterly quarter. \u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eThe Solos, beginning five minutes after the Handicap fleet, followed a similar route. That said, the Soloists split more definitively still, the racers choosing one of two opposing tracks upwind, the first leftward amongst the moorings on the Dittisham side, the second rightward towards the Greenway bank. What did this mean? Some, it seems, had spotted the building breeze inshore. Others opted to stick with a starboard tack for the lay-line to that initial windward mark. In both race fleets, PY handicap and Solos alike, boats weaved past each other, do-si-doing their way around that windward mark in an aquatic barn-dance of tight turns and rhythmic roll-tacks. Next came that bootlace reach - a hundred yards or so of quicker, offwind sailing that tied beat one to the second upwind leg of beat two. It proved quite a discriminator. A tight rounding of the that initial windward mark set those that could achieve it up for a nice high-and-fast line, shutting the door on chasing boats that hoped for an overtaking opportunity. Thus did Paul Honey, a master of such on-the-water gymnastics, fend off his PY fleet chasers, startling a couple of black-headed gulls that took flight, squawking their admiration. Further back, but still very much in contention, Victory Montgomery in his Topper kept up the pressure, sailing tidily to maximise his boat’s potential once handicaps were tallied.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eIn the PY’s Paul Honey, Sue Thomas and Victory duly took first, second and third places in the first race, while Peter Sturgess, Sam Westcott and Johnny Moulsdale would do the same in the Solos.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eRace 2 was soon under way. Again, relatively sedate starts (maybe kicking-off downwind is the way to go?) Again, a jumble to the initial mark before fleet splits on the way up the first beat. Again, nifty roundings and speedy reaches the key to place changes on that bootlace reach. Any differences this time? Well, yes. For one thing, the breeze was fading, which favoured the faster PY boats. For another, a bigger wind-shift, which paid off for the gamblers who placed their chips on the inshore path upwind. Results saw Martin Thomas’s D Zero take first in the PY fleet with Laser sailors Paul Honey and Sue Thomas close behind. More consistent, the trio of Peter Sturgess, Sam Westcott, and Johnny Moulsdale romped home in the same order as before in the Solos.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eWith the breeze merging imperceptibly into an idyllic summer evening, the happy few made their way off the water for more chips – this time, not metaphorical but real, at series sponsors \u003cem\u003eThe Red Lion\u003c/em\u003e; an appropriate end to some tasty racing.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eSolo Open -\u0026nbsp;3 July 2021\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eby Martin Thomas\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eImagine the sensation. You finally reach Dittisham for your first visit on one of those grey, misty mornings that suggest we’ve skipped, not from June to July but straight into autumn. The visibility was bad. The drizzle was sullen. And yet…through the murk, mast tops swaying invitingly at their Anchorstone moorings, a partial vista of that lovely sailing area curving to the Dart’s gentle bend, oyster-catcher shrills from Gurrow Point, and, best of all, the warming blush of a decent south-westerly breeze. How could we doubt her? Dittisham would work her magic as always.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBy 10am the foreshore was an industrious production line. Owners made final checks before rolling their Solos into the shallows, and into action at DSC’s one-design Solo Open Meeting. Sailors are a redoubtable bunch and, undeterred by the early morning gloom, several had travelled some distance to make the event. Visitors from the West Midlands, South Cerney and Chew Valley, from Lymington, Starcross, the Teign and Torpoint, and, most impressive, five hardy souls from Fowey made for a diverse team-sheet. Hugely welcome, the visitors’ presence was a testament to the terrific organisational work of Dittisham’s Solo fleet captain Trevor Kirkin and his team. A very big thank you to them.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eBy the time the DSC bell summoned the thirty-two competitors for their morning briefing, the sun had banished the mist and the wind was filling in nicely. It would continue scooting along at somewhere between a force three to four. Perfect conditions. No room for complacency though. Seemingly obligatory, those Dittisham weather gods would lob in the occasional gust-bomb and, as usual, aimed their most incendiary packages at the gybe mark. Capsizes aplenty, frantic scrambling for righting lines and impromptu kisses exchanged between boats thrown together by those curve-ball gusts - all of this was still to come. First we had to be told where to go. The clubhouse, redesigned and newly extended, kept its jewels hidden under the blanket of Covid restrictions. So our race officer, James Dodds addressed the multitude in open forum. He spiced his explanation of an expansive ‘triangle-sausage’ course with improvised whiteboard etchings of the River’s topography and its likely consequences in wind bends. Crikey, double geography and physics, and not even 10.30. Class dismissed, we readied ourselves for the first of three races.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eJames had warned us of a short start line at which polite stacking and exceptional vigilance might be required. In the event, proceedings began without incident. A phalanx of Solos advanced solidly over the line. Then the racing began in earnest. One after another boats broke rank as the first of those gust bombs exploded. Some boats tacked off out of the adverse tide. Others got such instructional headers that a change of tack was obligatory. Heading shorewards made sense, but which side? Boats lying at anchor in opposite directions on the two sides of the river hinted at a strong counter-current but there were gains to be made in feathering up on those gusts and playing the shifts mid-channel. Work up the middle or bang the corners? A familiar dilemma, and those capable of thinking in vectors, of using a compass, or of reading their tell-tales would reap their rewards. Perhaps inevitably, the long beat towards a gleaming windwind mark bobbing in the sunshine off Greenway did its job in identifying the classiest acts.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAs boats rounded for their wing mark, the day’s leading pack was already clustering. Chris Meredith (Chew Valley), Andy Hyland (Lymington), Alex McKay and Charlie Nunn (both Fowey Gallants), Gary Molton and Malcolm Davies (each Teign Corinthian), Ian Bartlett (South Cerney), plus Dittisham’s Jon Clarke and Stuart Hydon would all keep their places in the leading cohort throughout this and the coming races. Their spray-scattering progress downwind offered little comfort to the mere mortals still battling to that first rounding. But, as is so much a part of enjoyable sailing, the chasers resolved themselves into sub-races. John Steels (Starcross) would put in three strong performances, as would Dittisham’s Peter Sturgess. Others did best in the morning races, the delicious lunchtime fare perhaps adding a bit too much ballast as we resumed for the afternoon. The course having been reset to ensure copious tacks throughout, club commodore Anne-marie Coyle defied the soporific effects of lunch, making excellent progress up another long beat. Another Dittisham regular, Sam Westcott, got her boat flying downwind. And village resident Adam Milton worked his way up the fleet, saving his strongest performance for last. As before, the day’s final race would see places switching as good tacking decisions, nightmarish gybes, exploding kickers, and fun-packed reaches kept everyone concentrating – and smiling – to the last. Final tallies saw Andy Hyland (Lymington) secure first place, with Chris Meredith (Chew Valley) second, and Alex McKay (Fowey Gallants) third.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eHearty congratulations to them, but fun-filled concentration? Just what is it that makes this little boat, the Solo, such an object of devotion? Your correspondent, not a Solo sailor, was left pondering this imponderable as he limped along at the back of the fleet aboard a vessel generously lent him by Les Moores, a seasoned devotee. Perhaps a clue lay in the name of what would be the day’s winning Solo: Andy Hyland’s \u003cem\u003ePretty Vacant\u003c/em\u003e. Those readers with long memories and damaged hearing will recognise the invocation of a Sex Pistols punk classic - ahead of its time in the ’70s and still the subject of unswerving loyalty among fans of a certain age in the 2020s. Perhaps that’s it. Fads and foiling may come and go but it takes a boat of real quality to inspire a longstanding fleet. And on this particular day, Dittisham, the River Dart, and a superb race team afloat and ashore kept that faith alive. As Johnny Rotten would have it, \u003cem\u003eNever Mind the B*llocks, Here’s the Solos\u003c/em\u003e!\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003e\u003cstrong\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eEarly Summer Points Series, Races 5 \u0026 6 - Sunday\u0026nbsp;6 June 2021\u003c/strong\u003e\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp\u003e\u003cstrong\u003eby Martin Thomas\u003c/strong\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eA delighted Labrador licking an ice-cream on the Dittisham Ham reminded us how glorious Devon sunshine can be as the masses assembled for Early Summer Points races 5 and 6. Things were looking good. A light sou-easterly flicking its way over the Greenway shore was enough to tempt a boisterous fleet of 29 sailors for our first Committee Boat racing of the season. \u003cem\u003eNikita\u003c/em\u003e, the \u0027Com.Bo\u0027 in question, looked especially alluring with freshly applied red-topped anti-foul, her engine purring gently thanks to the winter ministrations of our resident marine engineer, Les Moores. Perhaps admiring his handiwork, Les would put in some great sailing in his Solo - but more of that later.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eWith Christine Phillips generously providing safety cover in her Dory alongside Chris Taylor and Peter Sturgess aboard DSC 2, all was set for two quick-fire back-to-back races. Briefing done, boats launched, the sixteen boats in the Handicap fleet would set off five minutes ahead of thirteen Solos. Aboard \u003cem\u003eNikita, \u003c/em\u003ethe Thomases race team busied themselves with \u0027Com.Bo\u0027 technology, new and old: a funky electronic windex; not one, but two battery-connected hooters; and, best of all, a flurry of race flags mounted on bamboo sticks. Such was the pre-race curfuffle, with said flags being spun hither and thither, that \u003cem\u003eNikita’s \u003c/em\u003ecockpit briefly resembled a North Korean parade gone horribly wrong. As the clock ticked inexorably down, order was finally restored. So much so that once the race sequence started, bamboo canes were deployed with all the efficiency of an allotment architect erecting his runner beans.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eHooter no. 1 was soon called into action: five minutes to go before the lengthy first beat downstream to a fixed mark [our old friend ‘G’ for the long-suffering cognoscenti], then a port rounding back to a laid mark at Galmpton entrance, followed by a broad reach to a leeward mark beyond the start line. There was line-checking aplenty among an increasingly bemused fleet as the wind, steady at around 9 knots, decided to oscillate between east and sou-east. Another blast on that hooter – one minute to go and the Handicap clan was gathering. Multiple Lasers, a pair of Streakers, a D Zero trio, and a solitary Topper searched for their place on the line as some weightier beasts – a fine-looking Phantom and the Elys’ redoubtable Wayfarer – snapped at their heels. A final blast and they were off. Line clear! Amid the fury (more accurately, the sound of kickers jammed on and sheets pulled in), Paul Green got the pick of the starts in his D Zero, taking full advantage of the resultant clear air to coast into an early lead.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eNow the Solos began sniffing the air. More line checks, more jockeying for position below the line as hooters and flags urged them to action. Another clean start but, this time, more of a tactical split. Some of those to show first went left. Others, perhaps sensing the more favourable wind bend, went right. Soon the river was a glassy dancefloor, sails flitting back and forth like Mayflies as both fleets tacked their way to that first mark. For both fleets the long reach back to that leeward mark proved decisive. Those prepared to jybe toward the middle of the course found helpful gusts and more favourable tide, more than compensating for the extra yards they had to sail. In the Handicap fleet, Pete Joscelyn keeping his Laser full-rig beautifully flat, and John Hughes-Jones, a recent D Zero convert, were first to profit. In the Solo fleet, Johnny Moulsdale, Mike Bennett and Jayne Morris proved equally sharp-eyed wind detectives.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eAlas! a lightening breeze meant a shortened course for both fleets. So the first races, like the seconds to follow, would be truncated to two triangular laps. Pete Joscelyn and John Hughes-Jones sustained their first and second places in the Handicap fleet. And the Moulsdale-Bennett-Morris collective nabbed the top spots in the Solos.\u003c/p\u003e\n\u003cp style=\"text-align: justify;\"\u003eNo time to dally – that breeze looked set to drop still further. A quick check of wind direction and we were into sequence for the second races. Two late arrivals, Tim Littler in his Aero 7 and Jon Clarke in his Solo, added competitive edge to both fleets. And soon everyone was racing. There was plenty to enjoy. Another beat completed before a slackening wind decided to pick itself up again and veer southerly. But Dittisham sailors aren’t easily out-smarted by tricky windshifts. Instead, there were fine performances from, among others, Jenny Richardson in her Streaker and the aforementioned Elys in their battling Wayfarer. The Solo fleet saw a storming finish from Les Moores, our aforementioned \u003cem\u003eNikita\u003c/em\u003e-carer. His sprint to the line allowed Les to take second place behind the invincible Jon Clarke in the Solo fleet. Lest we think only of the hares, remember though, that slower boats, like tortoises, can come out smiling. So a special final word for Victory Montgomery in his Topper. Victory, by some margin our youngest competitor, had quietly put down a marker in the first race – finishing fifth behind his Dad’s Laser on handicap. This was a portent of the achievement to come. Sailing neatly, his boat trim perfect, Victory weaved his way round the course among several Lasers. Could it be? It could: when results were tallied, his Topper came in first. A well deserved win for a fine sailor and a fitting end to a smashing day.\u003cbr\u003e\u003cbr\u003e\u003c/p\u003e","ContentConfig":{"Caption":null,"Icon":null,"IconColour":null,"CaptionColour":null,"UnderlineColour":null,"TextColour":null,"PaddingLeft":"10px","PaddingTop":"10px","PaddingRight":"10px","PaddingBottom":"10px","FontSize":null,"LineHeight":null,"BottomMargin":0,"PhoneVisible":true,"TabletVisible":true,"DesktopVisible":true},"ComponentCode":null,"ComponentData":null,"ComponentError":null,"BottomMargin":0,"ResponsiveClasses":"","Background":{"Colour":null,"ImageURL":null,"Filter":null,"IsParallax":false,"Image":""},"ImageConfig":{"ImageURL":null,"ObjectFit":"contain","ImageHeight":null,"FrameStyle":null,"BorderRadius":null,"AltText":null,"LinkURL":null,"PaddingLeft":null,"PaddingTop":null,"PaddingRight":null,"PaddingBottom":null,"BottomMargin":0,"PhoneVisible":true,"TabletVisible":true,"DesktopVisible":true}}]}],"ColumnSpacing":0,"BottomMargin":0,"TopPadding":0,"IsFullWidth":false,"IsBackgroundFullWidth":false,"Background":{"Colour":null,"ImageURL":null,"Filter":null,"IsParallax":false,"Image":""}}],"PageURL":"https://www.dittishamsc.org.uk/Cms/Spaces/DEFAULT/Racing+Reports?version=29","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":221,"Name":"v19 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 14/10/2019 09:51"},{"ID":508,"Name":"v25 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 29/09/2020 19:19"},{"ID":563,"Name":"v26 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 10/06/2021 11:23"},{"ID":566,"Name":"v27 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 09/07/2021 08:16"},{"ID":569,"Name":"v28 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 24/07/2021 10:08"},{"ID":574,"Name":"v29 - Racing Reports - Roy Pryor - 06/09/2021 09:21"}],"Comments":[],"UpdatedComments":[],"Spaces":[],"IsWatching":false,"LastViewTime":null,"CanEdit":false,"CanPublish":false,"CanCopy":false,"CanComment":false,"CanReadComments":false,"CanModerateComments":false,"CanLike":false,"CanWatch":false}