THE third Spring Series race took place on a near-perfect day in Gurnard Bay last Sunday, with some spectacular downwind sailing for all classes.
Closest finish was in the fast group, where Steve Cole and Pete Green held it all together to win by two seconds from Keith Hayden, with Martin Scott third.
Despite inverting in his RS400 just before the start, James Downer recovered to win the first race comfortably, followed home by Paul Bowen and Brett Aarons. After a swim in the first race Graham Deegan made a determined start in the second, but was overtaken by Bowen and Aarons by the finish with Downer dropping out damaged.
Mark Robinson’s Contender prevailed in the medium group, tailed by Gary Collett’s 470, with Mark Harrison and Phil Wright scrapping for third place.
Robin Leather dominated the cat fleet from the gun, with Paul Tanner enjoying the stiff conditions downwind in a cloud of spray as the best of the rest.
After three strenuous inshore rounds for the final group, Mike Peddar came through on handicap followed by Richard and Lily Ellis’ Feva and Rebecca Metcalf’s Laser 4.7 who crossed the line only a second apart.
The April series got under way last weekend in a Force 3 North-north-east breeze.
In the handicap class, only Picos came to the line and Helen Sceales again had the race sewn up from the start, with Alex Gallimore second and Tim and Dan Lee third.
Melinda Measor made a perfect start in the Scows and was followed by Alan Toms and Tony Sceales, leading the fleet into Mill Creek.
Behind her, positions changed significantly but in the end, Roger P-E took second, with Alan third.
There was a stronger Force 4-5 wind on Sunday and only three Picos turned out in the handicap class. The lightweight Alex capsized on the run early in the race and retired leaving Helen to sail the course in first place with Tim coming home a good second.
Nick and Alan led the Scows away in an interesting race where positions changed dramatically, mainly due to penalties being taken.
At the end of the first round, Nick regained first place with Alan a consistent second and Graeme third.
On the final beat to the line, Alan was fast closing the gap on Nick, who was sailing very close to the far bank and trying hard not to have to tack. However, he managed to get a nice lift which took him across the line before he hit the mud. Alan was a close second and Graeme third.
Meanwhile, two out of the four days of racing for Yarmouth’s Easter Series had to be cancelled thanks to the weather.
Helen Sceales was the overall winner of the handicap class Easter series and Melinda Measor in the Scows.
ROYAL VICTORIA YC
Racers are becoming adept at coping with strong winds and last Sunday was no exception.
A strong Squib fleet turned out to welcome their newest members, Jo and Mark Downer in Panther III, and were first away.
Most starters chose the port end of the line but Steve Warren-Smith and Andy Foulkes in Aquabat, and Kev and Marney Gibson in Satu, got it right on the conventional starboard tack, and took first and second respectively. Panther III were third.
Next up were the Lasers, also welcoming their newest member, Ryan Tullock, to the fast handicap start line.
Despite the testing conditions, all boats finished, with Jim MacMillan thriving in his full rig, closely followed by Ben Gibson (full-rig) and Tom Griffiths (4.7).
Eight intrepid Oppie sailors just made it to the line on time and survived the bigger seas inshore. Getting the best start was Tom White who held the lead all the way around, closely followed by Alex Downer. Despite being the smallest on the water, Hayden Sewell’s winter training showed its benefit as he came a commendable third.