Datchet Open

Datchet Water SC Fast Cat Open

16-17 March 2013

Saturday morning as promised by the weather man turned out to be very windy and wet. Gusts up to 35 knots were felt as the sailors readied their boats for the opening race of the season.

Dark clouds and rain fronts moving across the lake at breakneck speeds  – it was going to be a hard day on the water!  Oh and cold 5°C, not a day to fall in or fall over.

However, the weatherman also predicted it to drop off , and bang on cue at 12 noon the wind abated to a manageable 15-19 knots and the rain stopped.  As John Ready says, if you wait for perfect sailing weather, you will probably never sail at all.

6 hurricanes SX made their way out to the start, including 2 virgin SX’ers Nathan Jones on 102 and Ben Peter on 044, who have upgraded their boats over the winter.

The plan for each day 4 races, back to back , 3 laps windward / leeward  – fast paced crash and burn sailing , each race lasting around 25 minutes.

Race officer Barry Peters  likes to reward those that can see an opportunity,  he set a pin end  biased line that also enticed port end flyers if you were brave enough.

Race 1 Sure enough John Ready guest helming for local Andy Bedford grabbed the chance and blasted away on port on the B of bang in race one, chased hard by Greg and Tom on 137 and Paul and Sam on 118. The wind was behaving, not shifting as it can do, everyone looking for clean air and working the gusts.

Reed and Ready cross tacks at the top with Ready driving over the top and leading into the top mark.  A quick reach to the next mark and kites up, and the pair split tacks to go downwind. Ready  wins the leg to the bottom mark but still nothing in it. This time Reed gets the better beat and leads at the top and moves away and holds on to win race 1.

Race 2  similar pre-race maneuvers , but this time Reed/Loosemore join the brave at the pin end! Ready/Bedford get the pole again, however Reed/Loosemore have the better boat speed upwind or possibly had better gusts that drove the boat forward ( you do have to love the new Square top sails for good gust response!) and take the first mark. McKay/Nicholls fighting hard with Ready/Bedford cover each other up and down for the next 2 laps. Allowing Reed to win race 2, Ready 2nd McKay 3rd.

Race 3 was a race of gear failure and downwind capsizes. Reed/ Loosemore leading out McKay/Nicholls.

Race 4 only saw 3 boats start (cold sailors and boat fixing) however still very tight between Reed, Ready and McKay.  Some close crossing of tacks made for good combative racing, all looking for the extra shaft of wind (gust) that would propel them ahead of the other 2. Reed/Loosemore finally get to lead the blast downwind. They then hold on to win as Ready holds off McKay for 2nd.

Saturday night will be remembered for a lacklustre performance by England Rugby vs Wales and brave Scotland by keeping the French within sight to relegate the French to the Wooden spoon. ( England losing a potential Grand Slam and triple crown, feels bad, but the knowledge that the French came last more than makes up for it.

Sunday morning forecast is light wind and more rain, however, sitting on the start line a brisk 12-16 knots is way more than the what Wind Guru had lead us to believe. Again the John Ready quote rings true.

Race 5 was the closest start, as a 7th hurricane joined us on the line (John Tuckwell and his daughter). 4 boats swapping tacks on the 1st beat made for some close racing. Reed/Loosemore rounded first, raised the kite to find it was way too hot to lay the spreader, and fought to get it down again. This gave Ready/Bedford the chance to drive over the top, but a killer gust had their name on it and they got knocked over! The gusts were severe, and also accounted for Peter/Glover down wind.  Reed went on to post another first with Tuckwell 2nd on the water, McKay 3rd (awarded 2nd for the event, and Jones 3rd)

Race 6 had the wind remaining higher than expected, and another close start with all the SX lined up along the line. The first to tack off and break for clean air was Jones/Smith banging the right hand of the course.  Reed/Loosemore to the top first again, this time with a small tight fleet nipping at his transoms.  Everyone stayed upright as the wind started to drop down the forcasted 8-10 knots. It all felt a bit slow after the excitement of the first race. It finished Reed from Ready from McKay.

Race 7  again all boats on the line , good and clean. But the same pattern as the previous races , with the exception that Mckay had handed over the stick to his crew Nicholls to helm the last 2 races. Sam is off to Wildwind in a few week’s time to teach sailing on a fleet of new Hobie Tigers!  He match raced Ready/Bedford around the course and worked very hard for his 2nd place.

With the regatta in the Bag, Reed/Loosemore sailed in early, leaving Ready vs Nicholls match race part 2 to finish off the 8 race regatta. Nicholls/McKay winning the final race of the day from Ready, to give them 2nd place overall and push Ready/Bedford down to 3rd.

So the cobwebs have well and truly been brushed off with and very well run Regatta , and excellent time management from Barry Peters the PRO. He turned the races around extremely quickly in order that nobody got too cold.

Thank you to Datchet Water for hosting, when we come back in October please can we have some sunshine and warmer breezes. Looking forward to see the revamped changing rooms also!

Big thank to Hurricane Class Sponsors Typhoon for yet again providing prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes.

 Results click here

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