Earlybird Series – 26th March 2023

A north-easterly wind, plus 45 degree wind shifts; force 2 inshore, gusting to force 4 further out with a highish high tide 20 minutes after the start made for some interesting racing.

Race 1: Danny set a reaching start and the fleet was split about where to start. Aran started by the yellow mark, Steve in the middle of the line and Neil and Pete near the shore with the Teilo and Pietro just behind. Steve was first to the first mark closely followed by Aran, Neil and Pete. Neil fell out and capsized at the second mark and then had a job to pass Pete on the beat before setting off to catch the leaders.

Teilo was suffering on the beats getting a lot of weather-helm with two in the boat. However, downwind with the spinnaker up the boat was flying.

Aran and Steve split on the beats with Aran going left, staying further out in the stronger wind but against the tide, and caught Steve on the beats but with Steve gaining a few metres downwind. On the second lap Aran passed ahead of Steve and tacked to cover but Steve managed to get the inside line at the windward mark and re-passed Aran with the help of the tide. On the third beat both boats headed right, tacking on the wind shifts with Aran gaining and then losing the lead, but both ending up way off course not noticing that Neil, sailing the fastest course inshore, had caught up. There was then a frantic dash for the finishing line with Steve, Aran and Neil finishing in that order, less than one boat length apart.

Pietro finished a creditable last in the slowest boat, and suffering from the cold decided to call it a day.

Race 2 started the same: again Aran started at the yellow but with significantly stronger tide, Steve in the middle and Neil, Pete and Teilo near the shore in less wind . Steve again got to the first mark first, ahead of Neil, followed by Pete with Aran trailing, struggling against the tide

Teilo and Jake struggled even more to get to the mark, taking 14 minutes by which time the faster boats were coming round a second time.

Aran passed Pete on the reach and was the first to tack off on the beat. Steve and Neil ended up in a hole in the wind allowing Aran to get the lead at the end on the first lap, with Steve and Neil in very close pursuit.

Pete had dropped back on the beat and Teilo was finished after one lap to save him from having the ordeal to the first mark for a second time.

Aran, Steve and Neil were close for the whole of the second lap but positions didn’t change until the third lap reach when Steve got a gust before Aran and sailed past, starting the last beat in the lead. From then on it was tactical with Steve covering Aran but making sure that Neil didn’t get past and the three finished again within seconds in the same order.

In the series, with two discards added for effect, Steve is clear ahead but things are close over the next 4 places.

Race report with thanks to Danny with his copious notes on the back of the race sheets.