With many of the big guns either away, on duty or expecting grandchildren, it was all to play for in races 5 and 6 of the Summer Series. And with the added incentive of silverware up for grabs; The Watler and Centripump Cups, 5 boats took to the water in a steady Force 1 to battle it out!
Whilst the Watler Cup [for Fast Fleet] could unfortunately not be awarded due to Pete Wells, in his Cat, being the only participant, the Centripump Cup was closely contested by the remaining 4 eager competitors; Rex Hendrickson in his Mirror, Nick Speller in the Topaz Uno, Alexia Davies in a Laser Radial and Dan [& Tasha] Patterson in their Enterprise.
Race 1 saw the Patterson’s get a flying start, crossing the line right after the horn and setting off on a beat [I think] towards the first mark, closely followed by Pete and the hunting pack. On approach to the first mark, in little or no wind and due to a lack of tidal judgement, Dan had to tack again to get round, which forced Pete to tack too. This rookie error turned out to be a ‘good move’ as the Enterprise rounded the mark and sailed off leaving Pete to tack twice in a Cat with barely any wind to do so. Pete would have his revenge later!
The second lap saw the wind die further which made it even harder for the slower handicap boats, leaving only 2 boats to complete the lap. And as Dan approached the finish line, the sheer joy of crossing the line first in a race was cruelly taken away by a silent but deadly Pete, who sailed by in the dying seconds to a fine blast of the horn. In the end, being first over the line was irrelevant, as behind this façade of glory seeking, the true competition was being won, on handicap, by Nick after a good first lap who finished in first place and wins the Centripump Cup.
The course was shortened for the second race and whilst it may have been quicker to swim around, the 5 boats set off once again in good faith, this time with Nick Speller getting a dream start. At least that’s what it looked like from the writers vantage point, 100 yards away from the start line!
The shorter course at first appeared to be a disadvantage for the Cat but a shift in the wind direction meant that Pete was able to get the spinnaker out more often and soon began lapping everyone for fun.
Meanwhile in the slow fleet, there were some good battles that saw Nick and Rex go neck and neck on handicap and Alexia working hard to keep the Laser Radial moving in almost no wind.
Despite the handicaps, Pete held his nerve to complete the race efficiently and take a well deserved first place, closely followed by Rex in second and Nick in third.
Dan Patterson is now [temporarily] leading the series ahead of Danny Powell and Peter who moves into 3rd. Well done to Alexia Davies sailing in her first series races, hopefully other newcomers will following in her footsteps. [or wake].