Sail Chat: 04.10.20 Long Distance Race

Storm Alex played a strong hand on our long distance race on Sunday. It rained nearly all day Friday, all day Saturday and most of Sunday so we had a strong stream but with it a 12 to 27 mph south south westerly, which had a good countering effect and made for challenging but interesting sailing if you got it right.
The duty team of Philip Dalby and John Bell had a dilemma as it was a long distance race therefore the course was just that from a high D mark to a J mark just below Garricks Island. 
First off were the Enterprises of Ellen/Nigel, Ian/Sophie and me with Jane, the GP with John/ Sue and David in his Solo. There was a close battle to the windward mark as any attempt at a starboard tack took you metres back down river but the GP was round first followed by the Ents, two hitting the mark and doing circles, and Ellen and David. The run down was fun, a whizzing run with all that stream under you. Reality struck at the J mark as the boat was swept past it and slowed until a gust hit. This is where the luffing up went wrong and the Middlesex Bank hugging went right. Ellen, the GP and the Solo got through but two of the Ents struggled in mid stream, one never to really recover me! By this time the Merlins had caught us and got through with minimal effort.

The Merlins of Hywell/Flynn, Stuart/Nicky, Richard/James and Andrew/Ben started 10 minutes after us but were already in the hunt. For the second lap the Race Officer took pity on us and moved the mark up to an I position. I watched from the cut as Ellen hammered down, round and away and am ashamed to relate retired half was up the next beat feeling a capsize coming on.

It was a fun race though like sailing in a strong tide on the sea. Ellen and Nigel were first over the line closely followed by Hywell and Flynn. The Merlins swept the result board with Hywell first on handicap.
Then we had delicious hot dogs with fried onions and hot cider by Amelia and Deirdre. Time was called by Susan and Colin.
An unusual long distance wet and windy but not as long as walking the Marathon by the intrepid Penwarden ladies, where  Graham-surely not tennis?
See you next week. Phill

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