Sometimes I have to pinch myself to remind myself how lucky I am to be Novice Fleet Captain, as on Saturday I saw possibly one of the best Novice race days in recent memory. It was warm and sunny, the wind was absolutely perfect and the clubhouse was buzzing.
The club gave a warm welcome to Topper Traveller event, which included OSC pirates Arlo, Emma and Barney, racing in a big fleet on home water. The lake appeared to be full of people having a good time, even OSC Topper coordinator, Adrian Howe and crew Fenalla Williams, managed to sneak off in between duties for a blast in his cat; Ciaran and Mel were also looking seriously quick in their RS800. It was fantastic to see two young families out for a fun cruise, with the Vowles family joining in the N/C starts.
The Novices is a fun series and, as I always say, “everyone” is always welcome. On Saturday we had slightly more experienced mix and Match racing. Mike Trueman, he of the asymmetric fleet, is “learning” the art of the Aero and is generally winning. To bring balance to the racing Grant Blake, he of any boat you care to mention, challenged Mike to a duel in Chris Burrows’ Supernova. This was truly epic racing with an incredibly close deciding leg. Sean Cleary (10th in the RS games gold fleet, RS400), was also able experience novice racing by relinquishing the helm to regular crew Annlise Nixon. The usual novice start is not something any of these experienced sailors has seen before or want to see again, and Mike’s tactic “keep out of the way and go in a different direction completely” seemed to pay dividends. Perhaps one Saturday we could have a club fun day with everyone swapping boats!!
As far as the “proper” racing went, we used a small triangle between 6 & 7 to give the Toppers plenty of room, with OOD Kirsten being positioned on the bank, for the orthodox “Davis” start. Jess Blake continued to dominate the racing, with Tony and Harvey Jackson starting to use family teamwork to push up the fleet, closely followed by Tess and David Nowell. The lasers of Kevin, Colin, Roger and Dan swapped places in each of the races, and an unusually early morning start for Pete Appleyard, meant he was able to join Alex Smith on his RS400. It was great to see Jon Sykes out his Lightning, but JP was very unlucky to be dogged by technical issues all day; a clew strap washed up on the beach probably belongs to JP. To avoid crowding with the Toppers on the beach, we launched slightly later than normal, this worked to the advantage of Ian and Ginny who had to re-rig their Wayfarer after a trip away. After a recent series of incidents it was good to see the Gung-Ho brothers of Iain Marshal and Mark Rainford being the only boat on starboard on the start line in race in race 3.
Result from Saturday are HERE
All in all a fabulous day and hopefully you will be able to join us for the final event of the season which is on September 29th, and not forgetting Bart's Bash which is on the 16th.