Lake Bala, North Wales, 26-28th August
RS Aeros Northern Circuit, Round 5
by Julie Archer
8 Races over 3 days with seven to count, forecast very light winds on days 1 & 2 and 12kn gusting 20kn on the Monday. 8 Aero’s registered all with points to play for at both this event and the traveller series.
The day started with a surprisingly good breeze which dropped off toward the end of the last race. The race team did a good job with courses and Steve Stewart (Yorkshire Dales) & Andrew Molyneux (Huddersfield) played the shifts well. Newcomer to the fleet Jeanette Davies (Chester SC) was made very welcome by all; she made her mark in a moment when Steve Stewart crossed the start line first on Port only to land in a hole; Jeanette waived gaily as she shouted “Hya” to Steve . Fleet etiquette has been of a high standard all weekend.
Jackie Craven (Yorkshire Dales) was on form and said “It was overwhelmingly satisfying to thrash Julie Archer when she slipped from 3rd to last on the last lap of race 3”…. Nick Craven (Yorkshire Dales) on the other hand said “Note to self: Do not offer advice to others on going faster upwind – it doesn’t work for me but it does for them!”
All in all, it was a day of mixed fortunes with every member of the fleet in last position at some point. Gone are the days of procession racing as places switch with alarming frequency in the style of top class match racing.
Results after Day 1 Andrew Molyneux, Steve Stewart & Iain McGonigal (East Lothian YC) , on 5, 6, 7 points at the top, for the Ladies: Jackie Craven in front of Julie Archer but it could all change tomorrow. Nick Craven consistently chasing the leaders coming in 4th in every race. DAY 2:
The sun shone and the breeze filled in after a 2 hour delay, which was occupied by my much batten Tweaking and extensive discussions on the Pro Race pack (Contact Ben Rolfe for details 07814634892). The 2 hour delay also benefitted those who had partaken of the Gin & Rum tasting event at the Craven party bus the night before. We were also delighted to have Richard Butler (Covenham SC) to join the fleet today making a fleet of 9, sadly Charlotte Butler couldn’t make it.
The winds were light and shifty, but if you were brave enough to venture up the shore to the right there was a lift to be had and those who did benefitted, sticking to the middle gave consistent results with less risk.
However; the most significant moment of the day was Jackie Craven who went like a train in Race 6 and even beat the Flying Scotsman into 2nd place!! An awesome achievement; the “loan” of Nick’s Tactick along with all her hard work clearly paying off.
Today’s quote of the day from Steve Stewart “half way through the second race even the Cravens and Mike were beating me!” and helpful advice from the Race Officer to the not-so Flying Scotsman “Don’t stop ‘til you hear the beep”.
Jeanette the newcomer took 6th place in Race 3 so the fleet should stop giving her tips now.
Results after Day 2: Molyneux, Stewart, McGonigal, Craven N, Craven J, Butler, Brooks (Huddersfield), Archer & Davies. 1 point separate’s 1st from the two 2nd & 3rd on equal points.
Later that evening a further debate was held on the Pro race pack, and the application of boat Polish. If you use a naturally based product like Lanolin it can greatly enhance your performance, and being in Wales this is widely available, or you can contact Ben and have the Sheep Six added to your Pro pack. (It has been confirmed that both McGonigal & Craven were up early polishing their boats with Six Sheep). DAY 3:
And the wind blew… really blew; everyone stuck with the 7 rig but some regretted it having underestimated the wind of 25kn increasing to 30kn for Race 8. Jeanette Davies launched and wisely returned to shore. (Jeanette’s husband should contact Ben for the price of a 5m rig as she would like one for Christmas)
The Flying Scotsman came in to his own today and showed us all how it’s done – no capsizes, two firsts “Awesome - a day for survival racing with more chance than tactics playing a part!!”
Richard Butler retired following a gear failure which pre-empted human failure during a daring (some would say foolish..) attempt at a gybe which snapped his tiller. Jackie Craven persevered almost to the end of race one but after multiple swims took the pragmatic decision to retire; Julie Archer returned to form in the heavier winds and wisely retired after completing Race 7.
The wind blew up for Race 8 and it was still all to play for; only 2 points separating the leaders and Nick Craven chasing hard - His work finally paid off (and clearly the Pro Race Pack works) and he came in 2nd in Race 8.
Hot tea and showers were the order of the day for weary sailors at the end of 3 days of racing; a short recuperation and on to the Nationals at Hayling Island. Thank you to the team at Bala SC who put on an excellent event for the Northern RS Aeros.
Iain McGonigal (East Lothian)
Andrew Molyneux (Huddersfield)
Steve Stewart (Yorkshire Dales)
Nick Craven (Yorkshire Dales)
Allan Brooks (Huddersfield)
Jacki Craven (Yorkshire Dales)
Richard Butler (Covenham)
Julie Archer (Ullswater)
Jeanette Davies (Chester)