Datchet Flyer (SailJuice) - Datchet Water SC, West London, Sunday 6th Dec
Following 53 double-handers on Saturday the 78 single-handed pre-entries raced on Sunday and included 18 RS Aeros with 2 RS Aero 9s, 11 RS Aero 7s and 5 RS Aero 5s.
The fleet was split into two starts, fast and slow, but racing around the same course with average lap timings producing one set of PY results. The RS Aero 5s were in the slow start whilst the RS Aero 7s had the challenge of being one of the slower classes in the fast start.
The wind peaked at about 6kn during the day and often dipped lower. Whilst short on exhilaration the conditions did create a good light wind racing challenge. With some sunshine at least the light breeze kept everyone quite dry in the chilly 4-5'C temperature - perfect winter racing conditions perhaps! The day's contest was all about how to best sniff out the pockets of pressure up the course, whilst trying to best stay on the lifted tacks too.
Chris Larr raced around at the front of the fast fleet enjoying the power and agility of his RS Aero 9 whilst the Contenders and Mustos struggled with little use for their trapezes.
In the RS Aero 7s Tim Hire, Peter Barton, Sam Mettam and Steve Norbury all took it in turns nicely to share the lead of the Class during Race 1. The motto of something like 'it is never over until it is over' or maybe 'never give up' was never truer. Opportunity was ever present as the snakes and ladders were laid down across every leg of the race course!
The calm day was a tough challenge for the smaller sailed RS Aeros 5s but they had their moment in Race 2 with Curtis and Abby both securing solid top half finishes.
With slow progress and short daylight the racing concluded with just 2 long races of 3 laps each and therefore no discards - all to count!
The RS Aeros held their own with 5 boats in the top twenty. New Class member Sam Mettam (Papercourt) is getting up to speed quickly, tying on points with 16th place Andrew Rawson (Weston), both in RS Aero 7s. Ellie Craig (Draycote) finished as Top Lady single-hander in her RS Aero 7 with a 16,18, giving her 11th overall. Chris Larr (Draycote) took 9th overall and 3rd in the fast fleet in his RS Aero 9. Peter Barton's RS Aero 7 (Lymington) was top of the fast fleet start with a 6,7, giving him 6th overall.
This season the Top Class contest is just the top two boats in each Class in every race of the series, which will open it up to more Classes which will create interest. The RS Aero 7s are off to an averagely good start in 4th and now have the challenge of proving their ability as a capable all rounder over the series.
- Congratulations to Richard Bentley in his RS Aero 9 who was the 4th fastest boat on the day, behind 3 Musto Skiffs, recording with a dizzy 4.88kn! The Toppers won the PY corrected top speeds, well done to them.
Thanks to SailRacer for their huge efforts in pulling off a big event right at the end of a UK lockdown and to Datchet Water SC as hosts. With the club house shut it was a wonderfully efficient outdoorsey day and all about the racing, with no time spent drinking tea or in hot showers!
in the SailJuice series is Burghfield on the 27th Dec. Pop your pre-entries in HERE
to be part of it.