Race 1 – The Trafalgar Plate
A beautiful sunny day greeted 11 crews, for the first race in the 2014/15 Frostbite dinghy race series.
With the boats having been laid up for a while, there were a few rigging and launching issues, meaning some delay to the scheduled start – with all boats bar one making it onto the water.
The fleet got away cleanly and the beat from the start line upriver to the mark saw some competitive tacking.
Gray Matter (Williamson/Wilson) and Whirlpool (Davey/Drake) tried a port tack start, sailing through the rest of the fleet who had right of way on Starboard.
Gray Matter managed it but Whirlpool got caught out, having to duck boats and costing them time. Gray Matter was the first to slip around the Up River Mark for the ‘run’ down the harbour, with State of Mind (Oliver/Martland), The new boat to the fleet ‘Gong Gong’ (Whitehead/Baker) and ’The Craic’ (Monaghan/Harrison) hot on their heels.
Further down the fleet, Sundowner (Johnson/Bellerby) infringed Whirlpool at the mark, meaning a penalty turn, while Fylingdales Flyer (Proud/Proud), Smurf (Suckling / Linton) and Screamer (Collinson/Collinson) were all in close contention as they began their run.
Gong Gong quickly found their pace and overhauled State of Mind into second place, where they’d remain, unable to catch Gray Matter.
State of Mind and ‘The Craic’ became embroiled in a close contest for third, with State of Mind just managing to draw clear for the finish on the third lap.
The rest of the fleet enjoyed more close competition, trading places throughout the rest of the race.
Some ‘rusty’ helming from a couple of skippers decided the finishing order, with everyone completing three laps and making notes for the next race.
Thanks to Eric Walton and Nigel Robinson for undertaking Race Officer duties and Paul Linley and Alan Holmes for crewing the safety boat.
Gray Matter - Neil Williamson / Jed Wilson; Gong Gong - Carl Whitehead / Helen Baker; State of Mind - Graham Oliver / Rob Martland; The Craic - Andy Monaghan / Julie Harrison; Whirlpool - George Davey / Nathaniel Drake; Fylingdales Flyer - Graham / Christian Proud; Smurf - Ian Suckling / Martin Linton; Sundowner - Graham Johnson / Rachael Bellerby; Screamer - Graham / Niall Collinson.
Light winds, with a lot of fresh water in the river made conditions less than ideal – but were judged as sailable on Saturday morning, with a short course set in place.
Eight boats came out in the grey conditions, and were on the water for a 10.05 start, presided over by Nigel Robinson and Eric Walton on race officer duties again.
The fleet all got away cleanly, with Gray Matter (Williamson/Wilson) and Gong Gong (Whitehead/Baker) once again setting the pace.
Tangoed (Gowland / Jarvis) and Whirlpool (Davey/Drake) were 3rd / 4th to the mark, followed by Sundowner (Johnson/Bellerby) and State of Mind (Oliver/Martland) .
At the back of the fleet, Smurf (Suckling / Linton) and Screamer (Collinson/Collinson) were struggling to make the line against the current – which was now helping the lead boats on the run down towards Parkol.
Superior boat handling from Gong Gong meant that they were uncatchable, with Gray Matter being the only other boat to finish – the rest of the fleet struggled to round the lower mark and make progress back up river, and all ended up retiring, giving Paul Linley and Alan Holmes a lot of towing work in the safety boat.
Gong Gong - Carl Whitehead / Helen Baker; Gray Matter - Neil Williamson / Jed Wilson DNF; Tangoed - Keith Gowland / Nigel Jarvis; Sundowner - Graham Johnson / Rachael Bellerby; State of Mind - Graham Oliver / Rob Martland; Whirlpool - George Davey / Nathaniel Drake; Screamer - Graham / Niall Collinson; Smurf - Ian Suckling / Martin Linton.