Mid term report 2014 – the racing season so far

As the hot weather seems to have now left us and the evenings get shorter, the middle part of the racing season has drawn to a close with the cancellation of the personal handicap pursuit regatta due to a lack of competitors (caused by media coverage of the imminent arrival of Hurricane Bertha on the same day?) following the conclusion of the Summer series the previous weekend; whilst the Twilight series on Wednesday evenings has 3 more races until it’s conclusion.

Numbers have been good with 49 boat and helm combinations competing in the Summer series and 44 in the Twilight series so far. There have also been quite a few more new faces joining in with the racing, including some beginners on a Wednesday evening under the careful tutelage of Tim Bowden.

The annual Scorpion open saw 8 boats take to the water, with the ratio between visitors and club members being evenly split. Richard Jones and John Purdie were the best placed club boat in 4th place, just being beaten to 3rd overall in the final race. It does appear though that Richard and John maybe the one’s to challenge Dave Turtles dominance in his Streaker, based on the latest personal handicaps they are performing at a similar level (around 10% better than their PY’s) and just need to sail frequently enough in the series to put this to the test.

Dave put in a perfect performance to win the Summer series, winning every race he entered and adding to his clean sweep of all the prizes so far this season. At this rate he’s going to need a bigger trophy cabinet come the end of the season! Dave also continues to lead in the Club Champion standings, but is not having it all his own way with Jeremy Cooper in a Laser taking over the top spot for a number of weeks. Dave Herbstritt and Josie Airns in their Miracle, and Kieran Lewis in his Optimist are also mounting a challenge.

Also following on from his successful start to the season Kieran won the Summer series personal handicap and also currently leads in the Twilight series personal handicap standings. He has achieved this by steadily improving week on week as his personal handicap has been rapidly decreasing, and he is now sailing to a personal handicap some 2% better than his PY. Can he continue this improvement and win the Autumn series personal handicap too, or will somebody else emerge victorious?

Dave and Josie are currently the leaders in the Twilight series with Jeremy not too far behind, ensuring the final result will not be decided until all the races are completed at the end of August.

Full results can be found on the results page.

It’s not to late to join in the racing on a Sunday or Wednesday, so come on down! There is always friendly advise available from the regular racers for those of you who have not raced before, and it is a good way to improve your sailing skills even if you’re not at the sharp end of the fleet.

2015 and beyond

The racing program is still as the majority have expressed a desire for in previous years at the AGM, albeit with some changes to try and improve the experience on the day e.g. revised mark positions, and fairness of the results i.e. club specific handicap numbers as per the RYA recommendations, and wider distribution of prizes (Dave Turtle allowing!) e.g. personal handicaps.

The suggestions made on the forum before the AGM have not been ignored, but to prevent a re-run of previous years heated debates and to ensure that the thoughts of all members were taken in to account, and any subsequent changes implement properly it was announced at the AGM that a working group would be formed, with the aim of implementing any changes from 2015. This has been publicised on the website, in the newsletter and via a poster at the clubhouse, asking for volunteers from the club membership whatever their interest.

Volunteers have come forward and we are in a position to start our work. I’d like to thank the volunteers for giving up their time to do this for the club, and they are as follows Andy Jones, Dave Turtle, Conrad Brown, Dave Herbstritt & Josie Airns.

Jon Edwards

I started messing about in boats at school, did my National Elementary Dayboat Certificate (a predecessor of the current level 2) in 1980 and have carried on ever since. My first sail at Shotwick Lake was back in '91 and I've been a member for the majority of the years since. My boat owning history is very simple; I don't do "narrow" as testified to by an International Moth, 2 Merlin Rockets and 2 RS300's, all of which are between 6' 7" (2m) & 7' 5" (2.25m) wide! But that said I'll sail almost anything and have in most cases, including the Laser, Laser 2000, Topper, Solo, Wanderer, Albacore, Wayfarer, RS400, RS100, RS700, 59er, Pico, Laser 4000, RS Vareo, Enterprise, Scorpion ..... Racing is very much my thing in all its forms, whether it is around the cans at Shotwick, the Merlin Rocket nationals around Olympic triangle courses with 1 1/2 mile beats, the Lord Birkett on Ullswater (200 boats; 19 miles) or the Round the Isle of Sheppey race (32 miles) with the unique feature of having to capsize the boat to get it under the bridge. I've even managed to fit in team racing in Pico's too! And as I advance in age I've even ventured in to yachting, doing the round the Island race on a couple of occasions. This is an annual race around the Isle of Wight with up to 1,500 yachts of all shapes and size participating.