Thirteen boats from eleven clubs ranging from Penzance to Yorkshire Dales and Ripon arrived at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club on Cheddar Reservoir on 22nd April with a degree of trepidation amongst those who had experience of northerly winds over the Mendips. All concerns were justified as the fleet and race officer had to cope with large wind shifts and wind varying from nothing to 5 or 6 knots. In the end only three races were completed. Two races were abandoned after the start and a number of starts were aborted as the wind disappeared in the last 30 seconds. Despite all the challenges the fleet enjoyed the challenge and friendly but intense competition which continued after dinner with a skittles match between a number of teams including the Crews’ Union.
Race one was led from the first mark by Tim Sadler and Akshan Jirasinha, followed by Ann Jackson and Alan Skeens and Richard and Amelia Pryke. Further down the fleet there were numerous place changes as the wind came and went, with 5 boats finishing within about 10 boat lengths.
Race two was aborted after one lap as the beat disappeared. It returned a while later allowing the race to be re-started. The race was led by Jeremy & Becca Stephens only to be caught by Tim & Akshan who worked their way back from 5th on the first lap and passed Jeremey at the end of an intense battle. Richard & Amelia suffered from the wind shifts dropping from 2nd to 6th while Paul Young & Megan Ward slipped from 7th to 12th. Not to be out done Chris Palmer & Beatrice Drury went from 1st at the windward mark to 7th having found a hole in the wind as others passed them on both sides.
Race three eventually got away with the fleet determined to finish the race no matter what the wind could throw at them. Class Commodore John Berry crewed by Neil Bawden, found the right way up the first beat to lead the fleet, receiving whoops of encouragement from Ann who found herself in the unusual position of last having gone the other way up the beat. The race was led from start to finish by Darren & Natalie Roach of RNSA followed by Jeremy & Becca, then Ioan Lavery and Chris Keatley from Penarth.
The fleet headed for the bar only to watch the wind fill in and move to the west through the evening. Unfortunately, that was the end of the wind for the weekend. No racing was possible on Sunday leaving Tim first from Jeremy with Ann clinching third on the tie break from Ioan & Chris who recovered from a thirteenth in race one with two thirds in races two and three. The first four places were held by the competitors from furthest north, furthest south, furthest east and furthest west. The Ladies’ Plate was awarded to Becca Stephens.
Arky Wainwright, as the Race Officer, was thanked for all his efforts to get the fleet racing despite the lack of help from the wind. BCYC was thanked for its hospitality.
Thanks also to North Sails and Peak Dinghy Spares for their sponsorship of the National Circuit.
The next National Circuit event is at the Enterprise Inland Championship, which will be sailed at Cardiff Bay YC on 6th/7th May. More details and online entry is available on the Enterprise website: www.sailenterprise.co.uk.
Report by Ian Wakeling, BCYC