The 4th round of the Sailing Southwest Winter Series took place at the south coast Rivera resort of Paignton on Sunday 3rd December in a NE wind force 2-3. The chilly weather did nothing to dampen the festive spirit of the Christmas Cracker, with nearly 20 visitors turning out for the event, which was supported by the live GPS boat tracking system from Sailing Southwest.
The Paignton Sailing Club Christmas Cracker was a 2-hour pursuit race with a P shaped course set by Race Officer James Ripley. A small group of 3 toppers set off first, and remained closely bunched for the entire race. Toby Bloomfield led to the first mark with Oliver Wilcox in second and Emily Procter, who went further right, lost out a little in third place. All remained tight as they completed the first lap. Meanwhile the Lasers and Laser 2000s were off with Tony/ Rebecca Procter and Paul / Miles Procter fighting out for an early lead.
A large contingent of 9 Blazes turned up for the event, and they were lead away by Hugh Kingdon but all in tight formation. 6 Merlin Rockets closely followed the Blazes off the line.
As the half distance approached, all were racing except the Foiling Moth. The toppers still held the lead after two laps, but Paul / Miles Procter were closing them down in their Laser 2000. The Merlin Rockets were tussling with the Blazes and were lead by Sam / Lianne Thompson, closely followed by John Turner and Katie Frost. Up ahead were Series Leaders Tim and Sarah Parsons in their Scorpion, who were making good progress through the field. In the chasing pack was Iain and Charlotte Horlock in an RS400 and Ian Mairs and Ami Campbell in the RS500.
At ¾ distance Paul Procter struck into the lead with Chris Hampe in his International Canoe in 2nd the Parsons’ Scorpion in 3rd place. The leading Merlin Rocket of the Thompsons close behind. The Canoe was certainly flying and looked certain for 1st place but the remaining places were close.
The finish saw the Int. Canoe of Chris Hampe well ahead but there was a close battle between the Merlins of Sam Thompson and John Turner. Eventually Sam took second. Paul and Miles Procter had fought off the Merlins for as long as possible, but eventually succumbed to 4th on the beat with Tim and Sarah Parsons in 5th on their Scorpion. The RS400 of Iain and Charlotte Horlock took a close 6th.
The handicapping seemed to work well, almost too well for the Race Officer with all boats finishing on the same lap and some very close at the top.
Role on the Round 5 of the series, which will take place at Roadford Lake as the series goes inland for the New Year and the first event of the Lakes series.
Full Results, pictures and the series standings can be found on www.sailingsw.co.uk.sw-series
The Prize Winners (Rt to left): Hugh Kingdon - 1st Blaze (NDYC), Paul Procter & Miles Procter - 4th Place Overall, (Paignton SC), Chris Hampe - 1st Place overall (RYA), Sam Thompson & Lianne Thompson - 2nd Place Overall
Series Standings & Information
Full Results (pdf)
Pictures (Flickr site)