Torbay Tornado Race Report: The Hawkes' Victory Lap!


R10 of SSW Winter Series 2018-19, 30th March 2019

In 2018 we nearly lost the Torbay Tornado to high winds and storms. A year on and it looked like the race was once more under threat, but this time because too little wind was forecast! Fortunately, on the day of the race a decent breeze came through for us, and the fifteen competitors who took the gamble on a race being run were rewarded with a fantastic sail in beautiful sunshine!

The Byte of Izzy Cramp lead the fleet out, closely followed by two lasers, the Redwing of Eric Evans and Karen Raymont and Charlie Gilmore in one of the RS Aero 7’s. Unfortunately, Chris Jones in the other Aero was late to the start. It was Charlie who showed some good early pace, leading the lasers and Redwing in their hunt for Izzy who was already a leg ahead on the course.

Behind this group, 4 blazes and a Halo got underway, closely followed by the Merlin Rocket of David and Ros Downs, and then the Osprey of series leaders, Nemo and Simon Hawkes. The 29er of Albert Gilmore and his crew would start next, and finally, more the 40mins behind the leaders, the B14 of Tony Blackmore and Charlotte Cooper were sent on their way.

After an hour of racing Izzy was still leading and nearing the completion of her first lap round the bay. Charlie still led the charge, but Eric Evans and Karen were lingering close behind. NDYC’s Chris Dyer led the battle of the blazes, but Andrew Chorlton of Paignton was sticking close to him. Nick Ripley in the Halo was also moving into contention, although his bigger sail wasn’t affording him as much extra speed over the standard Blazes as might have been expected.

The Hawkes’ have proven themselves to be very handy in heavy conditions throughout the Winter Series, but after their worst performance yet in the lighter conditions of R9 (a 10th place) the question remained as to whether they could rediscover their form in these gentle breezes at Torbay. We had our answer by the end of the first lap, as they caught up to the back of the main fleet with ease. Already they were looking like strong contenders for the race.

The beat to the first mark in lap 2 was challenging, and it saw Izzy start to drop back amongst the fleet. Charlie made it around the mark just ahead of Eric, and Chris Dyer and Andrew followed with Izzy shortly after. Chris Dyer started to pull away from Andrew by the second mark rounding, joining the Redwing and RS Aero 7 up front.

Nemo and Simon continued to pick off boats as they worked their way up the fleet, but Tony Blackmore and Charlotte Cooper in the B14 were moving even faster, their downwind speed proving to be useful in the conditions.

By the end of his second lap, Chris Dyer in the Blaze had taken a clear lead, but danger lurked behind with the Osprey sitting in 5th place and the B14 now moving through the back markers. It took The Hawkes’ just 30 more minutes to move ahead of Chris and into the race lead. Eric and Karen in the Redwing where having a solid race, battling it out for 3rd place with the blaze of Andrew Chorlton for a good couple of legs of the course. Neither boat was a match for the B14 though, and Tony and Charlotte moved up into 3rd place with 15mins to go.

The battle was on for the finish, and Chris Dyer did all he could to hold on, but with just a few minutes to go, Tony and Charlotte found a way through into 2nd place behind the Hawkes’ Osprey. The finish guns sounded, and with that Nemo and Simon Hawkes took their 3rd win in the SSW Winter Series, confirming their Series victory over Ben Flower who takes an impressive 2nd place in the series.

Chris Dyer’s performance in the final 2 races of the series leap frogged him up the leaderboard into 3rd overall, ahead of the early series contender Stacey Bray (D-Zero) and the unfortunate Chris Jones who finished 10th in the Tornado and 5th overall in the Series. Andrew Chorlton took 4th in the Tornado, ahead of Nick Ripley in 5th. Eric and Karen’s 6th place in the Tornado ensured a 6th place finish in the series, helping them to beat David and Ros Downs who finished 7th overall and 9th in the Tornado.

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