Race Report for Sailing Southwest Winter Series Double Header in Cornwall
Porthpean Pursuit - 9th November 2019
The big Cornish double header weekend finally started after a 1-week weather delay. The postponement was caused by storms that brought 2-3m swells crashing into the Cornish south coast and winds in excess of 40 knots. Rapid reorganisation by both clubs saw the opening events put back to 9/10 November.
So, the weekend started with Porthpean in sunshine and a F2-3 offshore wind, but the forecast was to be livelier come race time. The turnout was severely affected by the move of dates and continuing high winds. Only 8 boats braved their way to the start line. By the time the Firefly with Angus Cook at the helm arrived at the offshore start line, the wind was gusting 30kn with a 1m swell running. This was going to be fun! The Firefly was soon joined by the rest of the fleet and Angus was off. To the astonishment of spectators in the clubhouse, Chris Hampe launched his Int. Canoe and as he emerged from the wind shadow under the cliff his tracker showed he notched up 25 then 28kns just sailing downwind to the start!
The big gusts caused some early failures with Angus bending the Firefly mast into an S downwind and despite his best efforts, could not effectively race on. Both the Canoe and Blaze of Mark Smith suffered boom failures early on too.
As the race progressed the K1 sailed by 2018-19 SSW Winter Series champion Simon Hawkes hit the front despite 2 knockdowns and falling out of the boat once! As the race approached the 100 minute mark the weather took a serious shift for the worse and winds approached 40kn. The whole fleet took several capsizes and the race was called. After numerous keel inspections Colin Stephens in his Enterprise was in second place with Ben Hawkes in a Contender challenging in third, despite also visiting the centerboard several times.
Valliant attempts from both Duncan Jones sailing a Farr 3.7 and Nick Downing in an RS Vario completed the list of finishers.
The race team saved the day despite having to abandon by using the GPS Trackers to get elapsed time for each boat and calculating a PY handicap result agreed by all. Quite a day to be sailing in big winds at sea. Well done to all who ventured out. Race tracks can be seen on www.tracace.co.uk.
The CPMR sponsored Club Series round 1, which was won by Penzance sailing Club, with three boats finishing the race.
A huge thank-you to SSW Winter Series sponsors Allen Sailing, and to Porthpean Sailing club for putting on the event under testing circumstances. Porthpean is an absolutely beautiful place to sail with a very friendly and well organised club and we all look forward to returning in bigger numbers next year.
Penzance Pirate - 10th November 2019
The fleet moved on to Penzance Sailing Club for the Sunday race with 20 boats entered. The weather looked much kinder with an offshore F3-4 initially but shifting and dropping to 2-3 over the race.
The fleet was clean away this time with a downwind start to the 150min pursuit. A Miracle sailed by Sally Booth and Sarah Vaillina lead the fleet away followed by 2 Enterprises and a gaggle of Lasers with the K1 of Simon Hawkes back in the mix. The faster boats followed but unfortunately some gear failures from Porthpean kept a few away. As the race unfolded, Simon Hawkes in the K1 struck the front once more with the Lasers unable to catch him. Chris Hampe’s International Canoe revelled in the conditions, carving through the fleet hunting the Lasers, RS 200s and Osprey.
It was tight in the middle of the race, the K1 in front but could he be caught? Colin Stephens in his Enterprise was having a great battle with the leading Laser of James Muir and RS 200’s sailed by Jerr Stephens and Becca Stephens, and Henry Hallam and Ollie Croft.
Some of the quicker boats suffered a little as the wind dropped later in the day, but Simon Hawkes’ K1 had established a good lead by the finish with the int Canoe sailed by Chris Hampe in a comfortable 2nd place. The final podium position was very tight with 3rd place going to the Laser of James Muir just holding off Jerr and Becca Stephens and the Osprey following closely behind.
The battle for 6-10 was tight on the beat as the final gun approached. Colin Stephens in his Enterprise was battling hard with the RS200 of Henry Hallam, and Lasers of Giles Gilbert, Nick Stolen, and Duncan Bryers. The RS200 took 6th with the Enterprise of Stephens just behind and Gilbert, Stolen, and Bryers making the final top 10 positions.
There were close battles up and down the fleet, but congratulations to Simon Hawkes in recording his second bullet in the series.
The SSW Winter Series Club Championship sponsored by CPMR was won again by Penzance, giving them a nice early lead in the series, but with 8 rounds left, this can all change as the series moves into Devon on the 23rd November for the NDYC Wrecker Pursuit.
A big thank-you to SSW Winter Series sponsors Allen Sailing, and to Penzance sailing club for yet another great race in the Sailing Southwest Winter Series.