A group of decidedly hardy club sailors turned up at our Coombe Cellars site before dawn on the 2nd January to be met with a very windy, bitingly cold North Easterly. Much discussion ensued and a number of members decided that the challenging launch conditions and the thought of the likely capsizes was too much and departed to undertake the usual indoor Bank Holiday tasks. A few however remained and at 9:30 the Race Officer, Peter Hearne, announced that conditions had moderated enough for racing to take place if people wished to launch.
Rob Upton, Paul Heather and Jake Peat rose to the challenge and duly launched. Peter ran a very rapid start sequence to minimise the waiting time and all three set off for an exhilerating race with Paul winning on handicap from Rob with Jake third. Jake decided that the risk of hypothermia was too great as a full set of fingers would be useful when he returned to University and therefore retired.
Rob and Paul stayed out with Rob winning the second race in a moderating breeze.
Thanks are also due to Derek Wyatt and Chris Dobbs for manning the safety boat in the very cold conditions.
The Winter Boules Match
Following the conclusion of the racing we prepared for the return boules match with the dinghy sailors hoping to overturn the previous defeat by the cruisers. Over forty club members turned up despite the very cold wind and tucked into a winter BBQ cooked by Jim Suggitt.
Eventually the green matting was cleared and the teams chosen. The dinghy sailors were soon reeling from an early lead built by the cruisers who had clearly continued to cruise Northern France more than was strictly necessary. The cunning plan devised by the dinghy sailors to level the playing field by making sure the playing field was anything but level crashed and burned as the cruisers soon led by 7-0 in the first to ten series.
Not to be easily defeated, the dinghy sailors invoked the spirit of Sir Ben Ainslie (who was unfazed by a 0-7 score line in the Americas Cup) and finally started to win some matches. The gap was substantially closed but the superior accuracy of the cruisers won through and they finally got their tenth point thereby retaining the trophy which the dinghy sailors noted that the cruisers had not actually bought with them.
A great time was had by all but the return match next time will be held on the beach at Eastcliff, most importantly, in the summer !
The New Year Regatta continues at the weekend with racing on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th January – come along !!