On April 2nd Teign Corinthian YC hosted the first of the K1 Traveller Series from their base on the River Teign in South Devon. The day was always going to be tricky for both the race officer and sailors alike. Beautiful blue skies and sunshine greeted the fleet of 11 boats, the only problem being a lack of a settled breeze. It started the day coming as a westerly then veered to a NNW’ly for the first race although a sea breeze started to materialise from the east just as boats were finishing.
Race Officer, Steve Pocock set a triangular course for all races and the safety boat crews had their jobs cut out with regular mark moving to accommodate the shifting breeze.
So race one got away cleanly on a beat heading across the river to the windward mark set just off the lee shore. Local sailor, Mike Commander was first to spot the wind shift coming off the start line and immediately tacked on to port.
Getting the shifts rights around the first mark proved to be tricky, get it right and you were clear away, get it wrong and you could easily lose places. Ray Potter and Dave Pritchett vied with each other around all three laps with local sailor Potter eventually claiming second spot.
The race officer then had the unenviable task of guessing where the wind would come from next. First move is to reposition the committee boat further to the north side of the river as the breezes shifted to SSE’ly, set the line only to find its backed to ESE. Reset the line, start the 5min sequence only to postpone again as the breeze backs further to the east and eventually settles down. And so race 2 got underway with Jeff Vander Borght joining the party. Commander again nailed the committee boat end of the line but missed the first shift. Half way up the beat Vander Borght and Potter crossed Commander but then it was their turn to miss the shift and at the windward mark Commander had a clear lead over the chasing pack. Commander steadily pulled away leaving the rest to fight it out. Septuagenarian, Alf Hawksworth from Carsington came through to second while Potter and Vander Borght couldn’t be separated on the finish line and ended equal third.
With the light sea breeze now settled in from the east, the race officer wasted no time getting the third race underway. The incredibly congested start line saw some new faces come to the fore up the first beat with Gordon Keyworth of Wimbleball rounding the windward mark in first place. Commander did not actually need to sail race 3 and probably wished he’d headed back to the shore as he rounded in the last two or three boats.
By the wing mark all boats were bunched up as the breeze was only just sufficient to counter the ebbing tide. Down the second reach, another local boy, Brian Tucker, led his first K1 race in a borrowed boat and must have thought he was in for a win. But Vander Borght headed left to clear the wind shadow of the chasing pack and by the leeward mark had overtaken Tucker. The chasing pack were going even further left and Commander somehow managed to establish an overlap on the whole fleet to play his get out of jail card. Hardening up and powering through Tucker who is still learning the ropes of K1 sailing, Commander came through to second, with Tucker third and another Wimbleball sailor, Colin Allen fourth.
TCYC K1 Open Winner – Mike Commander
Second Place – Jeff Vander Borght
Third place – Ray Potter
Author: Michael Commander Photographer: Garnett Showell