On Saturday morning 27 teams assembled on the terrace of Castle Cove SC (in the sunshine) overlooking the battle fields of the recent 2012 Olympic and Paralympics sailing venue of Weymouth Harbour for the first Crew Clothing Grand-Prix event of the season. For many it was the first time back in the boat and even back into their ‘shrunken wetsuits and harnesses’ since the Winter Champs in November 2012, with the valid excuse of the long cold winter keeping people off the water and on the pies!
It was Date and Wincer in RWO who took the initial jump on the fleet squirting out of the first start from the pin, in 12 knots of breeze, but conservatively (not by their nature) they attempted to cover the fleet which had split and it was those that had staid out left that came into the windward mark with the upper hand. Hivey and Partridge in Sailing Togs and Stead and Fisher were first round with Date and Wincer close behind. This is the way it stayed as the race officer shortened the course to two laps as the breeze dropped to the forecasted 5-8knots.
Race two again saw RWO take an early lead which they held for two laps until the last beat when the teams behind (Sailing Togs ) and Fitzjohn-Sykes (FJS) and Allin rounded and spotted more pressure out to the left hand side of the beat. Sailing Togs, RWO and FJS and Allin spread out across the width of the final run looking for the most pressure and it appeared to be pretty even as they met and finished in the same order at the bottom mark.
With the breeze dropping there were cries for the bar however the race officer attempted Race 3 which saw the pairing of Green and Trewick in Jimmie Green Marine take an early lead up the first beat closely followed by Watson and Watkins. It was only to last until several boats started hoisting their kites on the second upwind leg at which point the race officer raised his flags signaling the bar was open.
Sunday dawned another sunny day, albeit with the clouds mustering in the sky, but many more in one or two heads around the dinghy park after a normal night out in Weybiza full of the usual salt up the nose and lemon in the eye……(normal in Weymouth maybe?). Race 3 got underway at a leisurely 10:30am start and it was the Sunday stars of FJS and Allin that set the early pace after their early night. Hivey and Partidge kept close on their heels and eventually overhauled them to take a third consecutive bullet with Phillips and Croker maintaining their pace from the previous day to finish 3rd. Who was going to stop Hivey from running away at the front??
Race 4 saw new race leaders Halhead and Jagger who put Hivey through his paces and at times had a seemingly comfortable lead. However the tussle between these two boats was also joined by Charles and Humphrey who pounced at the rare mistake of Halhead and Jaggar and headed for the finish line after the three laps leaving Halhead and Jaggar only to realise as Hivey and Partridge and Date and Wincer went through to take 2nd and 3rd. The winning streak had been broken.
Race 5 saw Hivey and Partridge begin to wobble… and in one light wind gybe that wobble was too much for them resulting in some swimming. Date and Wincer took up the lead followed closely by Philips and Croker. On the Second down wind leg having stretch this lead Date and Wincer found them selves on a differing wind pattern and caught out to the right of the course, while Phillips and Croker blew down inside them to take the lead followed by Halhead and Jaggar, and this is how it finished with Hivey and Partridge recovering to a soggy 4th, respectively.
The final race saw Luke and Emma McEwen lead the running with Hivey and Partidge chasing them down. Team McEwen made Hivey and Partridge work for the final victory of the weekend but they eventually got passed to take overall victory counting four 1st's and a 2nd leaving the fleet with some training to do. Halhead and Jaggar came home in 3rd sealing 2nd place overall while Date and Wincer finished 3rd overall.
As usual the silver fleet was closely contested but with the eventual winners Neil Farmer and Karen Baker stretched out a 5pt lead over 2nd placed James Green and Trewick in Jimmie Green Marine who showed their potential in a straight line.
The next Crew Clothing GP is at Beer SC on the 18-19th May which we hope will be another sunny and action packed weekend as usual. It is also the last opportunity to test your wits and boat handling amongst the rest of the fleet before we head out to Carnac at the end of the month, so we look forward to seeing you all there.