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Testingly light conditions at the Garmin Datchet Summer Flyer


Streaker proves its speed in light airs as well as strong

Temptingly fluttering flags on arrival at Datchet Water for the second round of the Garmin Summer series belied the glassy calm on the water as the rescue boats were launched.  However, there was a feeling of optimism as race team and competitors scoured the internet for the most positive forecast.

With too little wind to launch at the 9.30 briefing, Race Officer Barry Peters decided that the final call would be made at 12 noon so that everyone could get home and earn lawn-mowing brownie points in the afternoon.  Hedge trimming was offered as an alternative.
Not to waste a warm Sunday morning the crews enjoyed a fine selection of breakfasts from the Datchet galley and a variety of sailing based activities taking advantage of the light winds.  Salt encrusted sails (Atlantic salt from Carnac) were washed and rolled, capsize practice took place in the deep water of DWSC and a young Wayfarer crew was put through his land-drills.
See the capsize practice here: Icon Capsizing
The breeze was more promising at noon so the decision was made to launch and, despite an immediate lessening of breeze the team managed to get 2 races in before the wind died away to nothing.  The slight cloud seemed to be enough to keep the breeze but as it cleared later in the afternoon, after racing the lake returned to mirror flat.

Race 1 got underway cleanly with an exceptional start made by the Contender of Stuart Jones.  Tim Keen (sporting his new Garmin VIRB Elite mounted on his tiller) got away with a port tack start and heading over to the right hand side of the course, towards Windsor Castle, seemed to pay.  It was the newly launched Blaze of Mike Lyons (making sure it floats before the Blaze Nationals at Warsash SC next weekend) who made it to the windward mark first and appeared to be pulling out a good enough lead to potentially take the race on handicap.
In both races the Enterprise of Ann Jackson and Alan Skeens was never more than a few boat lengths from the Streaker of Tom Gillard, though they never impeded each other's progress against the rest of the fleet.  In race 1 Ann & Alan finished just 7 seconds ahead of Tom and in race 2 the position was reversed, but again with just a 9 second gap.  That few seconds wasn't quite enough to take the first race though and the finishing positions were the Streaker then Enterprise just ahead of Mike in his Blaze in 3rd.  Anxious to get a second race in Barry started finishing the slower boats after 1 lap in the first race with the Laser Radials and Wayfarers relieved not to be sent round again.

With the cloud clearing there was little intention to attempt more than 1 lap for the second race and it seemed that Mike did not get away from the fleet as far as in the first race. However, perhaps that impression was given because the RS200 of Ralph & Sophie Singleton (a last minute change of plan from their RS800) and Andrew Wilson in his RS100 both managed to stay up with the non-spinnaker boats, giving a far more mixed fleet. Considering the light winds, there was some skilful work in these and the kites of the Musto Skiffs, but it was never going to be a day for the asymmetrics overall. So, deceptive as it was to the spectators, it was indeed Mike Lyons in his Blaze who won the second race.
Close racing in the Laser fleet saw Simon Etter having the upper hand in both races from Susanne Risbrdger, George Hoskins and Any Horwell in her Radial.  The Wayfarers struggled downwind with their large symmetric spinnakers more than the asymmetric boats but all made the most of a beautiful summer day, in preference to mowing lawns (or even cutting hedges).
Allowing no slouching once ashore, the dulcet tones of the race officer demanded the prompt return of the tracker units and a prize giving "whether your boat is packed away or not" within minutes of the boats returning to their trolleys.

The overall event went to Tom Gillard of North Sails in his Streaker who was "surprised and impressed" that the race team managed to get 2 races in at all.  Both Tom and early entry prize draw winner Tim Keen were presented with Garmin VIRB Elite action cameras, worth £350 each, and the top 3 positions also received glasses and bottles of wine.

Next event of the Garmin Summer Series is the Oxford Summertime Blue on the Summer 'Sailstice', Saturday 21st June.  Friday 13th June will be lucky for someone as the cut-off for the next early entry prize draw for another Garmin VIRB Elite camera.

Overall results for the Datchet Summer Flyer:

1st Tom Gillard, Streaker
2nd Mike Lyons, Blaze
3rd Ann Jackson & Alan Skeens, Enterprise
4th Ralph & Sophie Singleton, RS200
5th Andrew Wilson, RS100
6th Stuart Jones, Contender

2/6/2014 12:33


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