With wind and rain forecast all weekend, 16 boats turned up for what they expected to be a challenging Open Meeting. Thankfully the gods smiled down on Saturday and racing kicked off in the sunshine and a pleasant Force 3-4...the challenged turned out to be who could remember the course, with Race Officer Graham Ireland living up to legend by setting the fleet knitting around the river!
Roome/Marlow led the pack at the windward mark after winning the pin end and heading up the favourable left hand side of the beat. Krailing/Linsell drove low and fast on the first reach, whilst Whitehouse/Bremer and Mills/Jones pushed high. Roome/Marlow choose to defend high, resulting in Krailing/Linsell taking the lead. The rest of the race remained close with Krailing/Linsell, Roome/Marlow and Mills/Jones changing places throughout. In the end Krailing/Linsell won, followed by Mills/Jones and Roome/Marlow
Race two saw a large right hand shift come through before the start. Roome/Marlow were best placed to take advantage and won the starboard end, to lead at the windward mark. Hot on their heels were Whitehouse/Bremer and Mills/Jones. There was a tussle around the race course, but Roome/Marlow held onto the lead with Whitehouse/Bremer in second and Mills/Jones in third.
The final race of the day saw the wind start to die. Mills/Jones had the advantage with their light wind pace taking them into an unassailable lead. Krailing/Linsell pushed hard, but Roome/Marlow took second place ahead of them.
Overnight, young pairing Mills/Jones had the lead, but on equal points behind were Roome/Marlow. The teams retired for an evening of curry and bar games, hosted by the yacht club. The Gifford family take an honorable mention here for showing us all how bar boat racing should be done properly!
Sunday dawned with torrential showers and sunny spells. The breeze had also kicked up in the night to a stiff Force 5! Racing was postponed until mid afternoon to allow the river to fill up and the fleet nervously left the beach!
With the results so tight, Roome/Marlow knew they had to start off strongly if they wanted to win. In the breeze Krailing/Linsell, Cumley/Evans and Roome/Marlow had some serious pace. But it all came down to boat handling in the short, steep chop and shifty gusts...Krailing/Linsell relinquished their lead due to a capsize on the first reach allowing Cumley/Evans and Roome/Marlow to tear off not to be caught again, despite tacking round at every gybe! Unfortunately Cumley/Evans were OCS, giving Roome/Marlow the win. Scott/Alexander revelled in the conditions coming in second and the Videlo's in third.
This left only two boats in contention to win the event. A tussle ensued before the start of the final race as Mills/Jones had to win, but Roome/Marlow could afford to score a discard. Mills/Jones showed good boat handling to get a clean start, but Roome/Marlow found a lane and came charging through to trail Krailing/Linsell at the windward mark followed by Cumley/Evans, who again had good speed in the breeze. These positions were held until half way through the race, when confusion saw Krailing/Linsell sail the wrong course leading to their disqualification. Roome/Marlow now had the lead with Cumley/Evans and Pynn/Mills seperating them from Mills/Jones. These positions remained to the finish.
Thanks must go to our sponsers GJW Direct, Royal Harwich, Graham Ireland and his race team for running a fantastic event!
1. Charlie Roome and David Marlow
2. Henry Mills and Oliver Jones
3. Chris Videlo and Stephen Videlo
Full results are available on the club website here.