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Boat Bits British Contender Association open Round 8 at Mengeham Rythe Sailing Club

An early start and a dodgy forecast of rain, more rain and a bit more rain with light winds didn’t daunt the 11 contenders who arrived for the Saturday racing, while others yes even local sailors) choose to go to some music festival instead.
The die hards of the fleet even came down the night before to enjoy the hospitality of the club, meet up with the locals and finn sailors again and sample the cuisine from the Indian Restaurant.
Saturday, the dawn broke on a more windy than forecast day which some of the early arrivals fettling their boats at birdsong (thanks for the wake up call Tony).
Bacon Rolls and tea were on offer from the club along with the promise of a hot meal after sailing in the evening as part of the entry fee.
The briefing was as usual, some people asking the same questions of the race officer as they were too busy chatting the first time (you know who you are…)
Oh yes, onto the sailing…sorry it’s a couple of days since the weekend so it’s a bit hazy, did you notice the padding above?
Around 10am there was enough water in the creek and we all headed out to the start area to the west of the harbour, taking in the sights, sounds and mud of the marshes on our way past HISC. Fortunately everyone headed the suggestion from the briefing and sailed round the beacons as opposed to directly to the race area and all arrived safely to a nice breeze from the south and a few waves.
The first race got underway without a hitch and at the top mark the fleet was all pretty even on speed, although some had estimated the tide somewhat better than others and over standing seemed to be the order of the day. Simon and Gary shot off down the first reach, followed by Carl and Chris and that was the order for the finish a couple of reaches a beat a run and half a beat later.
Race 2 and the wind had freshened a bit but similar enough at the top mark, with a few positions swapping around on the reaches, runs and back again on the beats depending on helm weight and desire to pump on the nice swell that was building. So this time it was Simon, Gary, Ed and Carl in the chocolates. Oh and Rodger muttered something about weed and went in for the day.

One additional highlight of the race was to have an eel jump over the foredeck on the first reach, much to myself and Martins surprise, I’ve never seen that before, dolphins swimming along beside or turtles diving to avoid sure, but I guess the Solent has its own special wildlife. Race 3 and again Mr Mussell and Langdown were off, closely pursued by Mr Tagoe, Mr Presley and Mr Boshier, Ed took a swim at the gybe letting Chris through and it looked like it would stay the same until Ed got a nice pump on a wave just before the bottom mark and sneaked round on the inside. It was looking like a clean sweep for Simon until the last beat where his trapeze wire snapped under the considerable strain and seemed to be a cause of some consternation judging by the language to be heard in the vicinity. Chris used this opportunity to split himself from Ed around simon, only for simon to right his boat and then have it flop over again into chris’s course, requiring a rather rapid bearaway to avoid any damage, Gary took the gun, followed by Carl, Ed and Chris with Simon coming in a disappointing 9th once he’d fixed his rigging.

Saturday afternoon was more fettling and setting up Pauls new carbon mast, nice to see a new (or old face back to the circuit).
Saturday night saw a curry or chilli (both excellent as seconds were available) followed by an iced cheese cake, cheese and biscuits and a coffee to aid digestion.

Sunday came around soon enough after (another) evening in the bar and the weather was again marvellous (except for the wind this time as it had swung to a northerly and with the promise of sunshine again the sea breeze fighting the gradient was going to make it an interesting day on the water). Mike Murley had to go home for the Sunday, but Sir Keith allowed another Weston sailor out to play and Martin Frary was seen rigging up in the car park.

After a painful sail out to the race area, fighting the tide off HISC we all made it out in reasonable time for the start, however with the wind playing havoc with setting a square line we got off to race 4. Having gone the wrong way up the beat I’m not sure what happened at the front of the fleet, apart from Carl playing around with his rudder in the vicinity of the gybe mark and deciding not to finish the race. But I can tell you the result was Martin F, Ed, Gary and Tony.

Race 5 and after 1 general recall on a line we could barely cross on starboard (wind shifting at the last minute again) the black flag went up for the 2nd try. All got away cleanly (except Martin F who lead all the way round only to find he was foul of the flag when he got back to the clubhouse). Again I went the wrong way, Carl didn’t manage to fix his rudder so tied up to the committee boat while he waited for a tow back. So results for race 5 were, Ed, GTary, Simon and Tony.

Race 6, and race officer was good enough to put the black flag up again for us, causing Tony to have to dip back or decide to go home early, where he took the latter. Martin, Chris and Ed went right and picked up a lucky shift putting them about half the beat ahead of the rest of the fleet, upon which Gary decided to have an early night (I assume believing he’d done enough, or losing the will to live..). The rest of the race was a bit of a procession until the top of the 2nd beat where the chop from the wake of a gin palace, coupled with non existent cunnigham tension caused my halyard lock to let go. I decided to just sail with it but lost out to Martin, then Ed on the run, up the last beat and Martin tacked off at the windward mark and although I cleared him the next time we met, my halyard really let go and I eventually crossed the line with the main at half mast, finishing places were Ed, Martin F, Chris and Rodger.

The wind freshened a bit once we’d finished and gave a nice 2 foot reach down to entrance of the harbour, from there it was less wind and a beat against the tide back to the club, sometimes even going backwards in the bar area (that’s the sand variety, not the beer selling one). Anyway, we all got ashore eventually and in time for the prize giving.

Ed’s win made for interesting results and at the prize giving the final prizes couldn’t be decided on countback and the discard had to be taken into account, unfortunate for Gary after his DNS from race 6. So the final results were.

1st  Ed Presley    RAFSA
2nd Gary Langdown   Highcliffe SC
3rd Simon Mussell   Highcliffe SC
4th Chris Boshier   Thorpe Bay YC
5th Martin Jones   Wilsonian SC
5th  Carl Tagoe   Oxford SC
7th Tony Cook   Downs SC
8th Paul (Ginge) Lincoln  Mengeham Rythe SC
9th Martin Frary   Weston SC
10th  Rodger White   King George SC
11th  Mike Murley   Weston SC
12th Paul Karas   HISC

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