Itchenor Keelboat Week - Sunbeam Race Report
Published 00:00 on 18 Jun 2021
Pinch me, 65 plus boats on start line in three fleets all offering a slightly different experience, turquoise blue skies, east/south east/ southerly sea breeze to confuse the PRO, and ensure plenty of water drunk, suncream employed and an empty high water harbour...enjoy! And so to day 2. 18 Sunbeams on start line. Yesterday the first 8 boats to get there were split 50:50 as to whether to go left or right to Mark X off a mid week 1/2 empty east head. A 20 degree shift on the gun found Polly on her own at the pin, more about her when the fleet re-made contact at tea on the lawn. Danny came out second but slight starboard wind shift back into the Rookwood beach allowed Sky to get through and promptly tack on Danny for the long port hike heading South. Becky very happy! Tight reach to Johns Folly and then a beat to Beach, Polly on the horizon and Sky in second with Betty and Danny all over her transom. An up/down number of legs, Danny getting through to second, Betty third, Jabberwocky coming through to 4th with Sky hanging onto their coat tails. Polly apart, with rumours of Martin taking photos and Nick his binoculars the next 4 boats remarkably close after 2 hours of racing. Congrats to Polly... Tiffany launching tomorrow, weather set fair for at least more of the same for next 24 hours.
Itchenor Keelboat Week continued its theme of light winds on day 3, a notch down on day 2, with winds generally in the 5~10 knot range with some lighter patches. As with day 2 the leader at the first windward mark held the lead to the end despite some great close racing behind.
The committee boat end of the start line near the Pilsey Post was once again hotly contested and the action here was quite significant to the end result. Not every boat off the line at the first attempt! The majority of the fleet sailed off the line on port tack towards Pilsey Island to get out of the flood tide, towards the windward mark inshore of the East Head mark.
V18 Polly led the pin end contingent followed closely by V71 Tiffany - she was only launched in the morning - and they found some breeze heading towards the Rookwood shallows. At times the wind dropped below 5 knots and there seemed to be a lot of holes. However, V27 Jenny showed the rest of the fleet the way as they apparently stayed on port tack for 5 minutes more than anyone else before tacking across towards East Head. By doing this they missed the holes and rounded the windward mark with a good lead from V36 Melody and V64 Maisy, both of whom also hung on port tack for longer. Then followed V14 Jabberwocky and V41 Fleury, V47 Kitty and V11 Harmony. Fleury had apparently taken 2 attempts to start!
A spinnaker reach to a special mark near Runway was followed by a beat to Dunes and a run down to Pivot. Maisy managed to overtake Melody but made little progress on catching Jenny. Polly overtook Harmony. After Pivot there was another beat to Gardner. As the spinnakers were hoisted for a reach to Thorney, Melody was overtaken by Jabberwocky and Fleury. After a short beat to East Head, there followed the final run - against an ebbing tide - to the finish at Park
This is where the fun started. The wind was now very light. Whereas Jenny still had a good lead, the following boats were getting closer together. Polly kept out in the channel and found more breeze and converged with Maisy and just behind Jabberwocky. As the boats crossed the tide to the finish Jabberwocky managed to stay ahead of the pursuing boats. Polly, Maisy and Fleury were adjacent to each other but it paid to be at the Park end of the finish line so Fleury, Maisy and Polly were 3rd, 4th and 5th. Kitty, Melody and Harmony were next and well done to David Grylls and Falmouth Sunbeamer Phil Badger for their 9th place in Tiffanys first race.
Many congratulations to Phil Ingham and Henry Dembinski in Jenny for their well-deserved win. Jabberwockys excellent second place puts them in the overall lead with 2 races to go. We can but hope for more wind tomorrow!
Day 4 race report, easy one, not enough wind and PRO sensibly decided that there wasn't enough time before the tide started ebbing, so race cancelled. The wind then died so we had to paddle home in the pouring rain. Class Captain clearly chose the right day to have a board meeting. Well done to Adrian and Mark on Serendipity on winning the race home assisted by their brand new electric outboard! Apparently very satisfying given Tim Hill's offshore powerboat racing pedigree!
Last updated 08:43 on 4 January 2022