Flying Fifteen Open at Chew Valley Lake SC

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Flying Fifteen annual Open Meeting was held at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club over the weekend of 12th and 13th May 2012. Fifteen boats from seven clubs, six of them visitors, contested in the event.

With beautiful sunshine and a full lake following the recent heavy rain together with a forecast of a good breeze some of the best sailing so far this season seemed in prospect. Unfortunately on the first day the expected breeze failed to materialise and a northerly variable in strength and direction prevailed.

Three boats started on the apparently unfavoured pin end in the first race. They were rewarded by a lifting gust which took them clear of the fleet to the windward mark. Hamish McKay and Andrew Lawson from the Royal Highland Sailing Club took a commanding lead which they never relinquished but the persistent shiftiness of the wind produced a continuing tussle between Alex Timms and Matt Pedlow of the home club and Bill Chard and Ken Comrie also from Chew. Several changes of place occurred with Alex Timms winning second place.

The second race was in similar conditions but a rather closer race ensued. Ian Cadwallader and Nick Stone of the home club took the lead early on and went on to win. The following group of Hamish McKay, Matthew Whittaker and Andrew Fairley from Llangorse (where sailing is suspended because the boat park is flooded) and Mike Thompson and Simon Millington from Chew exchanged places a few times but finally finished in that order.

Race Officer Peter Sherwin abandoned racing for the day as the wind became less reliable in strength and direction. Overnight McKay and Lawson led with the next three boats all on eight points.

Sunday’s wind filled exactly on time from the southwest and in brilliant sunshine allowing an early start and three races. A broken mainsheet halted McKay and Lawson’s progress.

Cadwallader and Stone and Thompson and Millington had a close battle until different tactics to cross the Scorpion fleet gave Cadwallader the lead which he held to the finish.

Race four started with a port-biased line and an increase in the breeze. Thompson and Millington won the pin to be just behind McKay and Lawson at the windward mark and the ensuing downwind legs, passing them on the next beat to take the lead and hold it to the finish. Matthew Whittaker and Andrew Fairlie from Datchet took third place.

The first three boats all tied on points going into the last race and they arrived at the windward mark in short succession. McKay and Lawson led from Thompson and Millington who allowed themselves to get entangled with a bunch of Scorpions, effectively joining their race before extricating themselves well down the fifteen fleet. The wind died a little and Ian Cadwallader and Nick Stone could not quite catch Hamish McKay and Andrew Lawson who won the race and took the overall trophy.

Sailing number 3144 Stephen and Nigel Card from Llangorse Sailing Club took the silver trophy.

The rather shifting wind had made life difficult for Peter Sherwin and the Race Team but they completed five races and thus the whole programme.

GBR Flying Fifteen Class Association website