Only one day of sailing QMSC were the hosts for a select but friendly group of 2000 sailors at the Winter Championship 2015. It was especially good to see some of those who have been travelling since sailing at the Nationals turn up. Seven boats made the journey on Saturday to find a dinghy park full of rattling and howling shrouds and a reservoir with bigger waves than most days at Abersoch! A quick poll of the fleet was taken, followed by a chat with the race officer and a decision to make it a one day event taken! This left the rest of Saturday free for alternative activities, a stroll round Kew Gardens, a visit to Hampton Court Palace or a trip to the cinema. Everyone joined up again in the evening for dinner at Dr Lavender's local.
An early start was arranged for Sunday to allow four back to back races. The wind was significantly easier than the day before but forecast to build steadily. Another boat had joined the fleet that morning so eight boats launched for the first race in a steady force 3. There was acres of space on the start line as it was made for a forty boat RS400 fleet but the Phillips made the best use of the port bias, winning the pin and staying ahead for the rest of the race. The Hudsons had been well up in front until gear failure took their spinnaker out of action leaving them to goose wing down the runs for the rest of the day, with surprisingly good speed! Also showing good speed downwind were Roger and Jazz which, combined with excellent tactical sailing, meant they took second place ahead of Dr Lavender.
The three fleets then paused for a minute's silence to mark Remembrance Sunday before the second race. This will be remembered mostly for the difficulty in counting to three with several boats sailing to the finish line on the second lap, allowing the Phillips and Dr Lavender to take an easy one-two. By the third race the wind had built to a fresh force four with some stronger gusts and lots of shifts. Once again the Phillips lead the fleet, closely followed by Dr Lavender until spinnaker issues slowed her down. The Phillips weren't to have it all their way this time though, with Roger's downwind speed and tactics giving him and Jazz the win. The wind had eased a little for the fourth and final race but had got even more shifty with big gains for those who could stay in phase. This time Dr Lavender managed to get ahead in the first beat and used their weight advantage up wind to just pip Roger and Jazz on the line. This allowed the Phillips to discard that race and still take the overall win.
Thank you to Queen Mary SC and the very accommodating race officer for making the most of a weekend where the weather wouldn't play ball. This was the last event of a fantastic season racing, thanks to James and Jenny and all the clubs we have visited. See you all on the water in 2016.
2015 Winter Championships
Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Entries: 8, Scoring system: Appendix A