Autumn Open Proves A Hit
Xenon and Omega class dinghies from as far afield as Dorset came to Holland on Sea last Saturday 31 October to take part in an open event at the Gunfleet Sailing Club.
An overcast sky and the odd burst of rain did not deter the competitors and soon they were on the water jostling at the start line, ready for the first race. Quick to pull away, on the reach to the St. Michael’s buoy, was a local Xenon sailed by Paul Davis and Simon Clarke, followed by James Thomas and Paul Farr from Hertford County Yacht Club, also in a Xenon. As the boats rounded the mark and hoisted their spinnakers, heading back along the coast to the AWS buoy, so the force three to four southerly wind started to fall away but still provided enough power to produce some lively sailing. The next leg proved interesting to those competitors from inland waters as it entailed a beat out to the Seaward mark against a strengthening ebb tide. This caught several people out and a number of boats were forced to undertake a 360 degree penalty after they touched the buoy whilst rounding it. With an ever-falling wind the Officer of the Day shortened the course to one lap with Davis and Clark taking a convincing win.
Following lunch a smaller course was set and the craft headed for Eastcliff buoy. Once again the Xenons lead the way but a separate battle ensued amongst the Omegas a little further back in the fleet, with Liz Falkner and Jan Spall managing to keep ahead of Mark Fletcher and Colin Gibson. However, the wind that had freshened a little then decided to almost completely disappear but by this time Davis and Clarke had built up a sufficient lead to take the second race.
The third and final race, over an even smaller course, saw a change in places with Paul Smith and Chris Bundy from Poole Yacht Club challenging fellow Xenon sailors including, at times, Davis and Clarke. However, at the front of the fleet it was Thomas and Farr fighting it out with Paul Doyle and James Mead from Bishops Stortford. At the end of a tactically intriguing event Thomas and Farr took the winning gun, followed by Davis and Clarke, giving the latter sufficient points to win the event overall.
Results – 2009 Xenon/Omega Challenge:
1. Paul Davis and Simon Clarke – Gunfleet Sailing Club
2. James Thomas and Paul Farr – Hertford County Yacht Club
3. Paul Doyle and James Mead – Hertford County Yacht Club