MWYC – Gusty Welcome for the first British Moth Open of the year



As the competitors arrived at Mid Warwickshire YC the weather forecast of strong winds, svere gusts and rain proved to be correct.

The race officer set a short first beat to the South West, however the fleet were reluctant to get to start line. Roger Witts (Frampton on Severn SC) got away cleanly in clear airs and maintained his substantial lead for the race. The gusty conditions jointly with violent swings in the wind brought out challenges for the sailors. On the first down-wind leg the tightly packed fleet jostled for position but a short sharp gust caught Paul Cook (Maidenhead SC) out capsizing and needing assistance to recover.
The conditions saw the remaining places changing with Abby Freely (Hunts SC) swapping places a couple of times with fellow cub member -Colin Hall. Further down the fleet Peter Lee (Mid Warwickshire YC), Gary Tomkins (Hunts SC)and Elaine Laverty (Mid Warwickshire YC) argued over the next positions. As the first race continued in these blustery conditions Abby Freely’s spreaders decided to part company with the mast forcing her to retire. This left Hall in second place and Tomkins managed to win the battle for third.
After lunch, the second race once again got off to a clean start with Witts once again showing a clean pair of heals. Tomkins again was battling with Hall who made several mistakes only to be overtaken by the rest of the fleet. Hall managed to fight back as others made similar mistakes. Tomkins managed to fight of attempts of Hall. With the wind still gusting, missed tacks and Hall joined the capsize club adding two to his name including one to windward!.
Race 3 starting off in similar conditions but this time Witts having secured first position decided not to sail. As the start sequence started Pam Coop (Mid Warwickshire YC) capsized and needed assistance to recover and Hall’s kicker failed as the start gun went, having to retire. This left 3 boats to compete. Lee took the early lead followed closely by Tomkins. This race was still in for surprises for the spectators, Cook capsized on the first mark as a wind shift caught him out at the first mark leaving a large distance between him and the rest of the fleet. On Lap 3 Lee hit the windward mark allowing Tomkins through and allowed Cook to catch the leaders. The wind still challenged the helms meaning they could not afford to lose any concentration as its direction carried on varying as did its strength.
Lee during the 4th lap caught up Tomkins but was still looking at the stern of his rival. But as Tompkins pulled out is lead in the 5th lap but a change of wind direction put him on the wrong side of a shift on the 6th lap allowing Lee through. On the final lap Tomkins took the lead once again but as he rounded the final mark his elbow hit the mark forcing him to do a 360 degree turn allowing Lee through.