Dammed White Horses at Earlswood Lakes SC

2-IMG_2734It is generally a sign at Earlswood Lakes that if there are white horses by the dam we are in for an interesting days sailing and so it proved to be.

The number of travellers was reduced to five boats as clearly some of the helms had read the forecast for the day and decided that discretion was the better part of valour or as in one case the towing vehicle decided it needed a rest.

The seven boats participating in the event launched, after the briefing by Principal Race Officer, Robert Marshall, in a good force 3 breeze from the south west with some lively gusts resulting in some excellent prestart planing when the British Moth could be seen at its best.

The first race started on time with all the boats closely packed on a starboard beat to the first mark, Toby Cooper (Broxbourne SC BM 887) rounded first closely followed by Tim Davison (Medley SC BM 892) and Colin Hall (Hunts SC BM 856). This mark was to see the first casualty of the event as local helm Ian Edwards (BM 854) suffered a catastrophic gear failure as his starboard shroud parted.

Toby Cooper planed off into a commanding lead pursued by Tim Davison and what remained of the fleet. The gusts continued to increase in both intensity and frequency with the result that Roger Witts (Frampton on Severn SC BM 890) decided to retire from the race hoping the winds would abate later in the day. Almost immediately the frequency and intensity of the gust did drop and it was looking as if Witts had made the wrong decision, however it was not long before the wind returned with renewed vigour resulting in the retirement of local helm John Pickford (BM 836). The race was won by Toby Cooper, followed by Tim Davison with Elaine Laverty (South Warwickshire YC BM 886) in third having plugged away steadily in the conditions overtaking Colin Hall after he had capsized.

The second race was started back to back after the first with only four boats on the start line. Tim Davison was judged to be over the line and was recalled to chase the pack. Toby Cooper was again first to the windward mark closely pursued by Hall, Laverty and the chasing Davison. The fleet enjoyed planing conditions to the leeward mark with the wind constantly at the upper end of force 3 with frequent very strong gusts. It was at the leeward mark on one of the laps that the fleet except for Laverty were flattened allowing Laverty into a well deserved second place. Cooper again won the race followed by Laverty and Hall, Davison never able to recover from his poor start.

The third race sailed after lunch saw Cooper sitting out the race and Pickford rejoining the fleet. This race saw the worst of the conditions and was won by Davison followed by Hall and eventually John Pickford who had adjusted his rig for the conditions and battled through to finish a deserved third, Elaine Laverty having decided the winds were too much and retired.

The event was won by Toby Cooper with Tim Davison second and Colin Hall third on count back. Elaine Laverty was the first and only lady and also the only helm that had remained dry, not having capsized in the day.

Prizes were presented by the Commodore of Earlswood Lakes Sailing Club, James Patterson, who said that it was a pleasure to be welcoming the British Moth fleet back to Earlswood Lakes. Toby Cooper thanked the Club for hosting the event and Robert Marshall and all the team for excellent race management and rescue cover.

Both the Club and the British Moth Boat Association look forward to future open meetings.