Pursuit Race 2 – 1st September 2019

To my surprise, after the morning race, we had the 2nd of two pursuit races this year . . . I must check the sailing programme more often! I rather like pursuit races, so this was a nice surprise.

The Pursuit Race is organised by Tony and Suzanne, start times are published (based on your boat and personal results). Tony stands at the end of the slipway focused on his list of start times and clock, you queue up and then GO! When Tony says so.

There were 14 competitors in this race, 4 of which were Blazes, John Tinnans was off first, followed by Adam Hampton (welcome back!) and John Goudie, then me a little later. I was pleased to see Brian Lamb in his Wayfarer, crewed by Chris Saunders, start just before me, penalised by his rather successful results in the past.

The course consisted of about 20 marks, just to ensure we didn’t run out of them by the finish time. The course took us downriver against the tide to the Kingsnorth area, a couple of loops between SY4 and Hoo creek, before heading back towards the club. High tide was about 20 minutes before the finish time so we were again against the tide on the way back, the finish is close to buoy 28 for the leaders.

So, back to the start, it was a variable wind of force 2 with the occasional force 3 to 4 gust, fortunately for Brian & Chris in the Wayfarer and me in Blaze 756 a nice gust came through as we started. This enabled us to progress downwind towards Hoo Ness at speed, immediately making progress on Adam and John in their Blazes as they approached Hoo Ness. We then headed to buoy 30 before bearing off onto a run towards buoy 27. This was quite slow, trying to make the most of any gusts that came through. John rounded 27 first followed by me and then Adam, we then had a nice reach across to 26, where we bore off onto another run towards SY4. I managed to just sneak ahead of John before rounding SY4 and heading to HG1, Adam still with us, John Tinnans still way ahead.

We were now catching the Lasers and Laser 2000’s as we headed for 23, 22, MYA1, 24. My focus at this point had to move from boat speed to avoiding weed, pallets and bits of wood!! Spring tides had just passed and obviously cleared the shores!!! I was a little concerned at one point having hit a plank of wood, probably part of a pallet, which I managed to snap as I hit it so it was hinged around my rudder, fortunately, I could reach it without lifting my rudder and then focus on racing again.

By buoy 24 I had got ahead of many boats and the final Laser kindly capsized allowing me to pass, John Tinnans in the leading Blaze was proving difficult to catch though, the Altos were also beginning to catch us at this stage. The next mark was SY4, then HG2, before heading to Beacon 3 (between 26 & 24). I’d managed to get past another Laser 2000 and catch John a little by HG2, but once John had rounded HG2 he was off at speed and the Alto’s were still closing. Ahead of John was Dave Thornlow in his Solo and John Hewat/Sue Hart in the leading 2000. Despite my best efforts I couldn’t get ahead of John Tinnams, who sailed well to finish in 3rd place. Dave was 2nd in his Solo, John and Sue won in the Laser 2000, fortunately, John didn’t mention the win much once ashore . . . well not after an hour or so anyway!! I did manage to keep ahead of the Alto’s, Adam managed to finish ahead of John in the end.

The results were kindly sent out by Roy in the evening and I was surprised to see myself at the top of the table after 2 races with a 5th and a 4th, it proves that just turning up makes a difference! Surprisingly nobody else had completed both races in the same boat. I say this because it should be noted that David Thornlow, who was the only other person to do both races, would have been on equal points as me if he’d achieved the same results by using his Blaze in both races.