I travelled up to this meeting with Keith and Madeline Hatton and Roy Melsom. We
used Keith's dinghy ST858 and, in addition to sailing in the open, planned to use
this event as a work up for the Nationals being held in less than a month's time.
We stopped off on the way for Roy to pick up his boat (ST761) at Little Paxton, where
it had been undergoing some repairs. By the time we got to Grafham, rigged and went
to the briefing we only just had time to get changed and out to the line.
The course was trapezoidal (I've leave you to figure that out). You had to go through
the starting gate each lap and there were fast and slow handicap fleets starting
five minutes apart but racing on the same course. The wind was NE force 3, sunny
to overcast but no rain. The water temperature actually felt warm. The sailing was
fast, furious and one hell of a ride.
Apart from competing in the Beds & Cambs Regatta, sailing under the Cambs flag, no.
don't ask how come; the four SigneT's were also contesting their second 'open' of
the year (a sort of race within a race).
The slow fleet was made up of 23 boats. There were three races throughout the day
and at the end Keith and I were 14th and Richard Cannon and his crew Rob Britton
were 15th. From a SigneT point of view the first race finished with Richard and Rob
3rd and Keith and I 4th, not a good start!
After lunch things got better with some fast and close racing, especially between
ST386, ST858, and Tom Field & Roy Melsom in ST761. ST858 won the second race with
ST368 second. ST368 won the 3rd race with ST858 2nd.
So, at the end and after discard Richard and Keith were tied on points but, unfortunately
for us, under RYA racing rules the last race result counts to break such a tie. That
was won by Richard so he came first, with ST858 a very close 2nd.
It was a great days racing in perfect conditions and a good work up for the SigneT
class nationals being held at Chichester YC in three weeks time.
If you ever get the opportunity to sail at Grafham Water you should grab it with
both hands. It's a superb venue (a la Bewl Water) with absolutely no wind obstructions.
It makes you wonder why we bother to sail on the river at all.