The weather forecast for the weekend was for the hottest days of the year to date but there was no mention of wind which usually means no wind. But there was a surprising good East wind by the time we were ready to leave and 5 boats sailed to HSC easily. Richard was helming the safety boat so his Signet was towed. Maggie Futcher had trolley problems with her Enterprise and missed the first race.
We had very good support from new members with John and Caroline Graham racing their Merlin for the first time, it was only the second time Caroline have ever been in a sailing dinghy. Bob, and son Fin, Gloyn crewed for Richard and Rodger; it was the first time they had raced.
There were class starts for Merlins, Enterprises, GP14s, and due to low numbers the Lasers, Graduates and Handicap classes started together but each had their own results. Unfortunately two of our regular Graduate helms were away and Brian Clements didn't have a crew so raced in the handicap fleet; there were only 2 to 3 Graduates in their races. There were three upstream and three downstream marks with each class using a different pair of port marks.
By the time the of the first race what had been a downstream beat when the course had been set had changed to a running start. Unfortunately the wind changed, soon after the start, to being much lighter and very variable with big holes. The race lasted about 105 minutes. Often boats came together in big groups going nowhere. An unexpected gust caught John and although his Merlin didn't capsize it took in so much water it practically sunk.
After lunch there was even less wind for the second race of the day. By the time we had finished our afternoon refreshments the wind had changed back to a 5-10 knt Easterly and the boats made about 4 knts sailing back to AQSC; the best sail of the day. Sunday started with practically no wind and the boats were towed to HSC except for Keith Hatton who did manage to sail to there; fortunately the start was delayed for 30 minutes.
Slightly shorter courses were set as there was even less wind than on Saturday. Cruisers had great difficulty navigating through a mass of 50 stationary boats spread across the river. The best three out of the five races counted for prizes. After three races Rodger had 3 wins in the Club Graduate which was a big sweetener to Fin. By the end of race four Richard was tied with a Solo and ahead by the tie break; the Solo was unable to enter the last race as it's helm was on race duty so Bob also went home with a glass. After racing finished HSC junior members cooled off by jumping off the balcony rails into the river, we were cooled off by the splashing up to our balcony seats, except for Keith who decided to join them with a dive off the balcony rail.
Although there was lack of wind there was no lack of hospitality from HSC and we were kept fed with a continuous supply of delicious home prepared food for lunch and tea on both days. When we left, with most of our boats in tow, HSC members lined their balcony to give us a three cheers send off. Robert and John sailed back to Aquarius and surprisingly had the best sail of the day; they were the first back to the Club.
Considering the poor sailing conditions our new members did extremely well to persevere with all five races, especially young Fin. Both Bob and Fin enjoyed the weekend hugely.