Most of the 2010 Race Reports

Sunday 13th June, Morning pursuit race:

An unpromising start to the day weather wise - not actually raining, though forecast, and not a lot of a westerly wind greeted the arrivals for the pursuit. Rob was to sail with Sam in the Laser 2 ... but between them they’d not brought a spinnaker, Tony chose his Albacore, with Linda crewing, ever faithful Mike Knight was down to sail his Laser and weirdly not a Streaker in sight! Bill Meson, launching his re-varnished Phantom was out today. Paul out solo in his Firefly made a great start (as the slowest boat out today, he started before anyone else .. Mike should have been there with him, but had got caught in stays just before their start time which took him a while to get out of). We'd elected to sail a shortish course so we could be monitored by Mark in the boat house. The first leg was a good beat, which meant that Tony and Linda could stay in touch with Dave (both of us sailing Albacores) - Rob said he would have taken Chris' Albacore out too and that would have made three - almost a fleet! but thought of it too late. Dave managed to overhaul Paul and pull away during the first round, and after the 40 minutes or so, with the wind dying the finishing positions were pretty much settled. Steve Sharp circled the fleet, showing us how to use a spinnaker single-handed in his Osprey - back in commission (but not racing this morning).

Sunday 13th June Handicap races:

As far as Hornsea Sailing Club's concerned, Summer has officially started! - well the Summer Handicap series anyway. The weather, though not cold, was deceptive, and during the gap between setting the course and the start of the first afternoon race, the wind backed round from near-westerly in the morning to a near Easterly, and with a bit of strength. A good showing of 10 boats on the start, with (unusually) four two person boats out: Len and Diane in their Firefly (Paul would have been out, but discovered he'd put himself down for OoD), two person Albacores, and Rob sailing single-handed in Chris' Albie. Brian Joyce with Sam crewing were out in his Miracle, back from Butler boats after some systems sorting. Streakers, a Phantom, and two Lasers made up the rest of the fleet. A broad reach start rarely sorts out such a fleet till later on the beat, so the first leg or two gave us all some close racing on the water with a show of luffing and water-calling at the marks. Tony and Linda were giving Dave and Sheila a run for their money in the first round, and with not a lot of wind later on in the race, three rounds were enough. Dave Metcalfe won comfortably from the leading Albie - all too familiar a tale!

Race two had fewer entries, and was a gift for the single-handers with a broad reach first leg Brian Ruston had a blinder of a start and would have been first at the mark if better tactics had prevailed. We were all close for the first two marks, and making up the necessary time in the faster boats was to become a lost cause. Particularly pleasing to see Hannah making an appearance - she's missed and been missed for a few races recently with revision and exams on her mind. She was up with the leading Streakers for the first half of this, shortish race. Ernie Linguard found himself to be the surprise leader of the Streakers at one point, before he tried to work out what he'd been doing right. By the end, Dave M had, as usual sorted himself out into first place on handicap with the next 4 places going to single-handers - no wonder they're so popular!

Weds June 30th

Last day of June and a wonderful warm evening greeted the 9 starters this evening. Sammy had been encouraged to sail solo in her Laser2 but gallantly chose instead to crew for Dave Berger. Rob was crewing Chris, making two Albies, Graham had his Firefly out, with Paul (both sailing solo), and Steve Sharp has mended his Swordie so making five Uffa Fox designed boats out tonight. These were complemented by four Streakers. A longish course was set, intended to make a beat back to #1 from #0, which worked fairly well, with a second beat from #2 to #8 (avoiding the shallows). A running start is always likely to cause congestion at the first mark, but as the first leg to #0 was pretty long, and choice of south or north of the shallows made a difference. The name of the game tonight was finding the wind and avoid the weed. First round Paul showed great speed and was ahead of all the Streakers for much of it, Dave had created clear water between the two Albies and was showing the fleet around, and Dave Metcalfe had disadvantaged himself with a poor start, leaving Jeremy to lead the Streakers. However things changed a lot during the second round (which was to be the last due to shortening the course) and the lead on the water of the two Albies was eroded by the pack behind, and Chris got up close and personal - rather too close for comfort!

In the finish it was the usual suspects with Dave M winning on handicap by around a minute, with some close placings within the fleet. Swans and geese were much in evidence tonight, making distinguishing buoys when looking into the sun decidedly tricky!. Thanks to Mike for timing the leading boats in!

Wednesday 14th July

A somewhat threatening sky and occasional rain in Hull did not deter the hardy "salts" this evening. In fact a very good turnout of 11 boats were treated to four rounds of a course which attempted to make use of the South Easterly F2-3, by providing a longish beat from #7 to #1, and another short one from #8 to #9. The wind held true for all but the last round, when it veered through around 25 degrees, making it possible for the lead boat or two to almost lay #1 from #7 in one tack. The fleet got away to a rather ragged start, Brian Ruston setting the cat amongst the pigeons by coming in to the start on starboard (everyone else being on port and making for the #9 end of the line). Chris Bell was set to make a brilliantly timed start before this development, and took some time to regroup. Dave Berger sailing solo was squeezed out of the line at #9, and took the long way around to get started by circling behind the line. At the first mark, Brian's lead had been eroded, Dave Met had been overtaken, and the two Ospreys and Pip in his RS600 were just getting into their strides. Brian's slim lead did not survive the reach to #7, and from then on the order was becoming well established. On round 2 (or was it 3?) Paul (solo in the Firefly as is his custom and preference) was caught off guard by a rather vicious gust and managed to capsize, - a shame as he had been well up on his handicap at that point - too much laying of blocks round the garden pond on Sunday last (rather than getting out and sailing) may just have been a factor!

All sailors came off the water with a smile, even though the later finishers were treated to a cold and heavy shower (from above) before the evening was out.

Sunday 20th June Pursuit:

All but the longest day, and it was a blustery N-Easterly F4 that greeted those who chose to spend their Sunday morning at the Mere. Tony Ridley set us a "Steve Sharp Special" course which would take in every mark on the Mere. A select bunch of four boats set out at their allotted times, and the two Streakers and one Laser Radial made good progress towards the western end of the Mere. The wind was fluky round 7, and mark 2 demanded a gybe which claimed Hannah as a victim unusually today. Dave with Sheila crewing this morning due to the stronger winds started the obligatory 5 minutes behind this bunch. It took some time to get up close to the leaders, but by what was to be the 3rd to last mark (#7), Dave was right on Tony's transom. Misjudging his speed, Dave was unable to gain the all-important overlap, nor could he slow the boat sufficiently to stay behind and go wide. As a result Dave hit the buoy, and did his 360 penalty straight after, but time was then too short to catch Tony up again before 12.15 signalled the end of the race was to be at buoy 8. Hannah regained her composure and came a creditable 3rd, with Mike knight putting a great performance "and I didn't capsize this time!" to claim his fourth place. Also on the Mere this morning (not racing) were Howard and Charlie in Howard's Laser Vision, though they would save using the Genoaiker (as RS call it) till later on.

Handicap races: Sunday 20th June:

After the morning's stronger winds, the weather turned a bit more conducive this afternoon, with a gentler F3, still rather variable in strength and direction to send us all off on a 2-7-1-8-9 course. It was a good course for Streakers, provided you were lucky to avoid getting becalmed around #7, in the lee of the island. It seemed to pay to take the right-hand side of the beat 2-7, though many chose to go left. Tony had swapped his Streaker for his Albie (with Linda to crew) so there was to be some boat for boat competition amongst the two-handers. Brain Joyce was out in his Miracle, with Sam crewing, though they were still getting to grips with the spinnaker set up Dave Butler ( had created for them. Bill Meson was giving his Phantom an airing and before too long should be a force to reckon with in the single-hander group.

There was some position changing going on within the main bunch, especially during the two beats, to #7 and to #8. With the wind swinging, catching the shifts paid handsomely, and working to be in the inside of the wind bend was vital to a good placing. There were some rounds when #7 was very awkward with many boats battling with little wind to get around this mark. By the end, Dave B in his Albie had a good lead in distance, but was beaten on handicap by Mike Mooney by 40 seconds. Hannah put in a consistent performance following her midweek success, but was to save her best result of the day for the second race of the afternoon.

Second race was configured to be a longer course, but fewer rounds, avoiding the lee of the island. The wind was steady-ish in strength, but variable in direction, making it a beat to get to #0 on the first round, but an easy fetch on the next two rounds. There was a beat from 1-8, and the rest were reaches or close fetches.

Dave and Sheila took off from the start and built a good lead throughout, the drama was taking place between Mike Mooney and Hannah who was sailing very well, and gained particularly on the reaches over Mike, but importantly made good decisions on the beat, to stay ahead of Mike by around 25 seconds by the end. Linda had enjoyed her afternoon in the Albie, and that bodes well!  

Wednesday 16th June,

High pressure and a South Easterly F2 and a clear blue sky greeted tonight's sailors. With the two Dave's out of action, the field was wide open. Steve Sharp set the course, and was finally persuaded to take out his Osprey with Rob, to make two of these splendid birds on the Mere. Most started well, with one or two reluctant to get across the line. A broad reach to buoy 7 meant that Streakers starting near the club end of the line got there first, and the spinnaker Ospreys and single Albacore, hoping to make use of a broader angle by starting at the buoy 9 end of the line were disadvantaged. Paul Ellwood in his Firefly was putting in an excellent performance and was mixing it with the leaders. The beats were tricky with the wind oscillating quickly, making judging whether to tack on a "shift" or hang on for longer a test. Hannah was right up at the front, dicing with Jeremy Wood fro almost all the race, with the lead (of the Streakers) swapping between these two frequently. Four rounds were scheduled, but when Paul came in for a pit stop after three, due to a jammed rudder, Chris apparently thought it was all over. By this time, Steve had gained a good lead on the water, and was the eventual first finisher. The drama was between Hannah and Jeremy, and on their final rounds, Hannah managed to consolidate her lead of 30 seconds or so. Alan Hugman put in his first racing appearance this year in his Pico. Clearly now exams are over, Hannah is a force to be reckoned with!

Sunday 18th July, Pursuit

Hornsea threw another windy outing for the faithful today. Just three boats braved the strong westerly - forecast 16-18 knots, actually gusting 25 knots at times - no seriously! Paul had arrived to sail his Firefly but preferred to crew the Albacore, Len and Diane turned up for the second week in a row to discover the wind was a bit too draughty for them. Pip arrived to set a fiendish course with much fast reaching, Hannah as ever was game to go out, and Mike Knight was determined not to miss the action. Hannah shot off down the lake and for most of the first long round, it looked as though she'd be uncatchable. After the first long round, the Albacore was able to start making inroads into her 5 minute start advantage, and by the second short lap had all but caught her up. With around 15 minutes of racing left to go, it was a case of making sure to sty upright to be certain of a good finishing place, Mike having decided that he'd come third whatever as long as he stayed out long enough!

Sunday 18th July, Handicap races

The wind did abate a bit during the gap between races, but right on cue, 10 mins before the start it piped back up again like a good'un. Sheila had arrived to crew the Albacore - to the delight and amazement of the commodore!. Paul being thereby outdone of a crewing job got changed out of his wet things (spray, not a dunking!), Mike Mooney decided that, yes he would go out, and there was Hannah as usual, eager to demonstrate her boat-handling skills in a blow. Mike Knight was determined to go out and hone his heavier weather skills, and Les and Alan in the Osprey made up the fleet for the first race. A course in the shape of a fish too the fleet straight down to #6, thence to #0, back to #9 via #7 and #8 and on to #1 for the full round, providing some excellent spectating opportunities. The first part of the leg to #6, avoiding the tip of the island, was just a bit tight for really fast fetching, but the rounds took very little time ... for those who stayed upright!. The Albacore was only just releasing its hold on the bank at the off, so gave away about 3 minutes on the rest of the fleet. Hannah made good use of this, Mike started the best of the pack, but as often happens in heavier winds, something gets forgotten, and his bungee for the outhaul was not in place, causing a major problem when it snagged his mainsheet, when freeing off for the reach. A dunking and the energy to right and get back into the boat dictated that he retired from that race. Hannah held her handicap and was the worthy winner, with just two boats completing this race.

Race two looked as though it would be a bit less of a strain on the sinews. Four boats started, this time in good order. Mike and Hannah had excellent sport, boat-for-boat, with the lead swapping a number of times between them. Dave and Sheila in the Albacore had some excellent wild reaching, and did not duck out of any of the gybes either! In the finish, Mike Mooney won by 14 seconds on handicap, with the Albacore second and Hannah a very short while thereafter.

Rumour has it there may be some pix and footage of the action! Just four more races to go (over the next two Sundays) in this Summer Handicap series, and Hannah leads on points.

Wednesday 21st July

A welcome respite from recent windy outings, this evening's weather, for the hour or so before the start gave an insight into what was to happen during the race. At one point being completely calm with barely a ripple on the Mere. By the time sailors launched, a pleasant breeze was evident, from the south east, suggesting a port fetch to the first mark #2. However as the intense pre-start manoeuvres reached fever pitch amongst the 9 boats, with 20 seconds to go, the wind all but died leaving most some way back from the line at the off. The two Dave's had opted for the southern end of the line (next to #9) and the Metcalfe got away with a better start. Many others had opted for the club end of the line, and made their way along that shore. The wind settled back in, but was fickle in direction, making quick tacking to take advantage of shifts pay off. The Albacore had a clear lead by the first mark, but was to be challenged all the way until late into the third (last) round before it was to be evident that on handicap a win was in the bag. half way through the last lap, it became a drifter, made evident by the fact that the final finisher took just under twice as long on the water as the first boat home.

Dave Metcalfe in his Streaker came in second, with Hannah, who had bombed out at the start, third, having persevered and carved through the remaining fleet to get there. Paul Ellwood in his Firefly successfully held a lead over the chasing pack for much of the race, with Len and Diane finding a useful little breeze just coming up to the finishing line to overtake the two Streakers of Tony Legg and Ian McIntyre. Ian just piped Tony, by around half a foredeck at the finish. Mike Knight was left floundering for a while with no breeze at all, agonisingly close to the line. Mike's determination (he also sailed all three windy races last Sunday) finally brought him in. John Rayner with Graham Walker in the Osprey had a creditable showing.

Sunday 3rd October

Was scheduled as Autumn Cups day. However the weather was atrocious with rain from 8am till 5pm and a Southerly wind which ranged from not enough to plenty!

Turnout for the Pursuit was lowish, but who could blame anyone! Pip showed how successful he can be in his new Blaze by winning the race, with Hannah not far behind. The two timed races for the afternoon attracted a few  more takers, and a total of 11 boats took part in some racing on this day. We seem fated not to have a full turnout of the possible classes on any one day though, and Paul being away meant that only two Fireflies were in evidence (Stuart with Natalie crewing, and Len with Diane), Steve and Andy put in three races in the Osprey, though neither Les nor John were there to provide boat for boat competition for them.

There could have been three Albacores, but the Bergers did not manage the pursuit, being involved in a sodden charity bike (well tandem actually) ride during the morning, and Tony Ridley chose to sail his Streaker rather than his Albacore, thus saving Linda from a soaking! No Officer of the day was in evidence so it fell to the commodore to step in for the first afternoon race, and Len and Diane offered to officiate for the second afternoon race, so the Bergers could get afloat for that one and provide some boat for boat racing for Chris in his Albacore.

True to form, there were some interesting gusts during the races, and most survived them, providing some sizzling reaches.

Overall. Stuart dominated in the Firefly stakes, Pip was out o' sight in the Blaze thus winning the handicap class, and Tony cleaned up in the Streakers, to nab the Nik Nak trophy.

All in all for those that did take to the water it was a good day, but no-one could be blamed for deciding not to!

Sunday 24th October 2010

The last day of both the Second Morning Pursuit series, and the Autumn handicap series for this year dawned clear, and cold, with a forecast fro some strong Northerly wind. Arriving at the Mere, there was cloud around, but not a lot of wind. This was to change often and dramatically through the day!

The Pursuit and the handicap series were both to be decided on the last race, as there were four in contention for the pursuit, with a point or two separating Jeremy Wood, Hannah Hood and Stuart Hood with Jane crewing this morning. Jeremy was leading the table as the race started, and sailed off well at the start. Dave Metcalfe in his new-to-him boat, bought from his ex-crew Richard Blowman, was a late starter - crossing the start line around a minute after he might have done, thus giving himself a handicap he did not need. The first leg to number 1 mark was  fast close reach, followed by a long beat all the way up the Mere to 5. Dave quickly managed to close the gap and at some point in the long first round got ahead of the pack, and then just continued to build his lead. Jeremy held on well to second place, but infringed the shallows rule at the far end of the Mere, which caused  him to retire after finishing. The Albacore was sometimes overpowered (single-handed) in the beats, but the lack of crew weight led to some sizzling reaches. Stuart in his Firefly, and Tony Ridley and Hannah in their Streakers gave the two front-runners plenty to think about and no-one could afford to relax. In the finish, Dave Metcalfe won by half a short lap from Jeremy (on the water - though he later retired) leaving Tony in second, Hannah third, Dave Berger Albacore fourth and followed by Stuart fifth, Paul Ellwood sixth and Mike Knight seventh.

Overall, Tony Ridley takes the Pursuit series 2 trophy with Hannah second and Jeremy third. a further 10 points separates these three from us mere mortals!

The afternoon handicap racing was graced by a returning face, Alistair Smith with his Contender (in the first race) and in borrowed Blaze, courtesy of Pip in the second race. Gusts and rustiness led to a number of spills, though the Blaze seemed to suit him better, he found himself a bit knackered after the first race capsizes.

Steve Sharp had set a fiendish course, to which he would add further Machiavellian legs for the second race! Number 6 buoy took a bit of getting to, but the gybe around zero caught at least one boat out - Les and Alan in the Osprey. Eventually they got blown onto the far shallows and were able to stand knee deep to right the boat. There were gusts aplenty, and bearing off to gain speed and control paid handsomely. An early lack of gust response on behalf of the commodore led to an almost-capsize, filling the boat just 20 seconds into the race. It took some time to catch up the fleet thereafter. Chris Bell and crew Rob revelled in the conditions, going especially well to windward. Dave Metcalfe showed exceptional speed and was to dominate the race on handicap. Both Albacores did their best did ahead on the water, with the Osprey having led the race till they capsized  on the first round. Jeremy Wood and Stuart Hood put in strong performances.

The last handicap race of the season started with a long reach to 3 then back to 1, thence to zero, followed by 7, 8 and 9. The wind gusted, veered and backed by turns and caught most boats off their guard at some stage or another. Dave Metcalfe and Stuart, in Streakers had some great duelling with the lead changing between them three times before Dave capsized and lost it. The two Albacores had some good sport, with Chris and Rob masterful upwind with their extra "righting moment" (aka crew weight!). On the last round, approaching 1 already moving fast, the Berger boat was hit by a massive gust in three parts - flying towards 1, which was to be where one hardened up and tacked, any sudden manoeuvre would have led to a dunking so a very cautious and slow coming onto the wind was called for. Chris was just behind and mis-interpreted this, thinking we were going in!. After the tack towards 7 (which could now be laid on the new tack), the third part of the gust hit and though overpowered, control was maintained. In the finish on the water the two Albacores crossed 1st and 2nd, followed by Stuart not far behind - close enough give Stuart the race on handicap, the Bergers second and Dave Metcalfe 3rd, followed by Chris Bell 4th, Hannah fifth, Mike Knight 6th and Les and Alan 7th.

The series ending with a bang rather than a whimper, with Stuart Hood taking the trophy, Jeremy Wood second and the Bergers third.  

Sunday 31st October - Last sail of the season, and the clocks went back!

The day started with so little wind you could have shaved in the reflection on the Mere ( well I wouldn't have of course! and neither would Ernie - who arrived for the afternoon race sporting a beard - for the authentic "old salt" look).

There were 11 boats that had decided to have a morning race "4thehelluvit" - appropriate to Halloween no doubt. There were to be no prizes, and it counted towards no series, but as the wind filled in, principally from the east, with a touch of northerly to it, the fleet set off in the classic staggered-start of the now-familiar pursuit. Jeremy and Dave Metcalfe vied in the early stages for the lead. There was never to be any danger of planing reaches this morning (or indeed much in the afternoon either), and once the Albacore got under way, the chase was on! Pip (Blaze) close behind, starting with Stuart (Phantom) along with a late-starting Tony Legg caused the commodore to stay alert! Steve and Andy in the Osprey never really got a look in as their first would-be spinnaker leg provided too little wind to fill that sail, though they carved their way forwards to get quite close to the front pack.

A long first round provided some interesting sport around #6 as is common when there is a certain amount of N to the breeze. Making our way from #5 at the west end of the Mere, towards #9, it surely should have paid to make for the south shore, for that oh-so-tempting lifting bend that the edge of the Mere often provides. However those further back found more breeze, and a lift with it, in the middle of the Mere, to the extent that Paul in his Firefly at one point was within striking distance of Dave M (who was lead boat at that time). Pip was right up there too. Now that's really encouraging to see! However places can be won and lost rapidly where there are shifts to be caught (or missed), and a few well-chosen short tacks on the shifts towards the east of the lake changed the order yet again.

With the time all but up, following the first short lap, Dave M found the commodore to be snapping at his heels, with Jeremy close behind in third place. With just 90 seconds to go, the leading 3 boats were at #8, and  the rules of the race dictated these three needed to head for #7 to settle the race. In these light airs, the extra weight of the Albacore is more than compensated for by its extra waterline length (and hence theoretically higher displacement hull-speed) and greater sail area. Hence the Streaker was to be no match for the 50+ year old Uffa Fox Albacore design. Line honours then to the Albacore followed by (2) Dave Metcalfe, (3) Jeremy Wood, (4) Hannah Hood, (5) Pip Warner. Other competitors with no placings noted: Tony Legg, Paul Ellwood, Steve Sharpe & Andy Gilding, Mike Knight, Stuart Hood and Brian Joyce & Sam Warner in this "Penny" (penultimate) race.

The very last race of 2010 season was sailed in a nice bit of a F2 and a little bit of breeze. 16 boats arrived, and what a difference from last year (when there were gusts recorded of over 40 mph). All got away cleanly at their respective starts, and it was great to see Brian Joyce, helming Sammy's Laser 2 with Sammy as crew actually participating in a pursuit race! - Brian has in the past been heard to say he couldn't understand the point of them! Stuart, solo in his Firefly led from the off and was uncatchable for the rest of the race, though Dave M did get close a few times. Jeremy was right up there too for the whole race, and the faster boats, starting later did not really get a look in, though valiant efforts were made by many. A good call by Jeremy (on a point of the rules regarding rights of way within the "zone" of 2 boats-lengths from the mark)  caused the over eager, "barging at the mark"  Commodore to take the mandatory 720 penalty and the finishing order, later established by an ad-hoc committee was to be:

First: Stuart Hood, (2) Dave Metcalfe, (3) Jeremy Wood, (4) Dave & Sheila Berger, (5) Mike Mooney, (6) Paul Ellwood, (7) Steve Sharp, (8) Chris Bell & Rob Froud, (9) Pip Warner, (10) Tony Legg, (11) Hannah Hood, (12) Ernie Linguard and the following also took part but placings were not noted: Brian Joyce & Sam Warner, Mike Knight, Natalie Hood and Rob Parnaby.

After the race the changing rooms were speedily dismantled under the direction of our Land Bosun, Charlie Cartwright, ably assisted by those present who had sailed, joined by Howard and Bill Meson and some whom I'm sure I will have inadvertently omitted. Many thanks to all, and a fitting end to a great season - now how to keep fit for next season?

Why not join us for cycling on Sundays! - first one will be next Sunday, 7th November meet at 10.30 am at the Mere for a 20 miler or so at a gentle pace! (Sheila and I'll be on the tandem so we'll probably be tail-enders!).