On the hottest day of the year in glorious sunshine and a 10 mph breeze sixteen starters set off on a windward start towards the bottom mark, buoy 23. Booty and the three Dragons quickly got away from the rest of the fleet who were caught up in port and starboard tacking duals. Getting clean away from the line was the secret.
Although the tide was due to turn at 6.45pm at Chatham lock it was still running out when the middle of the fleet arrived at buoy 24 on the way to 23. Booty had established a convincing lead rounding 23 as the boats behind reached buoy 24 being followed by Zephyros and the Dragons. Zephyros touched the bottom just before buoy 23 and whilst extracting herself Mr Chips sailed by and Valkyrie caught up rounding 23 together.
The fleet had become quite strung out by this stage with the Squibs, Redfox and Hunter 27 finding the wind a bit too light for their liking on the beat down.
In theory the breeze was due to hold and after quite a good length beat we should have been returning with the tide and wind behind us. Unfortunately the wind dropped to nothing whilst most of the fleet were in Gillingham Reach, from behind the leading boats were seen to be dropping their spinnakers and starting to beat up to 29 in a good breeze. Those behind were coming up river without spinnakers with the breeze from behind closing on the middle group siting with drooping kites and no steerage.
The wind filled in for most in Gillingham Reach enabling a beat/close reach back to the club line for 9 starters just before the 9pm time limit. Sonata, Munchin won overall with Dragon OCD second and Mr Chips being the first cruiser on handicap.
Regretfully the course was just too long for the slower boats who had to retire. It was a fantastic evening to be on the water and felt much cooler than on land where the temperature was still 26 degrees at 10pm.
With just two Wednesday races left this year why not come and join us for a bit of relaxed racing and let’s see if we can get 20 starters out. The next races are 29th July (sailing with the cadets as part of Cadet Week) and 5th August (Lady Helm day)