The weather gods carried on where they left off with last year’s Autumn Series with the Wind socially distancing itself from the fleet.
Lulled in to a false sense of security by a light breeze at 09:00 the OOD decided to send Class 1, the IRC fleet down as far as Buoy No 13 with some backwards and forwards in Long Reach to give the crews something to do. Class 2, for NHC handicapped boats carrying spinnakers also went to No 13 but without the extra legs. Class 3, for NHC handicapped boats without spinnakers were sent on a shorter course, only going as far as West Bulwark and back
IRC were the first away at 09:30 with a light breeze carrying them up river from the start line by buoy 27 to the first turning mark at No 30. Class 2 left 10 minutes later and Class 3 after another 10. In class 1, scratch boat, Mercury revelled in the light breeze and built up a large lead by the time they re-passed the Committee Boat. Unfortunately for them it was not to last as the wind gradually died away and the racing for all classes became a case of chasing the catspaws to generate any movement at all on the down river legs against a building flood tide. This was especially difficult for class 3 with no spinnakers to generate that extra bit of power to make progress.
After just over 3 hours of drifting along Mercury was able to complete the full course followed over 30 minutes later by Reefer X, but with the large difference in ratings Reefer ended up some six minutes better off on corrected time. The only other boat to finish was X-Ray in third.
With the Committee boat tied up at buoy 27 finishing class 1 it became clear that Classes 2 and 3 would not be able to finish the complete course in the time limit so their races were shortened to finish at buoys 19 and 16 respectively. For both classes the lead boats took their own times and those of their competitors as they reached the mark. All of class 2 managed to complete the shortened course with Sulis winning on corrected time from the diminutive Sonata Silver Lining, ably crewed by a team of cadets with Irene finishing third. Unfortunately only Muskrat Ramble was able to reach buoy 16 in class 3 so was the sole finisher
Full results can be found on the Sailwave web site in the Medway Folder.
So the Autumn Series is underway and hopefully we will be able to run the full series, Covid restrictions permitting. The weather forecast looks like there will be wind next week so hopefully a less frustrating race for all.