After a wild, wet and windy night Sunday 25th dawned almost flat calm. “Not again!”, was the exclamation on the Committee boat, but a light westerly breeze appeared about 09:00 allowing a start line to be set by buoy 27. The breeze was anything but stable and as each cloud passed it brought huge shifts and increases in wind along with rain. During the race the wind varied in
strength from 5 to 25 knots in strength and from WNW to S in direction, meaning that to win the skippers had to read the windshifts and take advantage where they could.
With the weather being so unstable a short course between buoys 30 and 18 was set for all classes with the intention to complete 3 laps should the breeze increase, but with plenty of options to shorten should it decrease.
Class 1 for IRC rated boats, started on time at 09:30 with Reefer X winning the start and followed the South Shore for the fetch to buoy 30 but fell foul of the first major shift as the other boats who had taken the mid-stream or north shore were lifted up to the mark. Reefer rounded last while scratch boat, Mercury stretched out in a lead that they held to the finish.
Class 2 for NHC rated boats with spinnakers started at 09:40 but were all caught out by a lull in the wind and all ended up being very line shy but all boats took the north shore to buoy 30.
Class 3 for NHC rated boats without spinnakers had the most competitive start with all boats on or around the start line as the gun went. Again they all followed the North shore to buoy 30.
Spinnakers were flown by the boats in classes 1 and 2 for the legs down river but some struggled to carry them on the ever tightening reach on Long Reach from buoy 23 to 18.
Mercury completed one lap in just under 90 minutes so the decision was taken on the committee boat to shorten the course to 2 laps for all classes.
At the finish Mercury saved her time easily from the recovering Reefer X in class 1 while in class 2 Sulis saved her time from the Sonata “Silver Lining”. Class 3 was won on corrected time by the Wizard from Freya. Special mention should go to Charlie Baker and his team of Cadets sailing Silver Lining to second place in Class 2 in conditions that heavily favoured the larger boats.