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ISO Europeans 2017 @ Stone Sailing Club

 

Waiting for the start
Waiting for the start

 

Monday - Sunny with a nice South-Westerly breeze for the first day of the Euros. Two races were held on a course around the cans.

R1: Serenity (1190 - Colin Snook and Alison Revitt) was close on the heels of Tinky Winky (1003 - John and Juliet Gill) but took a nasty capsize on the first reach across the channel which was a bit tight for the spinnakers. English Braids (1002 - Dave Poupard and Rachel Hughes) went into second while Sapho (1153 - Hans Smorenburg and Raymond Willemse) and Spare Part Dave (504 (100) - Richard Bowman-Daniels and Lizzie Joyce Gill) joined Serenity in the swimming excercises.  Sapho later discovered they were OCS while Spare Part Dave retired with damage.

R2: Race two involved a long broad reach down the shallow northern banks of the estuary. Clumps of weed brought down by the tide, wrapped themselves around the leading edge of foils making the boats unsteerable. As the gusts came through it was a lottery to see who would survive and who would take swim. Tinky Winky used great skill to survive by steering with sails and finished first. English Braids utilised their super-quick recover techniques to finish second while Serenity made third ahead of Sapho and Spare Part Dave retired again.

Tuesday - Another breezy South-Westerly and Wendy the RO sets a reaching start across the estuary in order to find a course that avoids the weedy northern bank after requests from competitors.

R3: Tinky Winky established a commanding lead to take first while Serenity, English Braids and Sapho battled for second. On the last beat up through the moored yachts to the line, Serenity is just in front of English Braids and Sapho. Serenity initially tries to cover both but they go for opposite sides. Serenity makes a strategic decision to ensure a finish in front of English Braids. Sapho may have capitalised but their decision to go in-shore for less tide did not work. Spare Part Dave was not far behind in fifth, making it a good race for the ISOs, finishing 1,3,4,5 in the handicap fleet.

R4: Serenity is last at the first mark due to navigational errors, but then tacks out into the channel for better wind and less weed and arrives at the second (windward) mark in first. Serenity holds off Tinky Winky for most of the race but Tinky Winky gets past on the last downwind stretch by gybing out for better wind. English Braids almost sneaks past as well while Serenity is recovering from the failed covering tactics, but then Serenity edges down very low and finds a nice gust out in the channel to maintain second place. Spare Part Dave beat Sapho to take fourth.

Wednesday - A long distance race was held on Wednesday in a strong but steady south-south-westerly.

R3:  Two sail, close reaching all the way down to Bradwell power station, around ‘The Baffle’ followed by a long neck destroying fetch back to the club. Tinky-Winky led from the start with Serenity close on her windward quarter matching speeds all the way down to The Baffle. English Braids also fairly close behind followed by Sapho. Approaching the Baffle, the wind dropped off and bent around so that some gybing was required. English Braids risked sailing into the shallower water off the headland and sneaked briefly into second but lost out again in the lottery of the Baffle’s wind shadow and Serenity came out on to the upwind leg  slightly to windward. These positions were held all the way back with the boats gradually spreading out. Sapho having some boat breakages had to sail lower and tack across the channel. English braids rather overpowered sailing a bit free-er. Serenity a little de-powered unable to quite match Tinky-Winky’s speed.  It was a long long fetch with the Radio Caroline ship seeming to never get any closer, but eventually conceding and passing by. One longed to change position to ease the aching muscles but having to remain vigilant against the vigorous gusts it was just a case of trying to make it back to the finishing line off Stone SC.

Thursday - There was no racing Thursday due to the big gusts coming through.

Instead we all went to Maldon to have a look at the Thames barges. One barge was open for viewing and they let us try hoisting the foresail.. maybe hoisting an ISO kite is not so bad! We chatted to the barge enthusiasts about barge racing, filming Dunkirk and how to preserve sails with fence paint.

Friday - It was still windy and very-very gusty on the last day and the RO set a nice Olympic style course with the triangle being somewhat skewed so that the first leg was almost downwind and the second a bit tight for the kite.. especially with a strong tide running out.

R6: Tinky winky won the first one. Serenity and English Braids performed a synchronised capsize at the first gybe and then swapped places several times before Serenity pulled away a bit to take second.

R7: In the second race of the day the same order was reliably established until about half way through the race when TW made a rare mistake and was shipwrecked on the bluff at breezy point. After some hairy moments beating up the gusty moorings off the clubhouse, Serenity took first with English Braids second. This was sufficient to ensure Serenity second place overall and with Tinky Winky out of reach Serenity decided to call it a day and get a hot shower.

R8: Tinky Winky was restored for the final race and English Braids led at the start, unfortunately by too much as she was OCS.

 

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