ISO Gala - Weston SC (13th & 14th September 2003)

Picture this: Clear blue skies; a wisp or two of cloud, Americas Cup yachts towering over Southampton Water, copious other yachts a motor boats filling the bay, it was the Boat Show opening weekend - and a red dot in the distance.

The unmistakable shape of an ISO spinnaker creaming along in the force 4. ISO 820 of Philip Bunn and Andy Parkhouse from Gurnard YC made a spectacular arrival at Weston SC!

They completed the better than expected fleet of 18 ISOs, accompanied by 5 Buzz, 4 BOSS, 2 Spice, 11 Blaze and 19 Contenders for the Weston SC Multi Gala, part of the ISO 10th Anniversary events circuit.

With an interesting set of courses around 3 marks to separate the Classes, the Race Officer got us all away on time and no recalls. Pretty good as we had some new faces and a couple of boats returning after a long layoff. The first beat provided much hilarity as the ISO fleet, all packed together in some tight racing, climbed away from Bunn and Parkhouse in 820 and Ladell and Berriman in 814. Yes we got a lousy start!

Lying last up the beat Tim kept an admiral eye on the windward mark. Andy did the same for 820 and we both went round the mark ahead of the pack who had all gone off to the Contender wing mark !!! So, lead by 820, we went from last to 2nd in one easy move. Thanks guys ?

The leaders skills overhauled us by the end of the 2nd lap pushing us down to 6th leaving Jonny and Bugsy in Neil Pryde to take line honours followed by the Keam-Georges in Enigma Vehicle Systems and Ashton / Burch Tempting Fate in 3rd. Bunn and Parkhouse held on to 4th in fine style. The upside for us we left Team Love Boat RWO and our club rivals in 760 behind us. A good start as we've only sailed together once in sunny Garda.

Race two, everyone had the navigation sorted out this time; putting us back in our place ! Line honours changed hands but still lay with Team Essex. Team Rooster pushed Tempting Fate down to 4th in some tight racing. Further down the fleet some teams were struggling a bit to cope with the chop, increased by the power boats and starting to understand the effect of the tide. Purple Pants pulled themselves up to 17th with Hold on Tighter enjoying 15th.

The third race saw tighter racing right across the fleet with us ahead of Enigma for a while. The start of the 2nd lap provided some excitement as the windward mark suddenly appeared very close to the start line. It had drifted a long way in the stiff breeze  but suddenly roared off back to it's rightful place behind the rescue boat ! Enigma protested the Race Committee. The fleet sailed on.

On the third lap the windward mark saw Enigma take an uncharacteristic bath. Team Rooster climbed away to take the race from Team RWO, finally having a tiff, to make a late showing ahead of Neil Pryde. Team Essex were clearly working together with Team Veitch, Enigma and Bowler / Marniman taking 5th, 6th and 7th respectively.
And the mid fleet excitement saw us finish 8th, ahead of club rivals, again, putting us into the Pros in the RWO sponsored Pro-Am competition.

Saturday evening we retired to the local for a quiet beer and a bite, with much excited chat about the days events.

A glorious Sunday morning greeted the fleets again, with an increased breeze to a 4. It was going to be another good day. The Race Committee introduced a 2nd leeward mark to divide up the fleets a little more. A good move.

Race 4 got away after a short delay, the fleet scattering up the beat to find clean air. Competition was hotting up to everyones enjoyment. The powerboat chop still challenged some and few more went swimming. The 2nd beat became interesting with the BOSS screaming downwind with that huge kite in full flow. Now how does it go ? Us on starboard tack with windward BOSS on port ? No, lets just - TACK!

The results provided foresight for the weekend results, with the first nine boats all in sequence, lead by Enigma, Neil Pryde and Team Rooster, with Tempting Fate maintaining a consistent 4th.

Fifth race continued the excitement with a further stiffening breeze keeping the speed up. A few mobile hazards steamed down the course in fine Sunday driving style, needing a few unwanted gybes to avoid them. Team Rooster claimed another win over Enigma and Tempting Fate. Further down the fleet the excitement took its toll with four retiring. 

Last race and Enigma went over on the second time around the leeward mark, after Katie slipped and did a triple Salco over the wing ! The embarrassed fish had a lesson in Anglo Saxon, which we were spared through the bubbles. and the fleet laughter ! Yes, we were just close enough to see it.

A tight finish put Team Essex in the first 6 places with Team Rooster, Tempting Fate and Team RWO squeezing in on the action. And mid fleet it was action all the way with a very close finish between Team Lewis who just squeezed over the line ahead of us, our having taken 3 places out of Team Price, our Am's in 820 and our club rivals in 760, all on the last beat !! Who says you have to be at the front to enjoy this game ?

Overall honours went to the Keam-Georges in Enigma Vehicle Systems, followed by Jonny and Bugsy in Neil Pryde and Mike Lillywhite / Andy Gould 3rd in Team Rooster.

814 and 820 won the RWO sponsored Pro-Am, thanks to our Am partners in 820 beating us by having the good sense to ignore any pearls of wisdom we may have had. Fun prizes went to a returning Wyndham Lewis, we won't embarrass him with why; and to Katie for educating the fish !

A closing thanks to Weston SC for another excellent weekend, admirably meeting the challenge of accommodating 6 Classes simultaneously.

And did I mention we beat our club rivals in an event for the first time ??


Full Results Here....


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