DMBC IOM Winter Championship February Edition REPORT and results

DMBC IOM Winter Championship February Edition REPORT
It was a surprisingly pleasant morning on Dartmoor on the eve of Storm Ciara, with competitors met
with light winds, sunny skies and crisp air. We all knew that it wasn’t going to last, with the big
question being: “When will we be changing to B rigs and will we eventually have to go to C?”
The forecast has already claimed one casualty of the nine competitors as Ralph Weller (85) had
believed the BBC and left his A rig at home… was the start of difficult day for Ralph, who was to
keep smiling through a succession of misfortunes as the day progressed.
It was great to see Richard Wills gamely rowing around the lake setting a course with multiple
options, which would prove necessary as the wind was to change constantly throughout the day.
Act 1 (races 1-4) – A Rigs
Racing commenced with the first group of four races in reasonably light winds, with some gnarly
little gusts teasing us with what was to come. Stave Watts (52) revelled in the conditions, posting
three good wins. Graeme Harris (41) took a win in the second race, whilst Morley Varker (167) and
Dave Morris (37) were both in the action close to the front. Significantly, the last action of Act 1 was
a collision between Dave and Ralph, which resulted in Ralph’s B rig being put out of action just as
conditions were right for it! Dane O’Driscoll (195) had been battling with control difficulties all
session, but seemed unable to overcome intermittent glitching and an uncooperative winch.
By the time four races were up, it was evident that the wind was arriving as skies clouded over and it
was time for Act 2 – B Rigs.
Tea Break was spent switching rigs down (to C for Ralph) as Richard gamely totally re-orientated the
Act 2 (races 5-8) – B Rigs
It was immediately clear that there had been a shift in performance of the boats under reduced rigs.
Graham had bags of speed downwind and was able claim three straight wins in races five to seven.
Only in race eight was Steve able to make a comeback to make it four wins apiece.
At lunchtime Steve was just two points ahead due to a better number of second places.
Act 3 (races 9-12) –B Rigs just
Race nine commenced in yet more blustery conditions with wicked gusts of wind arriving at right
angles to the mean wind direction….Now Ralph’s frustrations could really begin as his small rig
frequently propelled him to the front at the first windward mark only to be swamped by the fleet
careering downwind….how he kept smiling I will never know.
Andrew Fulcher (56) was struggling as the bowsies on his rig refused to remain tight and David
Brooke (39) was struggling uncharacteristically. But it was Dain who rose to the top in Race nine,
taking his first win – the only helm to beat Steve and Graeme’s hold on the day .
In this act it was Graeme that was more consistent (7 pts) while Steve less so, but claiming two wins
(11 pts).
Act 4 (Races 13-16) – B rigs and all to play for!

DMBC IOM Winter Championship February Edition REPORT
With a lead of just one point and almost identical discards, the pressure was on Steve to hold his
lead over the final four races in increasingly difficult conditions.
He took first blood in race 13 while Graeme slipped to fourth before bouncing back with a win in
race 14. With two to go, one more win would be enough for Steve, while Graeme had to beat him in
both the final races. As it was, Steve won the start and held a narrow lead throughout the race to
win both the race and the day. Not to be outdone, Graeme finished the day with a final flourish,
winning the final race from Morley – who scored six second places without ever managing to be at
the front at the finish – results good enough to give him third overall, despite Barbara Varker (53)
cheekily pinching places from him all day.
So a day that will be remembered for a close finish, flukey conditions at the top mark and above all,
terrible luck for a smiling Ralph!
Thanks as always to the shore team, without whom all of this would not have happened. John, our
Race Officer and Richard, who with help from Graeme kept on top of the courses.
It was also good to see Tom on site, once again using his carpentry skills to improve our facilities and
final thanks to the members that smoothed out the approach road during the week.
Keith Simmons
Sailing Sec.