Post date: Jul 18, 2016 10:43:18 AM

After a very unseasonal weekend in Wexford the weather redeemed itself this past Tuesday evening (at least in part) with a more genteel 8-12 knots of breeze from the WNW, as forecast by XCWeather under partially grey skies but with some evening sunshine. For the early part of the evening it was comfortable shirt-sleeve weather but once the grey cloud obscured the sun there was a distinct drop in temperature. The fleet too redeemed itself with a turnout of five boats, relative to the three boats that completed two very “hairy but exhilarating” races in Wexford on Sunday, and gave itself some very competitive racing again. A holidaying crew cost the fleet one regular, but the return of another crew saw a second all-lady combination on the water.

After a false start in the dinghy park when I thought I was racing, but wasn’t, I returned to the office to finish off a piece of work and returned to the waterfront after the start and early part of the first race. Sailing course X1, which requires three roundings of the weather mark and a downwind finish, the fleet was being led by Conor & James Clancy (14807). Distinguished by their blue spinnaker, the other four boats each having a red one, they were easy to follow and were in a comfortable 1st place. The next three boats were Phil Lawton & Stephen Oram (15061), Cariosa Power & Marie Barry (14854) and Frank Miller & Ed Butler (14713), followed by Mary Chambers & Brenda McGuire (14865).

It seems that Miller & Butler had gone for the pin and an inshore approach to the weather mark and for the second week in a row Miller found that his pioneering spirit wasn’t rewarded. This time, with High Water at 18:51 relative to a 19:03 start, one might have thought that going inside, out of a just turned tide, would be the way to go. The wind gods and their shifts put paid to that logic. However, Miller and Butler edged their way back into the race and by the last weather mark they were in close company with Power and Lawton. Team Clancy had taken a more inshore route to the finish, but what I thought was Lawton & Oram gybing immediately at the weather mark to take the chasing group offshore was in fact Miller & Butler, rounding third behind Power & Barry with Lawton & Oram following suit.

With these three sailing away from me, even under binoculars it was difficult to follow their relative positions so again, what I thought was a 2nd place finish for Power & Barry turned out to be a third behind Miller & Butler.

Under what was now a blanket of grey cloud, the second race of the evening commenced with the course set as W2, two laps of a Windward/Leeward with an upwind finish to a committee boat that would relocate to a position in the lee of the East Pier. Miller & Butler went inshore again, followed soon afterwards by Chambers & McGuire. The other three went offshore.

It quickly became apparent that Lawton & Oram had found their groove and even by the first weather mark they were comfortably ahead. Thereafter the order was Clancy, Power, Miller and Chambers. Nothing changed down the off-wind leg and up the next beat Lawton went inshore, while the others went offshore to varying degrees. Lawton & Oram stretched their lead throughout the race with a lead of over two minutes at the finish (2:05). At the 2nd rounding of the weather mark, even from my vantage point, Clancy seemed to hit the mark and that view appeared to be vindicated when he took turns immediately afterwards. However, it didn’t cost him any places.

Up the last beat, with Lawton/Oram long gone, Power and Barry worked the inshore half of the beat relative to the others who were further offshore. Their adventurism was rewarded when on crossing the course, offshore to inshore, Clancy found himself astern of the ladies and in third place.

At the post mortem, in the DMYC after racing, the participants were delighted to find themselves in the company of the Moodys – Ann, Will and Matthew – over in Dublin for a few days.