UK 18ft Skiff Nationals, Day 2 - Come Rain Come Shine
Thursday 01 September 2011 - By Ben Clothier
Sunday 28th August - Sandbanks, Poole
All eight skiffs were greeted with a stunning morning at Sandbanks. Sunny, moderate conditions, with breeze from the west enabled the Jon Gorringe and his Parkstone Yacht Club race management team to move the course close into the shore to give spectators a better view of the racing. The lighter conditions, resulted in a unanimous decision for big rigs which teams had given a serious shakedown in the heavy weather sailing yesterday.
The start was committee boat biased with Pica winning the start and Investec to leeward. At the top mark it was Pica rounding first, closely followed by Investec, then HPF who were rolled by Hydesails whilst hoisting. Investec worked hard to gain advantage on Pica but although close weren’t able to break through into the lead. Pica were finding their form in the lightening conditions. Positions were unchanged for the remainder of the race. Pica 1st, Investec 2nd, hydesails 3rd and Carsington 4th.
Pica lead to top mark, ahead of Investec then Hydesails and Carsington. Darkening clouds on the horizon finally brought the squall they threaten, breezing up to top end of the big rig conditions. Downwind Pica and Investec got caught under the gate layline due to the increase in pressure and the change in direction. Both boats 2 sail reached in to the gate, Investec went for a 2 sail gybe, but left the helm, Mason Woodworth, behind in the process. The drama continued at the front of the fleet when, at the same time due to the conditions, Pica opted for a round turn and capsized in the process allowing Hyde Sails into the lead. Unbelievably their tackline got jammed out forcing a Hydesails to also capsize, further handing on the lead, but this time to Carsington. Pica recovered quickly and started hauling in Carsington who were, as best they could, making like the proverbial ferret. Positions ending up with Pica 1st, Carsington 2nd, Investec 3rd and Hydesails 4th .
After the rainsquall and course change the racing got back under way in light conditions. Pica went for the Pin with KKT as a match race start ensued for the favoured end of the line. The left hand side proved the favoured side finding Pica in lead by the windward mark followed by Investec, Carsington and KKT. Due to the shift it became a procession downwind, tight reaching with spinnakers into the gate, KKT capsized allowing HPF and Hydesails into 4th and 5th. By the leeward mark Investec performed a great last minute drop to take the lead up the beat. The leading boats split tacks and as they came together Pica rolled Investec despite Investec’s valiant attempt at a leebow tack. On the second downwind Pica lead Investec, then Carsington, HPF, followed by Hydesails. Hydesails finally pulled through HPF moving into 4th. In a last push Hyde’s caught and overtook Carsington up the final beat, however Carsington dug deep, picking good shifts downwind to retake the 3rd by the finish. Hydesails 4th with HPF 5th.
After racing the Watersport Academy hosted a fantastic BBQ overlooking the beach with skiff sized sundowners and food. Extended visitors and guests doubled the number of people in the teams and included friends andfamily as well as some well known personalities on the international circuit, John McKenna and Andy Budgen. A good time was had by all into the small hours.