In gusty conditions blustering in from the South, 12 skippers made it to the last race in the 2018 medal series. The conditions were as much a test of the wee boats construction and maintenance, as the skipper’s ability to cope with the warm but breezy flurries. Derek Lane was the first to withdraw from the practice race followed shortly after by Alan Smedley in the first of 16 heats. Competition was cut throat but in most cases fair, considering the conditions. With the wind at the competitor’s backs it had been necessary to place the windward mark close to the club staging, and with a dry summer having depleted the water level, there was very little consistency in the wind strength or direction, as it meandered off the shore. It was never that much of a surprise to find a model’s starboard tack, rapidly turn to a port give way boat, sensibly treated in the majority of cases, as unavoidable. Broad reaches were a hoot with Nips regularly revealing their bottoms. Frustrated skippers found that no amount of stick twiddling corrected the situation; you just had to wait 10 seconds for the gust to blow through. Dave Pace made a valiant effort, but his model found the worsening wind strength too much and he too retired before lunch. The most spectacular of failures must have been when Keith Bell’s number 21 failed to respond to its handlers commands. Once shepherded back by EPSC’s r/c buoy boat a surprised Keith found on inspection that the clunking noise within was caused by detached servo mounting bearers. As the day progressed the wind strengthened but the somewhat grey start transformed into a sunny afternoon. There had been a 25% attrition rate and it is a credit to the design, that eight of these little yachts survived the autumn onslaught.
The prizes were presented by EPSC’s commodore Rob Bell for 1st 2nd and 3rd places in the days event, with Peter Shepherd awarding the trophy for the overall winner of the series to a delighted John Burgoine.
Many thanks to Tim Leese, for ably acting as scorer for the day and to Colin’s wife for baking a most delicious fruit cake; quickly devoured by hungry helmsmen during our clubhouse breaks. Every spreadsheet tells a story and as can be seen from the results sheet, the smart sailors buoyed themselves to the top of the columns. An exciting ending indeed, to an enjoyable seasons sailing.