reported and pictures by geoff raygada
Saturday 8th July saw the Wee Nip challenge move on to Furzeton Lake , hosted by the two Islands RYC in what started off in perfect sailing conditions. As predicted, sun hats and shorts were to be the preferred attire, with the morning starting in clear blue skies with a lovely warm sun, which was to last all day. Just after 9:00 when we were looking to set a course, the wind was just as we had ordered it, a nice fresh breeze blowing across the lake from a North to North westerly direction, giving plenty of opportunities to set a decent course without resorting to shifting buoys around.By 10:00 am 11 skippers plus Mike Ewart, who had kindly offered to be race officer were ready for the off, but it was obvious to all that the initially perfect breeze had started to diminish somewhat.An initial port rounding triangle / sausage course, out into the middle of the lake was set and a practice race was run, which lasted around ten minutes.The wind was , as usual swinging a bit, so it was possible to make good gains or alternatively loose out heavily, but on the whole, the course seemed about right.After a couple of races of this course, with an ever decreasing breeze, Mike was forced to shorten the course, missing off the sausage portion.Although the length was now much better, it was felt that a slightly shorter course, which still included two upwind legs would be preferable, to allow for more tactical sailing. A slightly altered course was set, which more or less continued all day, with a minor shift of the windward mark, as the wind shifted in the afternoon.Wind , or lack of it featured all day, there being times that there was ample breeze for it only to drop as soon as the starter was powered up or as on several occasions to hold for most of the race , only to die as the fleet reached the windward buoy, leaving boats with no steerage to drift into each other and/ or the buoy. Even more annoying it dropped just after the leading pack rounded the weather mark, thus completely splitting the fleet into two.Despite the fickle wind, we had managed to run eight races by lunch time. Sadly at this time John Simmonds, who already had three wins under his belt, had to leave us for due to family commitments.As the afternoon progressed it was apparent that the leading pack of John Burgoine (Birmingham MYC ), Keith Coxon (Two Islands RYC) , Peter Shepherd (Abington Park MYC) and Geoff Raygada (Two Islands RYC) were beginning to ease ahead but it was John Burgoine ,adding to his morning’s excellent results to become the eventual winner. Always the bridesmaid but rarely the bride, saw Keith Coxon a very worthy runner up, with a very consistent set of results.A very close battle between Peter Shepherd and Geoff Raygada, was eventually settled in Geoff’s favor although an early non finish, after a collision turned Peter’s radio off may have altered the results.Keith Bell ( Abington Park ) was never far behind to just miss out on the podium.