This reschedule of Event #1 in the ND Winter Series for the IOM was after Ice stopped play in December. Looking at the forecast for today might have put off a few from attending, but we had 13 boats on the start line for Race 1 in a light 4 or 5 knot breeze almost straight down the lake. There was a slight delay to proceedings whilst Neil moved marks around after a 180 degree wind-shift occurred whilst we were about to start the briefing as a sea breeze formed early. The breeze held for most of the day, with it strengthening after lunch and then dying back as the rain arrived for the last few races.
Darin Ballington (Pikanto) set the early pace with a win in Race 1, followed in Race 2 by a win for Bill Culshaw (Britpop!). Next to gain a win was Graham Elliott (Fractel) in Race 3 and then James Hadden (Britpop!) had his first win in Race 4. Next to see the front was Brad Gibson sailing his pimped TS2 with wins in both races 5 & 6, followed by another for Bill in Race 7, when we had a break for an early lunch. So 7 races and 5 different winners with 4 different designs. Key to getting a good result was choosing the right place to start and staying in the pressure. At the break James was leading by one point from Brad, with Bill 10 points behind them. In the mix at this point and close behind Bill was Rob Walsh sailing a Lintel, with a number of results in the top 3.
After a short break for lunch, another 5 races were sailed in an increasing WNW breeze and some sun. Brad took race 8 followed by another win for Darin in race 9. After a string of good results, James picked up another win in race 10, before Rob picked up his first win in race 11. Obviously eager to get to a drink at the next break, Brad gained the win in Race 12. This left the top three after 12 races as James, followed by Brad and Rob.
After a quick refreshment break (with cake as well, thanks to Judith), we had another 4 races to reach the magic 16 and a third discard. John Tushingham (Vision) finally got his just reward with the first win after a number of top three places earlier. Bill then took his third win in race 14, with James and Brad coming back to win races 15 and 16.
So the top 4 and in the prizes were in first, our long distance traveller James Hadden, Brad Gibson second, Rob Walsh, third and John Tushingham fourth. Sixteen races, 7 different winners with 6 different designs! Just shows that you do not need the latest design to do well even in light airs, although being an ex World Champion does give you a slight edge!Many thanks to our race team of Dave Williams and Neil Westbrook who kept things moving at a good pace all day, with Bernie and Jack keeping us fed and watered in the galley. Thanks also to Dave for the photos.
All photos can be found in our Flikr Album here