The forecasts for this the first day of the Championship were not looking very hopeful, although with bright sun forecast for most of the day, there was a good chance of a light sea breeze forming. There were some short lived breeze from the right direction early on, but it was very short lived. We did however, manage to start soon after 10:00 after a short briefing from Race Officer Martin Roberts. The initial breeze did not last and the first race was one where there was breeze, but plenty of holes and changes in direction and two laps of the lake took 20 minutes to complete, with Roger Errington taking the first race win from Nigel Barrow and Roger Crates. Nigel then strung a series of three wins before the first break for “coffee” with homemade biscuits courtesy of Jocelyn Watkinson. There were good performances in these initial races from Graham Whalley, Roger C, Peter Baldwin, Alan Watkinson and Simon Robinson.
Suitably fortified after the break, Peter Baldwin strung three race wins together to Nigel’s single one with the podium filled variously with Nigel, Simon, Bill Culshaw, David Adam, Peter and Neil Davies. We then had a lunch break after 8 races, with Nigel leading on 8 points, Peter second on 12 and Roger Crates third on 25. The sea breeze had now formed reasonably well, although there was still the opportunity to get in a hole or on the wrong side of a shift, with some opportunities to therefore make up (or lose) places.
We then continued the theme of aher 4 race block before a drink break. Race wins were gained by Peter (2), Alan and Nigel, with the podium places shared between Roger E, Peter, Roger C, Bill, Simon, Graham and Nigel. The wind was starting to get more variable in both strength and direction as some cloud cover probably affected the sea breeze and allowed the gradient to have more influence. The top three remained as at lunch time, with Nigel still leading on 18 points, Peter second on 23 and Roger C a further 15 points behind.
Martin advised everyone that we would finish after 16 races and so the final 4 races began with the breeze more variable again, resulting in some difficult decisions for everyone on where to start. Nigel had the best of the final session, with three wins and a clean sweep only spoilt by Roger C who came from behind and sailing through his lee side after the last gate. To be fair, this was anyones race from the leading bnch of 4 with the breeze filling in from the rear, before disappearing altogether as the leaders finished, vindicating the decision to finish on 16 races. Once again, the same names figured in the podium positions, with no one person dominating.
So at the end of Day 1, Nigel leads on 20 points, now 8 points clear of Peter with Roger C a further 20 points adrift. All still to play for tomorrow on day 2 when we will hopefully complete a further 16 races in the available time. A cloudy day is forecast with a light SE breeze of 6-7mph, so the course is likely to be rotated by 180 degrees, giving a further test for everyone to choose the right way around a new course.
Thanks must go to Martin Roberts assisted by Neil Westbrook and Dave Williams (who also acted as photographer) for running the racing and Bernie for manning the galley all day.
More photos from Dave will be added to a Flikr Album on Monday when time allows.