IOM Winter Series 2023/4 #5 – 24/2/24

Another excellent days racing for the IOM class for Round 5 of this years Winter Series at Birkenhead.

11 skippers were on the line for the 12pm start that included 2013 World Champion Rob Walsh from Fleetwood.

With a faint Westerly arriving on cue, racing got underway with a slightly reduced course length to compact the fleet. Early races were tight with an often congested windward mark needing a careful approach and the occasional slice of luck to get through cleanly. Graham Elliott, Brad Gibson and Rob were the early front runners with the odd boat length seperation at the finish.

By the time Race 4 got underway the breeze had strengthened a little with streaky gusts offering plenty of opportunty to climb or fall up the beats and extend or be swallowed up on the runs. Martin Roberts, Graham Birkett, Bill Culshaw and Alan Bennett started showing form with a number of solid races splitting the early leading group.

At the halfway point a break was taken for refreshments, a re-trim and a course change to lengthen and add a spreader mark at the windward end of the course (thank you Martin).

It was great to have Guy Cowper IOM racing with us for the first time with his Lintel MMX and see the rapid improvement in his racing over the course of the day.

Alan Watkinson came out of the blocks strongly to lead the fleet up the first beat of Race 7 and enjoy mixing with the leading pack. The improvement was noticeable across the fleet with the distance from first to last narrowing in the stronger breeze.

Both Graham Elliott and Rob Walsh took race wins with some tight covering duels taking place on the final beats to the finish.

In the end after 12 races (2 Discards) it was Brad who took the day from Rob with Graham slipping out of contention in the latter races.

Thanks once again to Dave Williams for being RO with great assistance from Neil Westbrook today.  Photos courtesy of Victoria Gibson and Dave Williams.
  1. Brad Gibson           42   BG                     13pts
  2. Rob Walsh               25   Britpop           19pts
  3. Graham Elliott      09   Britpop           32pts
  4. Martin Roberts     22    Chimera         39pts
  5. Bill Culshaw           21    Britpop            46pts
  6. Alan Bennett       186    Mirage             47pts
  7. Alan Watkinson   23    Britpop            76pts
  8. John Berry              12    Viper                 77pts
  9. Charles Legg          40   K2                      82pts
  10. Graham Birkett   133    Widget            89pts
  11. Guy Cowper            16    Lintel MMX  95pts