With the entry list including no less than 5 past World Champions in either the IOM or other Radio Sailing classes, competition was always going to be strong at this years Strebor Open combined with Round 2 of the Northern District IOM Winter Championships. Coupled with a superb pre-entry of 26 boats, it was going to be a tough days sailing.
The weather forecast for wind was not encouraging for the week prior to the event, a South Westerly forecast, with a possibility of WSW at some point during sailing. At least the sun shone for most of the day, making it mild for this time of the year.
There was a short briefing by Martin Roberts to explain how we would race as one fleet, with typically 4 boats dropping out per race during the day. Any dropouts would be scored with average points from their best counting races. Racing then got underway promptly at 10:30 with a start at the clubhouse end, but unfortunately, the wind had swung more to the East just prior to the start and although the fleet got away cleanly, the course was swapped to a start from the far end for the remainder of races during the morning session. Graham Elliott had the strongest start in the first seven races completed before lunch, taking 3 wins with Rob Walsh picking up two and Martin Roberts and Alan Bennett one each. At the halfway stage, this left Graham Elliott on top, followed by Martin Roberts and Rob Walsh in that order.
After a short lunch break and a quick change around of the course (thanks Martin and Neil), once again starting at the clubhouse, a further seven races were completed. Five were sailed using the same dropout system and then the final two with just the 22 boats that were still able to compete. This session belonged to Rob Walsh, with three wins compared to two for Brad Gibson (sailing his “pimped” TS2) and one each to Martin Roberts and John Brierley. The final scores gave first place to Rob Walsh who retained the Strebor Trophy, second to Graham Elliott and third was Martin Roberts.
It was a tricky days sailing at Birkenhead with the wind in a less than favourable direction, with what seemed at times like a “Bermuda Triangle” in the centre of the lake. If you were unlucky to get stuck there you could find other boats sailing past to windward or leeward of you (or both at the same time!).Well done to everyone who sailed today (all 26 of you) – don’t feel too disheartened if you didn’t finish as high up as you thought you might, it was tricky for everyone including experienced club members, but there were some who always seemed to know the right way to go to find the wind.
Finally, thanks must go to the Race Team of Dave Williams, John Carlin, Neil Westbrook, George Bennett and Judith Baldwin for completing 14 races within less than 4 hours of racing. Also, we were also very grateful to Jocelyn and Chris in the galley serving hot drinks and free homemade cake and biscuits. All photos here are courtesy of John Beech. There are a further 193 photos taken by Malcolm Harvey on our Flikr account here