The Horizon event.
The events depicted in this report are based on actual races.
All the names in the report are real, however some of the incidents have been exaggerated or plain made up for dramatic purposes.
Prelude to the event and race
The Draycote event is the 3rd of a 5 event series.
The weather had been forecast as light from the North.
Team Draycote members had much discussion on how best to improve our chances of doing well in the event. These boiled down to;
Our Draycote club manager, Dave Rowe, had more sensible suggestions on the potential wind shifts near where the predicted windward mark was likely to be as there was potentially going to be a left shift. More on that later…
To ensure the maximum number of Draycote boats competing, Derek James and Ed Tuite-Dalton had a cunning plan.
As Ed is still recovering from his Hip Hop Op he was not competing and as he has two boats, these were used for Angus Cook from North Devon Yacht club (now an honorary team Draycote member) and also for Derek who used Hulls from 2023. Derek’s current boat was used by Pete Slater.
Of note, new Dart 15 association members Steven Prince was sailing Derek’s converted (class legal) Sting in his first event and Iain Taylor was also competing in his first event in 861, Soggy Moggy, a recent purchase from Andrew Hannah of Thorpe Bay.
10 travellers joined 6 home boats. Team Marconi turned up in force and it was good to see recently new travellers Lee Garton and Christophe Clarke visiting Draycote for the first time in the series. Iain Taylor had had a car malfunction so messaged us to say he would try for races 2 and 3.
We had the predicted weather of blue sky 5-10 mph wind and very bright sunshine.
The race officers Tim Case and Richard Cowell gave their briefing and as they have been regular ROs for the fleet and the fact Dart 15 sailors are a friendly bunch the questions were brief.
I had given a personal bit of advice to a couple of the coastal sailors regarding the tide at Draycote. I didn’t want them to be caught out. The tide is in at the moment but it can go out quickly…**
3 back to back races scheduled. Trapezoid course.
The line was set with the wind direction shifting about a bit. Committee boat looked like the best place to be. As the sun is quite low at this time of year it was quite difficult to see the pin!
The fleet got away without too much drama, Jason Clarke got away and reached the windward mark in 1st followed by home sailor and birthday boy Jeremy Franklin in second place. Jeremy had delayed getting to the line by a few seconds and got clean wind at the committee boat with Jenny Ball.
The course was quite large for the conditions so it took everyone a while to get up to mark 1 and around for one lap. This unfortunately gave Liam Thom plenty of time to moan to me about his luck and current position as he was un-accustomed to being down the fleet.
We swapped places a couple of times, which was good for my confidence on the first lap. However by Mark 4 he went over the top of me despite my best efforts to defend.
The fleet split left and right on the beat and on the second lap most went to the left on the downwind leg. I was tactically following all the action from behind for the best view and noticed Liam had gone right. He caught up with the leaders by the end of the downwind leg and was disappearing over the horizon. Unbelievable!
Previously at Mark 4 Jason had tacked straight away which had paid off, but on lap two this was a mistake and he let 4 boats past. Liam won with Jeremy 2nd and Jenny 3rd
Outrageous fortune for Liam or a combination of great downwind skill and tactics? Who knows?
Lee Garton had to be finished on the course as he got caught near to the shore in no wind , or had decided to have a picnic, and hadn’t moved for a while. He is to be commended for not giving up.
The wind had shifted at the end of the race so the course had to be shortened and start-line reset for Race 2.
The wind had shifted to the right and was dying off but with a new course everyone got away cleanly again. Jason led most of the way and is consistently up in the leading group nowadays.
Pete Slater was keeping his boat moving well by having the traveller out a little more and concentrating on the top tail tails.
At Mark 2 the order was Jason, Pete, Angus, then Liam. Pete and Angus Cook had a bit of gybe-off on the run.
Jason won with Pete 2nd, Liam 3rd and Angus 4th.
Further down the fleet Nigel James got his best position of 5th ahead of Jenny.
Lee Garton, Yvonne Pike, David Clarke and Steven Prince who finished up at the end of the fleet had some close battling on the last lap with it all coming to picking the right line at the very end.
The guy that rounded ahead of them all tacked shortly after the mark and had to pinch to get to the line, Steven Prince kept sailing on and then managed to get a slow sail to the line, with Iain Taylor tacking much later than Steve, he managed to get a much fuller sail to the line and just pinched ahead of Steve.
The boat that was ahead at the start of the leg was stalled just before the finish and took a further 5 mins to get over. [The name has been withheld to protect the innocent.]
The wind had picked up a little and most got away at the start okay. Ray Gall had a poor start and was 3rd from last over the line, for what was probably the most eventful race.
Liam had gone a long way to the left with a few others while some had tacked off to the right. He was first round the windward mark, having over stood a bit due to wind turning left and virtually reached to the mark. Derek James up at the front in 2nd place was just about to tack when Liam, using his Jedi mind tricks, called out and said “ come on Derek we can do this!” .
At which point the tide went out and the wind shifted 90 degrees leaving Derek stationary with the rest of the fleet approaching. How he laughed!
Most of the rest of the bunch approached and one of his “friends” observed out loud that he had made a chicane.
Jenny took the most sensible decision and went the long way round the mark, followed by Jan and a few others, around what was now five or six boats parked up at the mark. Ray Gall, because of his tactical delayed start was able to navigate around the rafted up boats at Mark 1.
Jeremy was approaching on starboard and with nowhere to go. He avoided a collision. Nigel James had to be fended off by Derek and the general melee allowed Liam to sail off into the distance followed by Jenny, Jason, Pete and Angus.
Because of the windshift it became a fetch to mark 1 from 4 and from 1 to 2, so the order pretty much stayed the same. Liam had sailed over the horizon and was about 6 minutes ahead of the next boats.
Presentations were held in club later after all the travellers had packed up. In a particular order,.. Jeremys birthday cake and 6th place, 5th to new Draycote team member Angus Cook (NDYC), 4th to top placed Draycote sailor Pete Slater, 3rd to Jenny Ball, 2nd to Jason Clarke (who wishes he had not tacked off), and 1st to you know who.
All in all a very enjoyable day
** Severn Trent have been completing emergency extraction works on the South shore. This has had the spin off benefit to Draycote Sailing club that there is now a lot more hardstanding to offload and rig boats.
Report by Jan Elfring
Full Series Results available here