Sunday 4th January 2015 must have seen one of the first open meetings for the new 2015 calendar. The venue Blackwater Sailing Club’s practice lake at Heybridge, Essex, was shrouded in fog, this together with the icy roads, did not put off 22 competitors who gathered for the days racing, including skippers from the Isle of Wight and Eastbourne
Race Officer George Beacroft set a triangle and sausage course with a start line just off the bank close to the cabin. Despite the fog there was a very sailable light westerly breeze.
The fleet was separated into A and B heats making 13 boats competing over the course, that remained throughout the day with only minor adjustments involving the change of windward mark and consequent start line angle.
After the first two seeding races it became apparent that there was going to be some close racing, the early leaders being Colin Goodman and Graham Bartholomew, with Phil Playle, Mark Dennis, Trevor Binks and Malcolm Harris all challenging. However, it soon became apparent that Colin Goodman was going to be the skipper to beat with the rest vying for second and third. After 5 races Colin was 6 points clear of Phil and Mark, with Graham falling back to fourth place.
Lunchtime was embellished with the now traditional and very welcome addition of hot mulled wine and mince pies very kindly provide by Cathy Beacroft, thanks very much Cathy, much appreciated. The hot mulled wine was really welcome on a day that saw the temperature not go much above freezing point.
After lunch, the day continued with Colin taking two more race wins, but having a minor scare in race 7 which did not have too much of an effect as this was one of his two discards. Phil and Mark continued to vie for second and third place, both having a relatively poor race 6 with Phil eventually managing to get the better of Mark.
Second place was taken by Phil Playle sailing his Vision and third was Mark Dennis sailing a BritPop.
Whilst there were some protests, these were all settled on the water and thanks to all skippers for adhering to the RYA Racing Charter. Also, thanks to George Beacroft and his race team for a good days racing.
Report and photos courtesy of John Richmond.