Saturday, May 3, 2014

George Friday success - old and new

The first night of the George's new Friday dinghy races was a great success! Piggybacking on the long success of the joint club Friday evening Junior sailing, the new series runs through May and June for RS200/400 fleets and Laser full-rig.

Combined with a post-race BBQ the series is a great social and competitive event. And on the water the competition was fierce!  Two races with quick two lap windward-leeward courses on a tight start line gave everyone a great evening as the sun set over the city.

In the Laser fleet we had two extremes. The fleet included everyone from the old (well, yes, ehem) champions like Chris Arrowsmith across to current members of the youth team like Patrick Cahill. Extremes all mixed on the course together, along with several who haven't raced Lasers for a while but who were drawn out by the social aspect of the races.

The RS fleets had a variety of participants too, with Stephen Craig, the Hinksons and multi-class sailor Richard Tate leading the way ahead of a solid Friday fleet.

This reporter mostly paid attention to the Laser races, but the RS200s dominated the RS battles. Stephen Craig led the results of the evening with the Hinksons close behind as the races ended tight and close, aided by some on-the-water coaching. Tate was best of the 400s.

Upwind the left generally paid, but the real interest was downwind with the light breeze demanding wide angles and the increasing tide making that choice even more critical than normal.

In the Laser fleets we saw titanic battles between the old and the young. In Race 1 Hugh Sheehy, normally in the OK Dinghy, just failed to hold off Cahill's downwind speed on the run in to the finish despite leading around the last mark.  Niall Sheehy, in another Laser and sailing in his first dinghy race for a LONG time, epitomized the spirit of the evening. Trailing the leaders, but he kept chasing and stayed surprisingly close to the lead boats around the whole course. Not half bad!

In Race 2 Chris Arrowsmith went one better than Sheehy had in Race 1 and defended the honor of the old guard in the best way. After a tightly contested start he and Cahill fought around the course in a tight 1-1 battle -  with the rest of the fleet swapping places slightly behind.

But up front Arrowsmith took the lead at the last windward mark and then held Cahill off all the way to the finish. Cahill took the evening over the two races, though not by much. But the old guard really do need to learn those downwind techniques that were on show!

All fleets adjourned to the George for a burger and a beer on the patio in the setting sun. Glorious. At least until the evening cooled and the warm bar beckoned!


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