Saturday 31st August / Sunday 1st September
A small but select group of 13 GP14s gathered at Leigh on Sea SC for the Southern Area Championship races over the last weekend of the ‘real’ summer season. The weather while not a hot as the previous Bank Holiday weekend at least promised some good winds for the racing. Eleven visitors joined two local boats to wait for the tide to cover the mudflats and float the committee boat. While waiting the Leigh hospitality was on form with tea, coffee and bacon rolls from the galley consumed while boats were rigged and assembled on the beach.
Once the tide had covered the mud the fleet launched and with a fairly steady WSW force 4 with a few gusts of force 5 a large number of boats managed to cross the line before the start, result was a general recall. The second attempt under code flag I was a success. James Goodfellow in 14253 with Richard Ham 14166 close behind lead the fleet around the trapezoid course, although the wind seemed to be steady there was a large variation in the middle of the beat which lead to some place changing in mid fleet. James and Richard maintained their 1st and 2nd positions at the gun and Maciek (Magic) Matyjaszczuk in 13870 took 3rd place. The second race saw a clean start with the wind still blowing at F4, James lead the fleet at the first mark. The weather then started to have a say in the outcome, as the temperature rose the sea breeze clashed with the gradient wind and on the second round the wind had dropped to a feeble F1 / 2 with the fleet drifting on the tide. The beat became a real test of light weather skills, the Race Officer decided that in the interests of finishing the race within the time limit he would finish the race at the windward mark. The last few metres into the mark saw some position changes with Nick Hann in 13003 taking 2nd place in front of Richard Ham and Helen Allen 13421.
The club had tea cakes and a BBQ and an evening social with folk music, which resulted in a few sore heads on Sunday morning. But as we had to wait for the tide there was plenty of time for morning tea, coffee and bacon rolls from the galley.
The wind had shifted a few points round to due west and was still blowing at F4 with a few F5 gusts. The start for race 3 with the tide under the fleet resulted in the second general recall of the weekend and a second I flag start. James continued his leading ways by leading all three rounds, with Magic following in second, Richard Ham crossed the line to silence having been judged OCS at the start, allowing Nick Hann to finish third. For race 4 the race team rejigged the course as the wind was now WNW, James lead the early rounds but was harried by Andy Wardsworth 14014 who having recovered his rudder lost during a capsize in race 3 was determined to finish this race in the points. At the finish James crossed first with Richard Hamm moving into second in front of Andy.
After racing the fleet enjoyed more tea cakes and BBQ before the prize giving.
Photos R Knight