Dragon South Coast Championships – 7th to 8th September
Sadly, gone are the days when 40 plus boats would cross the start line for the South Coasts; but what we lacked in quantity we made up for in quality. With only seven entries we merged our event with a standard Windward/Leeward weekend, which kept costs down and reduced the stress on our always-busy Solent race teams. The whole event went very smoothly mainly due to the marvellous race management from the Royal London Yacht Club with Gill Smith as PRO. I would like to thank Gill and her team for a marvellous weekend’s racing!
This weekend we had Northerlies forecast and North winds are notoriously unstable; especially compared with our normal classic South-Westerlies. But we had six very close and competitive races. Three races were scheduled for each day, with length approximately one hour per race. Race one was all clear on the start but after 3 minutes of the first beat Aimee saw some pressure on the right and was a couple of hundred yards ahead (how do they do that?) and one the first race easily; and I was getting a sense of déjà vu. But, don’t forget it was a Northerly and anything can happen!
For the second race Furious started at the pin and just kept going left. At the top mark Furious had at least a hundred yards lead, with the rest of the fleet closely bunched together behind. On the second beat Furious defied convention, didn’t cover and went hard left again, having lost a bit of their lead, had to fight hard to keep Ecstatic at bay.
The third race was a real Snakes and Ladders affair Bertie went hard right on the second beat (don’t forget this was a Northerly and the wind is, shall we say, slightly unstable) to open a useful lead which took her home to victory.
Gill Smith suggested that, as we had a poor forecast for the next day, we should go into race four straight away; which turned out be a good suggestion in the end. Badger sticking to centre right on the second beat managed to be the fourth winner of the day. Badger had been in the top three in every race, unlike the rest of the fleet, so finished the day with a comfortable lead. The fleet headed home for a delicious casual supper at the Royal London, after a very challenging but enjoyable day racing.
Sunday started with a steady nine knots from the NNW which was oscillating significantly. Once again Gill and her team miraculously managed to run the fifth race in a dying breeze and it was beginning to look like this was finish, With Badger winning the last race they had extended their lead, but it was still theoretically possible for Graham to win. After consultation with the competitors it was decided to wait an hour to see if the wind would stabilise for the last race.
Badger once gain one the last race, which was initiated just before the 12:30 agreed time limit and staked their justified claim to take home the Brigadier Henson Trophy having sailed a consistent series in tricky conditions (and winning three races), well done to Tom Vernon and crew. Bertie were second overall, having beaten Aimee in the last race, to take home the Ratsey and Lapthorn half model. Aimee, finishing third overall, were still first Corinthian and took home the Oscar Cup. I’d like to thank Gill Smith once again, and her very competent race team, for a marvellous weekend racing in tricky conditions.
- Badger GBR 810
- Bertie GBR 763
- Aimee GBR 782 + 1st Corinthian
- Ecstatic GBR 682
- Furious GBR 777
- Fanfare GBR 754
- Glaurung GBR 768
Owen Pay, Dragon Solent Fleet Captain