The first race weather conditions were what seems to be the ever-present light, flukie and incredibly unpredictable wind swirling around under grey skies above Conneries Lagoon. Yet these seemed to pose no problems to Nick and Ruth Marlow, who returned to the Lagoon after ~2 years away, to have a storming first start and to secure first mark honours in Race 1 rounding Buoy 9 to port. Maybe it was the fun they had as OOD1 and 2 on Wednesday 28th July, with similar winds but with bright sunshine that attracted them down, maybe it was the racers’ reports of the lack of week. Whichever it was, The Marlows, in their (having a) Lark and Kevin Milton, in his feisty Phantom, were continuously battling for first place on the water. Perhaps the sight of Kev’s flame red shorts was what finally counted, as he took line honours on the water.
Bob C (now known as Castor – see earlier race report!) was determined to hang on to their coattails in his sprightly SuperNova, whilst the Slower Handicapped boats enjoyed fighting it out for the lower placings amongst themselves. Roger Day must have bolted down whatever lunch he had scavenged from wherever as, for what seems to be a first time for a very long time, he failed to grace the podium! Or, was he concentrating too much on pouring himself an early G&T? He must have had his hands full of something because he didn’t even try to hoist his spinnaker.
Gary Crawthorn’s consistently delivered services as Race Results Recorder showed that Nick & Ruth returned to their normal spot at the head of the Leader Board, pushing Kevin back into second, with Bob Castor filling the remaining podium spot.
Whilst most retired to the Club balcony, some were seen to spend the interval enjoying rich pickings of the premium blackberries which had swollen and ripened on the many bushes around some of the forlorn abandoned boats in the compound.
In the Second race, the wind ‘filled in’ as the 1-minute gun sounded and unusually for this season remained fairly consistently throughout the race. Once again, despite the lack of on-the-water time recently, The Marlow’s timed their approach to perfection to secure a clear start, closely followed by Bob Castor and Kevin Milton. Again Mr Bigglesworth (The Marlow’s Lark) led the fleet around the first mark, with Bob and Kevin valiantly trying to prevent them walking away with Race 2 as easily as they had with Race 1. However, the challenging windward / leeward course, set by OODs Iona Reid and Peter Hampshire allowed The Marlows and Roger Day to really try and stretch their metaphoric sailing legs, by using their rarely deployed, multi-coloured spinnakers. The temptation proved too great and both boats went for it. Roger must have placed his, by now, ice cool G&T in a secure compartment, along with temporarily deploying his Auto-Pilot to release both hands to hoist his spinnaker to the higher points of his mast. He was shown how it should have been done by Ruth and Nick, who having a lark, even managed to successfully gybe theirs a couple of times on the leg from Buoy 3 to Buoy F. Meanwhile, Kevin Milton was also enjoying the firming breeze and focussed on maximising the speed from his steady steed as he broad reached away from the Lark on each of these legs.
The change of one Buoy in the course (substituting Buoy F for Buoy 7) for Race 2 was obviously too complicated for Malc Jones in his serene Solo (now re-named Hans), Malcolm Davidson in his cornflake coloured Comet and Roger Day in his Scavenger. They all chose to omit Buoy 1 and having rounded Buoy F aimed straight for the Gate. Malc obviously realised his error early and decided to call a day a day and retired (or was it the energy sapping beat the length of the lake that did for him?
Second time around, when challenged by the PRO, Malcolm realised his error and re-aligned his craft to make a B-line for Buoy 1. This change (or was it the call from Macolm?) led Roger to bear-away so dramatically that Malcolm was holding onto everything hoping Roger really would avoid him.
Whilst all this was going on Nick & Ruth continued to surf down the bow wave left by Kevin Milton, with Bob Castor hot on their heels. Once again, the Race Results Recorder revealed the marine mastery of the Marlows at the head of the fleet, justifying the hand squeeze and gentle kiss they shared on hearing the gun as they galloped through the gate for the final time.
It’s not every race day when you hear the OOD2 state: that was a great day!