With sailing events being cancelled all over the country due to the imminent arrival of hurricane Imogen, Burghfield’s Optimist Winter Open was always going to be a blustery affair. Regatta Fleet was called off the night before leaving the just the main fleet. 65 had pre-entered and 51 sailors made the trip to face the elements.
Plan A was for three 30 minute races before lunch and three more in the afternoon but with the warm front set to arrive at around lunchtime the Race Officer hinted in the briefing that squeezing one more in before lunch and then running for shelter might be the order of the day.
Race 1 started on time (there was a front coming after all) with a sustained 20 knots and gusts just over 30 knots. The fleet coped superbly with the conditions with a near perfect start and relatively few capsizes.
The course was an outer loop trapezoid with one beat on either side of Burghfield’s infamous islands.
Racing at the front of the fleet was close with Haydn Sewel triumphing over Ellen Main with James Foster coming in third.
The second race was a near repeat of the first: Good start, lots of wind and the same three sharing the honours but with Ellen taking line honours over Haydn this time. It was looking like a close event despite the conditions.
The third saw a bit more of a mix up at the front. Ellen managed her second bullet of the day but local sailor Joshua Thomas was in 2nd place with Finley Dickenson in 3rd.
Lunch time? Nah!
The Race Officer took the view that it was unlikely the fleet would make it out again in the afternoon so went for another race. This time it was shortened at the end of the 2nd beat making it a comfortable reach ashore for a group of very tired sailors.
A new face at the front this time: Nicklas Host-Verbraak took what turned out to be the last win of the day with Haydn and James in 2nd and 3rd.
Scored with one discard Ellen won the day with 1-1-2 ahead of Haydn’s 1-2-2. So close racing at the front but huge credit to everyone who even launched in conditions which were right at the top end of Dinghy sailing.
Big thanks to our sponsor Rooster® for some super prizes.
One to remember.