2015 Tasar Nationals 18th-20th Sept.
A beautiful blue sky and bright warm sunshine greeted the sailors on the first day of the 2015 UK Nationals at Felpham SC. With some known apologies in advance the seventeen boats signed on were a mixed fleet of experts and novices. Boat parking on the green by the clubhouse provided easy access to the coffee and bacon butties. Following the briefing from RO Guy Mayger with fingers crossed the wind was expected to build.
The tide was high and the waves on launching meant several boats were filled with a shower of shredded seaweed. Plenty of warm up action for the crews bailing out dirty dishwater and cabbage. The RO set a P course for the gentle easterly breeze and first race got underway. For about five seconds. At which point the RO abandoned it as the wind was rapidly falling to nothing and he thought it would drop off and then build again from the South West. Sure enough after half an hour of waiting and a course reset, we started again pointing the other way. The steady light breeze resulted in the usual suspects dashing to the front and the main fleet huddled in a bunch like schoolboys chasing a football. The loose seaweed was still getting its revenge, clinging to dagger boards and rudders, requiring a board lift and grope over the transom every lap. Race two went pretty much the same way and it was good to see the fleet positions changing during the laps and finishing pretty close together rather than forming a procession. Landing was another trial of man versus waves and was solved by a shore team picking the boats from the surf and carrying them up to the trolleys. Dare I say more fun than the sailing ? No of course not. Evening entertainment from a local duo singing live with muted England V Fiji rugby on the TV. Bargain price home made steak pie and mash for supper at the club, washed down with Doombar on pump at the bar.
Saturday dawned with even less wind and a warm steady sunshine burning off the sea mist. The eleven O 'clock start was delayed slightly while the wind got its act together to blow from the East again. Three races today on a P course and the first started without yesterdays rapid abandonment. By the second lap, on the reach in from the wing mark the fleet was still very much in a bunch and people started to notice a large black cloud building in the South West. The broad reach was becoming a bit tighter by the second. As the leaders hit the start line point to go into the run for the leaward mark the wind had swung 180 degrees and the whole fleet were now tacking to get to a point which was previously a run. The RO took a very sensible look at the fleet positions and noted that no significant position changes had taken place. So the race continued, on the same course with reversed wind direction finishing with no one suggesting foul play. The black cloud stayed hovering somewhere over the Isle of Wight and the wind stayed consistent for the second race. By the third race our friendly cloud was still in place but the tide was moving faster against the wind and building a difficult chop on the water. Not good if you are a lake sailor and the results shifted in favour of the more experienced sea teams. Landing easy today with the tide out onto the flat part of the beach and a nice trolley pull up the concrete slipway. After the Tasar UK AGM, the evening at the clubhouse continued with a home cooked curry meal (Thank you kitchen team ) and a non nautical (whew) quiz for all, characteristically hosted by Bob of Felpham SC.
Ample time for more Doombar on pump at the bar.
Sunday and another windless start to the day. What is it with the coast when its warm and sunny that the wind stops ? Official start at eleven was postponed for an hour and the sailors stood on the beach and chatted about settings until the wind started up again from the SouthWest. Today the fleet voted for the triangle sausage course. All that time on the beach discussing settings was starting to pay off and the main fleet stayed close together with many changes of place on each beat. People basically chose to go right toward the shore or left and out to sea. I think the shore had more favourable tide and the sea had more wind. Result was you could say goodbye to your near competitors and then meet them again at the windward mark with no real clue who was going to get there first. Running tight for time on race three, after a general recall on the start, the RO went for the black flag to ensure a good departure. Only one boat went over the line and in for an early shower, while the last race was safely away. But sadly, I cant report on that as I wasn't there ( Sorry Sue ).
Many thanks to Mandy at Signal Locker for donating spot prizes which the RO and organisers awarded to worthy participants for special performances. The prize winners and race result details are
and the top positions were taken by Steve and Polly in third place, Guests David and Fiona Sayce in second and Malcolm and Fiona Davies in first Overall.
Thanks from us all to the hosts at Felpham SC. A great event run very professionally.
For a different slant on things, here is the race officers perspective...
With wind arrows pointing in all directions the Windguru forecast looked more like a drunken night out with Robin Hood than a classic South coast sailing venue! The increasing high pressure would give early morning gradient winds from the North, but with sun forecast for Saturday and Sunday there was optimism that a sea breeze could develop.
As it happened the wind Gods clearly looked down on us very favourably for the three day Nationals at Felpham. With some patience (race team and competitors alike) and careful use of the AP flag, the fleet managed to get in all eight of their scheduled races in winds generally out of the SW vector in the 5-10 knot range with only a couple of recalled starts.
Race one was initially postponed with 3 seconds to go as a large rain cloud to the West moved in. Once settled, the downdraft (10-12 knots) from the cloud provided just enough time to squeeze in the days two scheduled races. Proving that age, and a long journey, are no barrier to success, Constantine and Jan from Holland took the win ahead of defending champions Malcolm and Fiona Davies with fleet guests David and Fiona Sayce taking third.
Race two saw the same top three competitors juggled around this time, Team Sayce first, the Davies’ second and our Dutch friends third. Also juggling were the race team as they adjusted the course throughout the race to accommodate the gradual veering breeze. Everyone headed back to the beach for a slightly lively landing before beers, live music and rugby were enjoyed by all.
Day two, and even with a late 180° shift as the sea breeze finally overcame the gradient in race three, the major contenders started to show themselves. The race officer held his nerve and allowed things to run their course noting that very few positions changed as a result of the shift.
After race three the wind held fairly consistent at 220° with 10° oscillations on top to keep crews thinking. Team Davies took the day with a 2, 1, 1, ahead of Team Sayce with a 1, 3, 2… clearly getting to grips with the conundrum of rotating masts, spanners, sliding shrouds and jib poles. Note this is all at the crews end of the boat so hats off to Fiona, clearly making David look good :-)
Quietly chipping away at the results behind the “Fiona’s" were Steve and Polly posting a very respectable 4, 2, 4 moving them into third overall.
Special mention too for Tessa and Nick Lancaster who, after Nick broke their “light” boat on Friday, nipped home to Hayling and returned with the “heavy” boat for races 4 and 5 posting a fifth and a third.
The final days racing, and the competitors and race team were greeted by glorious sunshine, but not a breathe of wind. The main questions of the morning seemed to be, “Guy, will there be a sea breeze today?” shortly followed by “Guy, what time will the sea breeze fill in?”. Guessing at somewhere between 12 noon and 13:00 the race team took to the water still planning on an 11:00 start, but with no breeze in sight the AP was raised. After an hours wait and with thoughts turning to ice cream and cakes the call was made for the fleet to hit the water as a very pleasant sea breeze filled in right on queue (12:30).
Race 6, and a great tussle ensued between teams Sayce and Davies. With a tight match race to the line, the girls dragged their respective other halves through a volley of tacks with the Sayce’s taking the win and John Lawton and Lizzie Bull posting a nice third from the closely packed fleet behind.
With the points looking tight race 7 would prove crucial. Steve and Polly got away to a good start and headed the fleet, but behind an incident involving Team Sayce saw them doing penalty turns. 7th after the first lap they tried hard, but could only get back to 4th by the finish with Team Davies slipping by Steve and Polly to record another win and with it retain their championship title.
Conditions for the last race were possibly the best of the weekend with the wind nudging 12 knots and the upwind shortened to tighten up the reaching legs. Past Felpham members Rod and Maureen Porteous finally nailed a start after the initial general recall (unlike Team Butterworth who were BDF and nailed the committee boat anchor line to boot!) and led for the first round. As time went by the usual suspects started to find their form with Team Sayce taking a nice win from Steve and Polly. Team Davies came third having had a slightly worrying moment with their jib pole. I believe that it was Malcolm’s fault, at least according to Fiona.
In summary, a great three days racing.
Whitstable week 3rd-7th August
Two travelling Tasars visited Whitstable SC for a very enjoyable week by the seaside. Two races per day with a
rest on Wednesday, although there is optional evening club sailing to join in with. Plenty of local boats.
I counted 17 in the boat park in positions which suggest they are regularly used.
Mainly windy, Tessa and Nick suffered a broken gooseneck on day 1 in the strong winds. Locals Julie and Mike came up with a replacement, but day 2 was even windier and abandoned. Day 3 still windy but final day was more manageable.
Stephen Nation and Yvonne Parrott were the winners with the Lancasters 2nd and Butterworths 3rd. Thanks to WYC for an enjoyable week.