A total of 23 boats, including eight visitors did battle over a three-race series in air and sea temperatures more typical of Hawaii than Essex at the Dabchicks SC Byte open meeting on 28 July
The annual Dabchicks Sailing Club Byte class open took place on Saturday 28 July. A total of 23 boats, including eight visitors did battle over a three-race series in air and sea temperatures more typical of Hawaii than Essex. Dabchicks SC provided their usual excellent hospitality and organisation, on this occasion also allowing their younger members to take charge of the race management side.
Race one was held in a 5-8 knot breeze over the traditional Dabchicks course of triangles and sausages, with a reaching finish following the last leeward mark. Former local Barney Smith who was sailing a borrowed boat, and Michael Banks from the home club led the fleet from the start with Smith maintaining a small advantage to the finish. Another Dabchicks sailor, Caroline Reid, sailed a consistent race to finish third. Ian Ayres from Kingsmead had his best race of the day in fourth.
The wind increased for race two as the sea breeze filled in. Again, Smith and Banks popped out at the mark one in first and second, this time chased by the organiser of the meeting, Wendy Minns. Banks pushed hard and closed the gap to Smith throughout the race, rounding the last mark just a couple of metres behind.
Taking advantage of a gust on the final short reach to the finish Banks managed to overlap Smith to leeward on the line but just failed to take the race win. Minns consolidated her third place, with Ray Smith improving on his 17th place in race one to come home fourth. With Smith having already won the meeting and therefore taking a relaxed approach to the third race, Banks demonstrated why he is the current national champion by building a big lead in the dying breeze. Mike Tweddell from Cam SC port-tacked the fleet at the start and took a well-deserved second place with Smith pipping Minns for third.
1st Barney Smith (Wessex Exiles) 2pts
2nd Michael Banks (Dabchicks SC) 3pts
3rd Wendy Minns (Dabchicks SC) 7pts (1st Lady)
4th Ray Smith (Dabchicks SC) 9pts (1st Master)
5th Caroline Reid (Dabchicks SC) 10pts
6th Ian Ayres (Kingsmead SC) 10pts
Youngest Helmsman (10 years old)
Oliver Tweddell (Cam SC)