Dylan Fletcher and Rob Partridge win 29er class at last weekend's Holt Tide Ride at Hayling Island SC
The Holt Tide Ride at Hayling Island Sailing club attracted a strong fleet of 24 29ers last weekend. As usually the tide was ripping and provided a great challenge to the 9er fleet sailing over winner bank.
Saturday consisted of four races making up the ranking series. Everyone was expecting it to pay to go left into shallow water to get out of the tide but this was found not to be the case. Race 1 saw 7-8 knots with Sophie White and Catherine Alton taking first. The two gates downwind caught a lot of competitors out making tight and exciting racing.
White and Alton got a good start in race 2 and got the tactics right winning their second race of the weekend. The Team Holt pairing of Dylan Fletcher and Rob Partridge came in second, followed by Ed Chapman and Gemma McIntyre in third.
By the 3rd race most of the fleet had realised it was paying to play the shifts up the middle of the beat and this time the result was Fletcher and Partridge coming in first with Phil Walker and Matt Gotrel in second.
Again in the last race it paid to start on the starboard end of the line and get the consistent lift on starboard. Dylan and Rob started on top of the fleet on starboard and got the first shift, they then kept their lead for the entire race.
At the end of day 1 Phil Walker and Matt Gotrel were the leaders being the most consistent throughout the day. Fletcher and Partridge were in second on equal points with Sarah Martin and Nicola Groves in third. Mixed results after the first day’s racing showed how tight the racing was and everything was still to play for on Sunday.
For Sunday’s racing the fleet was split into two groups for the semi-finals with the top six boats from each race going through to the final race. The rest of the fleet sailed the repecharge race to decide their overall standings. After a postponement due to lack of wind the 9er racing took place to the north of Sandy Point. An 8 knot breeze and a strong incoming tide soon built up to 10-12knots for the finals in a slackening tide.
The semi-finals brought some new faces to the front of the fleet and pushed some back. The qualification series winners Walker and Gotrel didn’t make the top six in their semi-final race leaving the door open for someone else.
The final was by far the most exciting and close race; after the start Martin and Groves had to take a penalty after they tacked too close to Fletcher and Partridge. This put Martin and Groves to the back but they managed to gain some places back by the windward mark. David Hall and Mari Shepherd got the best start of the fleet and with good speed and tactics they led round the first windward mark. There were some more position changes downwind with some very tight racing and plenty of gybes to get through the two tight and closely placed downwind gates.
The top five were very close together rounding the windward mark for the second time, but with Dave and Mari still ahead, there were some big position changes downwind pushing Hall and Shepherd back to fourth, bringing White and Alton to the front to win the final race. This was followed by James Peters and Neil Jones who sailed an excellent race coming second just behind White and Alton, with Oscar McVie and John Mather in third. In fifth was Fletcher and Partridge.
Overall White and Alton were on equal points counting a sixth and a first with Fletcher and Partridge counting a second and fifth. However, the tiebreak system for the tide ride was highest position in the qualification which left Team Holt – Fletcher and Partridge, closely followed by White and Alton in second and Hall and Shepherd in third.
1st Dylan Fletcher/Rob Partridge
2nd Sophie White/Catherine Alton
3rd David Hall/ Shepherd
4th Sarah Martin/Nicola Groves
5th James Peters/Neale Jones
6th Ed Chapman/Gemma McIntyre