The first RS Feva Fat Face Series event of the year at Midland Sailing Club took place on Sunday
Blue skies and solid westerly breeze blowing the length of Edgbaston Reservoir greeted competitors to the first RS Feva Fat Face Series event of the year at Midland Sailing Club that was also sponsored by Team Purple.
In the first race young brothers Richard and Alex Craddock – both more used to crewing in Enterprises – led the fleet for the first lap until a gust sent them swimming, letting former Merlin helmsman Mike Burke and Roger Pass through in to the lead. John Hackett and Ellie O’Connell – also young crews, but from the Merlin fleet – hit the front on the next beat as Burke and Pass had the most spectacular capsize of the day. After a swift recovery, they swapped the lead several times, until finding more consistent wind on the right side of the beat and consolidating their advantage over Hackett and O’Connell. Eddie Saunders and Chris Homer used their Merlin and 400 experiences to take advantage of the Craddocks’ misfortune at the leeward mark to take third place.
Hackett and O’Connell won the start of the second race and dominated the first beat. Burke and Pass stayed in the gusts downwind to squeeze into the lead before the leeward mark, but went swimming on the beat and dropped to fourth. Saunders and Homer closed the gap on Hackett and O’Connell, and these two boats opening up a big gap between them and the chasing pack, which they held to the finish.
Two points separated the first three boats at the lunch break. Race Officer Mike Anslow postponed the start of race three to allow a squall to pass through, and timed the warning signal to coincide with the sun coming out again.
The Craddock brothers and Hackett and O’Connell pulled out a lead by the first windward mark in race three, rounding the leeward mark together. The Craddocks failed to protect their advantage after an inside rounding of the leeward mark, finding themselves crossing Hackett and O’Connell’s transom as they approached the upwind gate. Craddocks had the advantage again at the windward mark, proving that they’d got the hang of how much kicker the Feva needs in stronger winds, but dropped back after a late spinnaker drop. Saunders and Homer got through, but Craddocks recovered to finish just in front of Dave Trott and Roger Pass.
Saunders and Homer dominated the start of race four, forcing Hackett and O’Connell to break away to find clear air. More wind up the right side of the beat enabled them to round first just ahead of Saunders and Homer. Hackett and O’Connell caught a gust at the windward mark that gave them a massive lead. The Craddock brothers used the same gust to get past Saunders and Homer, but gybed late and almost missed the downwind gate. Trott and Pass closed right up on those in front in another of the increasingly frequent and unpredictable gusts that heralded another squall that took out a quarter of the fleet. Race Officer Anslow shortened course and Saunders and Homer pushed Hackett and O’Connell over the line, leaving the rest of the fleet spread out behind.
With four races completed, the exhausted fleet was sent ashore and the decision taken to abandon the scheduled fifth race in view of the worsening conditions.
1st John Hackett and Ellie O’Connell (Midland SC) 5pts
2nd Eddie Saunders and Chris Homer (Midland SC) 9pts
3rd Mike Burke and Roger Pass (Midland SC) 14pts (tie broken by win in race 1)
4th Richard and Alex Craddock (Midland SC) 14pts
5th Dave Trott and Roger Pass (Midland SC) 18pts