Matt Howard won last weekend's Finn Qualifier event at Warsash SC beating Tim Carver by just one point
A total of 19 Finns, shorty wetsuits, suntan cream and a balmy November weekend on the Solent was not what the Finns expected when they arrived at Warsash SC for the Finn qualifier last weekend (15-16 November).
Day one was light and shifty with the wind swinging through 180 degrees. The wind dropped immediately after the start from 5 knots down to a drifter and it took the boats nearly 30 minutes to reach the first mark. The fleet split left and right with what little wind there was filling in from the left, Ed Thorburn led around the mark from Howard Sellars and Tim Carver. Carver was penalised under rule 42 and at the leeward mark Sellars had taken the lead. Short lived though it was as the race officer abandoned the race halfway up the next beat, ensuring that the wind filled in approximately two minutes later.
Race two was started in a fairly steady breeze and John Greenwood lead off the line followed by Charlie Cumbley (OCS) and was never headed, leading home from Ed Greig, Matt Howard and Tim Carver. The wind died on the way in and darkness fell in the dinghy park as the boats were packed away.
Sunday morning’s blue sky and a fresh autumnal breeze brought new hope to the dinghy park and after 30 minutes of the Rugby World Cup semi-final there was a mass exodus from the beach. The wind filled in to a steady 10 knots and the day was set for four races.
Charlie Cumbley, Matt Howard and Phil Laycock led around the first mark with the right-hand side of the course paying on the beat. These three stayed the same until the next beat when Mark Andrews, Tim Carver and John Greenwood came through.
The wind stayed steady in race three and with a port-biased line the fleet set off to the left. A big right-hand shift left Phil Laycock and Tim Carver leading around the first mark with Matt Howard and Charlie Cumbley in hot pursuit. This order stayed the same until 200 yards from the windward mark when Laycock and Cumbley found a wind hole. Tim Carver led the fleet home from Charlie Cumbley who recovered his position on the last run.
Race four followed much the same pattern and again Carver, Laycock and Andrews rounded the first mark in that order. Matt Howard eventually came through to follow Carver across the line not before Mark Andrews had led the race on two separate occasions, blowing it on his approach to the last windward mark.
Equal on points going into the last race were Tim Carver and Matt Howard. The fleet eventually had worked out that going right up the beat paid off and there was no surprise when everyone went right soon after the start. Places were tight at the top mark. Tim Carver had again got it right leading around the mark from Nick Scott who was leaning fast in his first Finn regatta in a borrowed boat. Matt Howard was in hot pursuit and overtook Scott to tail Carver up the last beat. All it needed was a loose cover on Scott for Carver to win the regatta but Carver was so keen on the right-hand side that he left Howard to his own devises. The wind went left for the only time of the day, Howard got around the mark in front and held his lead to take the gun and with it the regatta from Carver by one point. Scott held off John Greenwood to take third place.
1st Matt Howard
2nd Tim Carver
3rd John Greenwood
4th Mark Andrews
5th Ed Greig
6th Nick Scott
7th Phil Laycock
8th Tom Greig