Matt Howard wins Finn event at Weymouth this weekend
The second event in the Finn Holt Olympic Classes National Ranking event took place at Weymouth this weekend.
Racing in the harbour on Saturday was postponed until the afternoon when the beginnings of a south-westerly breeze kicked in. The boats started bunched at the committee boat with the jury boats on hand; Matt Howard was flagged for sculling and due to a wind shift on the line there were several boats PMS. Phil Laycock broke first guessing that the right side of the beat was favourable and led around the windward mark from Matt Howard and Tom Grieg, Mark Andrews had recovered well from going left up the beat and rounded fourth ahead of Howard Sellars and Peter Davison. Phil Laycock and Matt Howard kept their lead with clear air and choice of racing line with Matt having the better run to lead at the leeward mark. Tom Greig in third place was subsequently flagged for pumping at the leeward mark allowing a gap between the pack and the leaders in what was becoming a fading breeze.
On the final beat Phil Laycock got the final tack right to lead around the mark and defending his lead on the run took the bullet from Matt Howard. Mark Andrews came in third with Peter Davison 4th and Tom Greig recovering to 5th. Lack of wind forced racing to be abandoned for the rest of the day.
Sunday’s early morning breeze was a lot more promising and the boats were on the water early to catch what they could.
Race two began on a fairly even line with a slight port bias and the boats were split, meeting in the middle half way up. Unlike the previous day the left-hand side paid for the final approach into the mark and playing the shifts up the middle of the course was key. Matt Howard led the fleet around the windward mark from Phil Laycock and Howard Sellars chased by Mark Andrews and Graham Page. Tom Greig’s boom fell off which ended his race and the rest of the fleet trailed behind having hit the wrong corners.
The canny Howard Sellars had a good run and overhauled Phil Laycock to challenge Matt Howard however on the final beat he missed the final shift into the mark and let through both Phil Laycock and Mark Andrews. Matt therefore won the race from Phil, Mark and Howard with Graham Page holding onto 5th.
Race three followed a similar pattern with Matt Howard breaking clear and Phil Laycock, Howard Sellars and Mark Andrews doing battle all the way round; quite vocally in some instances!
On the final leg Mark Andrews was challenging hard for second place, crawling all over Phil Laycock’s transom and he lured him into a rule 42 infringement. Andrews then stole second place from Sellars in 3rd and Greig in 4th with Laycock’s penalty turns dropping him down to 5th.
The final race of the day was sailed in the more wind and some rather damming shifts. The right-hand side was the place to be and Matt Howard and Tom Greig found it well to lead around the windward mark from Mark Andrews and Howard Sellars. The leading two extended their lead and there was very little position changing. A good final run pushed Laycock up onto Sellars transom but that was as far as he got.
1st Matt Howard
2nd Phil Laycock
3rd Mark Andrews
4th Tom Greig
5th Howard Sellars
6th Peter Davidson