Emma Harris and Becky Priest won this weekend's Easter Egg Regatta at Waldringfield Sailing Club
The traditional H.R.Owen Volvo-sponsored Easter weekend event at Waldringfield SC in Suffolk this weekend comprised five races and was sailed in light winds.
For Race 1 on Saturday PRO Mike Oldroyd set a Club biased line start for a long beat against the flood tidal stream.
However, at the Lark start the wind dropped and backed making it almost impossible to cross on starboard. Matthew White, crewed by Clare La Forge made the best port hand start, lee-bowed the tide close to the island and sailed away to win by over a minute. The fight for second was more closely contested with Emma Harris/ Becky Priest using their usual boat speed to overhaul Michael Gifford/ Kirsty Phipps and then Geoff Sinton/Natalie Bannister to take it. Lack of breeze forced Race 2 to be postponed until Sunday morning .
PRO Patrick Gifford had three difficult races to officiate through Sunday. A cold north-easterly Force 2 across the strong flood tide (right to left looking up the beat) meant the first mark had to be set over 25 degrees left from the true wind. The I-flag went up for the recalled start on a heavily port-biased line. Harris/ Priest promptly tacked onto port, after a mid-line start to avoid over standing the first mark. They rounded just in front and went on to win from White/ La Forge. Harry Pynn/ Alyson Videlo and Alan Krailing/Will Parrett shared 3rd place after a dead heat.
The wind had backed to the north for Race 3, which was started further downriver. In the last hour before high tide on the River Deben the current significantly eases in the lee of the meanders and distinct boundary lines between flood current and slack water or back eddies can be seen as was the case for this race. This observation can make the difference. Pynn/ Videlo used it to their advantage to take the race from Harris/ Priest. Nigel Scott/ Cathy Fish were third just in front of Geoff Mayhew/ Kim Lamb in their newly acquired boat, 2413 Crumble.
Race 4 on Sunday after lunch was quite different again because the famous ebb tide really kicked in. The start was located in the Galleons area, which exacerbated the problem, as the flow is constricted and faster. The wind had also dropped to force 1 making the beat against the tide very difficult. Several boats failed to start or didn’t finish after taking so long to start.
Four Larks did get away however each by using a different starting technique. Krailing/ Parrett opted to stay above the start line and rounded the committee boat unchallenged and with speed. Even so, they were only able to clear the committee boat after three tacks. Chris Fish/ Beth Condie stemmed the tide for the starting sequence with a more controlled slide across the current but again it took them several tacks before clearing the committee boat. Both crossed right to the outside the bend in the river and the shallows for less current. Harris/ Priest and Gifford/ Phipps started at the pin end and beat close to the salt marsh edge before crossing the channel on the port lay line. The right paid, Krailing/ Parrett led at the windward mark from Fish/ Condie. Harris/ Priest caught up by lee-bowing the tide on the second beat to the club line and a close tacking battle was waged along the island. Fish/ Condie gained the lead and decided to continue in the tide rather than cross the channel again to reach the windward mark near The Tips. The three were neck and neck on the run back. Fish/ Condie gybed onto port first and worked a small advantage that they held to the finish. Krailing/ Parrett overtook Harris/ Priest on the penultimate beat to take second.
The first leg of the final race, held on Monday, was from Galleons to just past the Club line. Ben Stone/ Hannah Mayhew were just too early in their attempt for a port hand flier having correctly judged that the fleet would be line shy with the round-the-ends rule in play. Pynn/ Clare Gosling started on starboard at the pin end and led early on from Fish/ Condie and Krailing/ Howard Enkle. Some impressive hand-brake-style turns into the current at the windward mark meant the fleet compressed again. Pynn/ Gosling could do nothing as the pack including Chris Whitehouse/ Rachel Rhodes and Scott/ Fish took their wind and caught up. Pynn/ Gosling held their nerve, staying on starboard up the Waldringfield riverbank after passing buoy C’ in the hope that less current and a faster tight reach across the channel to Buoy B’ would pay dividends, which it did as they regained second position. Krailing/ Enkle sailed the broader straight-line course on port and Fish/ Condie gybed several times. Fish/ Condie sailed the long way round to find less tide to the leeward mark and close so the leading three rounded together clear of the chasing pack lead by Whitehouse/ Rhodes. The penalty that Fish/ Condie took for hitting it hindered their chances of winning. Krailing/ Enkle made best use of the wind shifts upwind to win and Pynn/ Gosling just did enough for second in front of Fish/ Condie with Harris/ Priest taking fourth.
After five races Harris/ Priest were leading, having already bagged a 1, 2, 2, 3. Pynn/ Gosling or Krailing/ Enkle would have needed a second place with Harris outside the top 2 in the last race to take the title. Unfortunately for Pynn and Krailing they didn’t get the chance to fight for it as the wind dropped further and the final race was cancelled.
1st Emma Harris and Becky Priest 8pts
2nd Alan Krailing and Will Parrett & Howard Enkle 11pts
3rd Harry Pynn and Clare Gosling/Alyson Videlo 12pts
4th Matthew White and Clare La Forge 15pts
5th Christopher Fish and Beth Condie 19pts
6th Geoff Sinton and Natalie Bannister