A game of Snakes and Ladders for the X One-Design fleet, particularly for today's winning crew on Lass

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Racing in the venerable X One-Design class is always eager, but seldom more so than it was today. Of the 52 starters, 15 were OCS – and that included one of the most reliable frontrunners of the fleet, Peter Baines in Palassie.

The XOD is a gentlemanly sort of boat, designed in 1908 by Alfred Westmacott, and racing them is civilised in the same sort of way that a croquet match is civilised. Aside from being over-keen on the line, the XODs were dealt a mixed hand, which some played better, or more fortuitously, than others. It all came good for Darren Maples, Simon Russell and Leanne Akhurst sailing Lass, who recorded not merely their only 1st place this week, but their sole result.

“A lot of people were pushing at the start and there was a big bulge,” explained Darren Maples. “You couldn’t see the line. On another day, it would have been a general recall. Everybody kept on going anyway; it would have been so hard to know if you were over. It’s a disappointing result for a lot of people, especially for Palassie.”

Darren and his fellow crew on Lass stuck close inshore and cheated the tide on the first beat before heading over to East Bramble. “When we went round and headed up towards Calshot there was a big thunderstorm and the wind died, so anchors went down. Then the breeze came through the middle. We had a zephyr there which pushed us through.”

“It was a typical Solent day,” he adds. “There’s a lot of luck to it, but we’ve had our fair share of bad luck.” The result, he says, partially makes up Lass’s two ill-starred opening days. On Saturday, the wind died at the windward mark and part of the fleet, Lass included, found themselves out of time. Yesterday, they got a DSQ.

“The week’s gone really for us,” says Darren. “We’ll just be taking one day at a time.”