Lee-on-Solent was the sun soaked venue for the multi fleet RS Fat Face Racing Circuit on second weekend in May
Lee-on-Solent was the sun soaked venue for the multi fleet RS Fat Face Racing Circuit on May 15-16. It was fantastic weather for May but it was not the best conditions for fleet racing and particularly race officers with some fickle Solent breezes. After an hour’s delay a light south easterly allowed both race teams to lay two courses and get the first race off. It was bound to happen and right at the end of race 1 the breeze from the west of the Solent arrived reversing the course. The race teams did a good job and re-set the course, races 2 and 3 were held in the best breeze of the weekend, building to 12 knots by the end. The day’s racing had been videoed by Cathy Foster who gave each fleet excellent de-briefs in the early evening, part of the RS Associations extensive coaching programme. Unfortunately Sunday in many ways was a worse day, there really was no breeze. Eventually a light easterly appeared and just as thoughts were turning towards abandoning the day the race teams called the fleets out. With light winds and the tide it was slow going but two races were completed.
A 38-boat fleet of 200s was beaten in size by the 42 boat RS400 fleet, although obviously not in talent or looks. A very crowded committee boat end, with 38 boats in the fleet, proved not the place to be in the light winds of race 1. Tom and Jo Hewitson quickly crossed the fleet from starting to leeward and pulled out what looked a race winning lead. When the wind swung the final run became a fetch and looked for a short period as if Lee Sydenham/Anne Vaudrey would take full advantage but the Hewitsons just hung on. The Hewitsons were in control of race 2 with Hamish Calder and Severine Rees-Jones not far behind. Jon Lewis/Millie Parsons just led at a very crowded first windward mark of race 3 but it was David Giles and Fiona Clark that went on to win the race. The Hewitsons were at it again in race 4, winning the race and effectively the event. Geoff Carveth, crewed by Clare Senior, having had a bad series until this point won the final race. The Hewitsons scored an emphatic overall win from the consistent Sydenham/Vaudrey. Hopefully there will be better wind for the next Fat Face Circuit event at Brixham.
Sun soaked Lee-on-Solent was the host for the fourth event of the RS600 Fat Face Circuit. The 18-boat fleet started in a light south easterly sea breeze. Ian Marshal won after holding off Ian Montague in a downwind tussle, with Andy Heissig sneaking up to third. The second race saw a south-westerly sea breeze fill in. With the beat against the tide it was important to get the lay-lines right and Jamie Mawson did so, taking the race with Paul Smalley in second and Tim Paul in third. Race three saw the breeze pick up and it was Smalley who made it round the windward mark in first. He managed to hold off Tim Paul and Mawson who finished third. Next morning the warm sunshine and lack of breeze allowed the hangovers to clear before the fleet were sent out minutes before the deadline. A light south easterly sea breeze and a changing tide made tactics tricky especially for the pie eaters of the fleet! Tim Paul won the race from Marshall and Mawson in third. The final race saw Marshall win with Tim Paul in second and David Nunn in third. This meant that Tim Paul won overall from Marshall and Smalley in third. Thanks go to Lee-on-Solent and Fat Face for a close and excellently run weekend.
The first race was delayed while the Committee waited for the wind to fill in. When the race finally started Carl Whitehead (Filey SC) led from Chris Froehlich (Burghfield SC) and Tim Greenwood (Chew Valley SC). After two rounds the wind died and started to fill in from a more natural sea breeze direction. The three above sailors struggled to beat from the final mark to the finish; Froehlich just edging out Whitehead with Greenwood in third.
The Race Committee postponed for a short while until the breeze settled and built. Two races were sailed in a reasonable Force 2-3 breeze. Both races were won by Whitehead, with Froehlich and Greenwood battling it out for second place of which Froehlich triumphed in both. By the end of the third race the wind had built and the Vareo sailors enjoyed a thrilling fast reach back to the sailing club where Saturday night’s entertainment was laid on.
Sunday morning dawned – blue skies, bright sunshine and no wind! When the fleet got away after a long wait ashore Greenwood pulled a port end flyer which gave him a two to three hundred yard lead at the windward mark. On the second round the wind eased and boats struggled to sail over the tide. The shorten course flag was flown and Greenwood just held on by about a boat length from Froehlich with Whitehead third just in front of Steve Mummery (LOS SC).
The second race got underway after the wind had returned slightly. Only one round was completed and Greenwood dominated to take line honours with Whitehead second and Mark Hayzelden (Burghfield SC) third in his first open.