Despite a windy forecast a fleet of 21 Moths turned out for the second of the UK Grand Prix series, supported by Magic Marine, at Weymouth in the hope that maybe the predictions were wrong and the bigger gusts wouldn’t materialise. However on the Saturday this was not to be and so racing was postponed until 1pm. Many thanks to WPNSA who literally opened the doors allowing the fleet to bring their boats into the hanger, who then utilised the time to check out new ideas, indulge in last minute pre season boat preparation/flight checks and measurement – all with no fear of the boats blowing away!
With gusts of 30 knots on the course, racing was abandoned for Saturday in the anticipation of a much more favourable forecast for Sunday. In time-honoured tradition it was off to the Cove followed by a curry.
Sunday started with a similar strong easterly forcing a 1-hour postponement but the race officer trusted the forecast and as soon as there was a sign of moderation acted quickly to get the fleet on the water. There was much debate on setup and foil choice as there was still a fresh breeze on launching but every indication this would drop.
The first race got off clean in perfect condition, easterly force 3 to 4. On the first beat the fleet split with the left had side coming in ahead leaving some familiar top runners rounding further down. Showing his 2014 Nationals winning speed, and few mistakes Mike Lennon climbed through the fleet to win followed by Richard Mason and Dan Ellis third. The champagne sailing continued into the second race with Mike leading from the start followed by Ricky Tagg and Jason Belben.
The third race looked to be following a similar pattern until the Portland Harbour microclimate started to react to the beautiful sunshine at which point big differences in strength and direction would catch out the unwary. Mike Lennon was first into the trap and tacked in lowering pressure and parked up followed by a number of others. Jason played this well and tacked early inside Mike to take the lead. With the wind veering more the run became a fetch, catching some others out. The last beat saw Jason leading but he too watched with concern as he sat in little wind at the windward mark as other foiled up to it, including a hard charging Mike Lennon. Holding his nerve he was first on to the foils for the last leg to take the race from Ricky and Mike. One of those hard done by was Richard Mason who arrived 2nd to the mark but ended up 6th. With the wind ever decreasing and veering the fourth race looked uncertain but the race officer acted promptly to move the windward mark under the Bill. From the start it was very marginal foiling and would prove to be a game of snakes and ladders especially at the no wind zone surrounding the windward mark. Ricky showed that there is still benefit in being a lightweight and foiled around the low riding leading pack to go on and convincingly take the race followed by Mike and Jason.
So what looked at the beginning of the weekend to be a heavy wind affair turned out to be a variety of conditions giving some close racing won by Mike Lennon.
It was great to see so many new faces and we look forward to seeing them at the next event in the series at Hayling Island. The Grand Prix is on 2nd/3rd May and the Glynn Charles Charity Pursuit on Bank Holiday Monday.
1st Mike Lennon Hayling Island SC 4 pts
2nd Ricky Tagg Hayling Island SC 5 pts
3rd Jason Belben Stokes Bay SC 7 pts
4th Richard Mason Royal Lymington YC 12 pts
5th Ollie Holden Hayling Island SC 14 pts
6th Dan Ellis Yealm YC 15 pts
Full results can be found here: WPNSA 2015 Results