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Royal Harwich Open Report

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  • 4 min read

The weekend started at midday with a nice force 2-3 wind. The rain of the morning was clearing up and a good fleet of 20 Fireflys started the 1st of the 3 races planned for the day. The course was fairly hectic but Will Mason and Emma Pettitt knew what they was doing having led the fleet around the windward mark from Steve Greaves and Jonquil Brooks and then Paul and Laura Kameen. The reach had a double wing mark which caused a bit of confusion but once around this all became clear and the fleet headed off down the run. Jamie McEwan and Josie Palmer rewrote the rule book and headed off into the tide on the second beat and made big gains in some favourable wind and left Will and Steve a bit stranded whilst Paul and Laura headed up the middle to arrive at the top mark in first with Jamie a close second and Steve third. These positions were held to the finish.

In the second race the first mark was in a very shifty part of the river. Paul and Laura managed to get there first after a great start with Barney Smith and Alannah Withe a close second. Matt Johnson and Emma Mackley showed great speed and ability to post a third.

In race 3 Paul and Laura Kameen took an early lead but Barney Smith and Mark Tait and Sam Childs got past… only to have Barney very nearly taken out by the camera boat on the finish line and poor Mark held out to the unfavoured end of the finish line team racing style by a Lark to let Paul get second.

With the sun out until 10pm, the evening was a long one which started with Pimms and croquet for some with Richard Thompson coaching, showing us his skills from theological college! After a barbecue the interclass games commenced with the Fireflys trying to defend their title against the National 12s and Larks.

Sunday was blustery with about 25 -30 knots and the OOD chose to set the course further down the river in an area where the wind was more constant. The first race was a figure of eight and Alex Davey and Jenny got off to a cracking start but Paul and Laura tacked just in front to beat them to the first mark. They blasted down the long broad reach with Mark showing awesome speed in the strong winds getting deeper in the gusts to draw close to the leading pair, whilst Barney and Allanah wiped out. Paul and Laura managed to open a gap in the rather short beats and pulled away later in the race whilst Mark, Alex and Jamie battled it out for second. Mark got second and Alex was third, Jamie forth.

The final race was due to be a bit shorter so the start would be all important. However the course was a large triangle and the wind was strong reminding us of Gore Trophy races of the past and our legs were sore. As the fleet approached the windward Jamie and Josie were in the lead followed by Mark and Sam and Alex and Jenny. The first reach mixed things up a bit as a big gust hit and Mark capsized dramatically to windward showing off his immaculate bottom! Roger Morris who was test driving his newly, nearly finished, mark 4 conversion burned it down to leeward, along with Rosie Davey and Roger Mudson, whose rudder broke but they amazingly managed to stay upright. By the bottom mark it was Jamie then Paul and on the second reach Paul managed to roll Jamie to windward to surge ahead. A close race ensued with Jamie taking the lead on the next beat but Paul regaining it on the downwind legs. Thankfully the race was shortened by a lap and Paul and Laura managed to hold on for the gun with Luke Thompson third and Alex forth, and Mark recovering from his capsize to get fifth.

Overall Results: (5 races, 1 discard)

1st Paul and Laura Kameen, 4pts
2nd Jamie McEwan and Josie Palmer, 12pts
3rd Mark Tait and San Childs, 14pts
4th Alex Davey and Jenny, 16pts
5th Matt Johnson and Emma Mackley, 25pts
6th Barney Smith and Alannah Witherby, 29pts