23 Apr Easter Tray
The Easter Tray hosted by Itchenor Sailing Club is the traditional kick-off to the 14 season. There were 21 boats entered for this early season event. With a few new crewing combinations and some winter boat-pimping, it was anyone’s guess who was going to come out on top.
Right from the off, in the first race, Andy Fitz was the first onto port, off a hugely pin-biased line following a large shift in the last 30s to the start. With this jump on the fleet, Andy was able to complete the 3 laps untroubled out in front. Archie Massey was 2nd and Ben McGrane’s charge through the fleet was slowed by an obstructing yacht on the last starboard layline into the top mark. The second race on Friday was an epic with a long run from Park (Itchenor) to the harbour entrance. Ben and Glen Truswell held a large lead going down the run, but Archie closed up by pushing the shallows tighter over the East Head. On the long beat back into the tide, the lead changed multiple times as an easterly breeze fought a nor-easterly making for large swings in fortune and holes. Ben eventually crossed narrowly ahead of Archie with Glen in third.
The next day saw more strangeness, in the second race a late developing sea breeze meant that it briefly paid to beat into the building seabreeze, before reaching across from Hayling to East head. Meanwhile those taking the layline, struggled in the transition zone with little breeze. Andy Fitz lost out most from this as he had another commanding lead having benefited from the sea breeze on the outbound run to Mill Rythe and Katie Nurton and Andy Penman conversely read the conditions best to judge the extra distance to sail vs getting established in the new breeze. Katie won, Archie second and Andy third. In the first race, Tom Heywood earned a well-deserved 3rd in a topsy-turvey race, which saw Martin OCS’d whilst in first and Dan Holman also drop out with jib cleat troubles.
The final day saw Archie and Ben on 10 points and Glen just 2 behind on 12. The first race saw Ben doing a horizon job off the start, whilst Archie went back after being OCS. Ben unfortunately had a problem with his spinnaker, which meant he surrendered a large portion of his lead at the 2nd top mark. Then a lap later he retired. Meanwhile Roger Gilbert was back to form, challenging for the lead when he pushed the Pilsey bank too hard, hit the gravel at speed and lost his rig over the front. Glen took the lead from Archie, when he gybe-set at the 2nd from last top mark and sailed straight to the leeward mark and remained in the lead, completing a soldiers course.
The final race was all to play for with the top 3 within a point. I also saw the re-launch of Pamela (Douglas Pattison), with a smooth bottom and new paint job. Unfortunately, although Ben started the race, he was unable to complete it. This left the final shoot-out between Archie and Glen. Douglas lead for the first lap and showed incredible upwind speed, but the sleepless nights of recent parent-hood showed in their boat-handling, and they finished 3rd. Glen won the final race to Archie’s 5th second of the weekend and with it took Glen took the Easter Tray.