Location: Open Dinghy Club, Angmering-on-Sea, Nr. Worthing, Sussex.
Winds: Force 1, gusting 1 and a bit, occasionally Force 2, from the south, north, whatever. Skies: grey and black. Sea conditions: not a lot. That was as good as it got for the second Dart 15 open meeting held by the ODC over the weekend of the 24th and 25th June.
The host club was delighted to welcome five visitors from the Southeast. The club no longer counts Keith Bartlet as a visitor. He came to the Open meeting last year, had a swim, and liked it so much that he stayed. Five ODC members joined Keith in battling it out with the visitors for the honours.
On Saturday morning, light winds from the Southwest settled the sea, and provided the best conditions of the weekend. Race officers, Chris Rickard and Peter Harwood set a square course with a sausage leg parallel to the shore. In a pattern to be repeated, the visitors took the first five positions, with Bob Carter leading Nick Dewhirst to the line. Local member Paul Clark, sailing with jib and his wife, brought up the rear. On Saturday afternoon, with the wind fading, Nick Dewhirst (despite losing his way looking for the third mark) beat Bob Carter into second place, with Philip Howden gaining his best position of the weekend in third place.
In the evening, Keith Bartlet's versatility extended to pyrotechnics at the beach barbeque, even a passing dog was disdainful of his more blackened efforts.
A wind shift on Sunday caused the course to be re-set as a reverse "P", and in the first race of the day, Bob Carter again led Nick Dewhirst home. The stage was set for the decisive fourth and final race on Sunday afternoon, and Mother Nature played her trump card. As the wind continued to fade away, the strength of the spring tide caught sailors unawares. Gordon Goldstone lead the way for much of the race but the windward mark was the scene of the grief, as boat after boat misjudged the turn and struggled against the tide. Erling Holmberg changed his tactics and took the offshore route to the windward mark on the last lap which paid off handsomely. He went on to take the honours from Nick and Bob in second and third place, respectively. This is Erlings first open meeting race win in a Dart 15.
ODC Commodore, Ian Finlayson congratulated the winners, and commiserated with local sailor Alan Woods on his struggles against the conditions. Tea and cakes provided by the ladies of the ODC concluded a fine weekend.
Footnote: Nick Dewhirst has kindly agreed to visit the ODC again later this summer to give the Club Members some race coaching.
|5th||Gordon Goldstone||Queen Mary|
|6th||Keith Bartlet||Open Dinghy Club|
Megastar Trophy (Best Heavyweight): Alan Welman (Open Dinghy Club).
Author: John Hailstone