The second Winter series event took place at Beaver S.C. near Doncaster, South Yorkshire on Saturday 6th December, and was attended by 9 home boats and 7 visitors, from as far away as Gurnard and Shanklin on the Isle of Wight, and from Grafham and Halifax.
During the week, the weather had looked a little suspect, with very little wind forecast, and proved to be the case on the Fridayand Sunday, but on the important day in between, the Gods looked downfavourably, and gave a 12-15 knot N.E breeze for most of the day, which made good racing for all competitors.
In the first race which started just after 11a.m, local Beaver sailor and previous National champion John Postlethwaitewent the right way up the first beat to lead the field, closely followed byAustin Flather, George and Bob Carter, and Paul Smith. Also pushing hard was Charles Watson from Halifax S.C., and these six opened up a comfortable gap from the rest, who were duelling for the mid-places. As the race progressed, Postlethwaite extended his lead, while Flather seemed to lose out on the off-wind legs, and allowed several boats to come through. During the latter stages, George Carter took some distance out of Postlethwaite, but not enough to overtake, so in the end, Postlethwaite won, with Carter having to settle for second. Behind them, Steve Hanby was beavering away from the back of the pack, and gambled on the right side of the last beat to sneak 3rd place from Flather on the line. Meanwhile Bob Carter came unstuck in a Port/Starboard altercation with Watson, and had to do a penalty turn, allowing Smith to take 5th place from Watson, and relegating Carter to 7th.
The fleet then came in for lunch, ably provided by the Beaver ladies, who always look after the sailors, doing asterling job in feeding everyone and replenishing their energy for the secondrace.
By this time, the wind had shifted more to the East, necessitating a course modification to retain a true beat.
Again Postlethwaite led initially, but roles were reversed when Flather overtook him on the run, and seemed to get to grips with his new sail and the conditions, pulling out a comfortable lead for most of the race. Postlethwaite then proceeded to go backwards for a while, allowing George Carter, Smith and Hanby to pass, and these became the dominant group for the rest of the race. On the last windward leg however, Flather committed the cardinal sin of failing to cover, when Carter chose the opposite side, and was pipped on the line as Carter powered through to win, and in doing so, won the event overall. Smith held on for third, followed by Hanby and Postlethwaite, who was finding it difficult to maintain the pace as the best of the breeze was now easing towards the end of the day.
So ended a good day's sailing, with everyone receiving a prize for their efforts, andparticular thanks must go to Erling Holmberg (Shanklin) and Steve Cole (Gurnard) for their support, having made the journey all the way from the Isle of Wight. It was perhaps a shame that more of the closer clubs weren't able to support what must be one of the most competitive events of the series, with Beaver boats taking 7 out of the first 10 places.
The Class now takes a break over the Christmas period, but looks forward to resuming the challenge with round three in January which will be held at Rutland Water S.C.
Paul Smith (1961 Beaver S.C)