The bank holiday weekend saw the Tera sailors of the East heading to Dabchicks Sailing Club at West Mersea for the first Train and Race weekend of 2014, sponsored by Virtual Rigger. 7 Pros and 20 Sports were to contest the Open Meeting on the Sunday.
Saturday was a training day where we used the opportunity to look at tides and how best to cope with them. Also the light winds that would be prevalent for the weekend. Not pinching too much and keeping the boat going through the water, whilst looking for the darker patches for more pressure was the order of the day.
Sunday dawned brighter than Saturday but would there be more wind? It certainly didn't seem likely with a fitful breeze from the SW blowing down the river to start. The first race got away and it was anyone's guess whether to look for more pressure or see where the most tidal benefit was. Keeping your head out of the boat and looking around was key. Matt Smith faired best in the Pros and Mersea local Joshua Davies prevailed in the Sports.
The second race was abandoned just as the Sports started as a huge windshift came through taking the breeze to a more Southerly direction. After a quick reset of the course the racing got away again but with definite bands of pressure coming through. Five minutes of decent pressure seemed to be followed by five minutes of relatively little. Absolute concentration and not getting too separated from the fleet was key.
Matt again proved the victor in the Pro Fleet with Matthew Taylor taking the Sports. With the breeze becoming increasingly fitful could we get a third race in before boredom set in? In a brave move the race team went for it and managed to get both starts away in a period of pressure before it went light again. Much debate whether to shorten at the windward mark became unnecessary as a cracking Force 4 sea breeze kicked in accompanied by another big wind shift to the SE. Luckily with the tide the course was still just a beat and run and everyone was able to finish in short order. Matt made it a clean sweep in the Pros and James Oakley took the Sports race.
The final fun for the day was an informal race in from the race course to the launch area. Everyone had a cracking sail in surfing on some big waves as we came in through the creeks into West Mersea.
When the results were worked out Matt Smith obviously won the Pros followed by Archie Hainsworth in second and Lucy Greenwood in third. In the Sports, consistency paid, and despite not winning a race Oscar Cubitt took the win followed by Matthew Taylor then Joshua Davies. Issy Taylor-Jones was first girl in 10th. Sam Blake got the endeavour prize for finishing 6th at his first Tera event.
Well done to all for completing so many races in such tricky conditions. Our thanks to Simon Butterworth of Virtual Rigger for generously sponsoring the prizes. Paul Jackson our PRO who also spent Saturday running around sorting out boats and gear. Sue Green for running the beach and Jude and Jay Pearce for setting up the event.
Next round of the Eastern Travellers Series is at Royal Harwich on Saturday 17th May. All welcome.