Winter Series - January to March
Regatta 1 - Saturday 10th January
Today saw the start of the IOM 2016 Winter Series with a good entry of 13 boats on the start line in the gusty southerly breeze.
Vinnie Zammit set a windward/leeward course up and down the lake and we took it in turns to run each of the 8 races. Racing was close throughout the fleet and in the end Vinnie won the day by two points from Duncan Ellis with Robert Owen finishing third overall.
With a couple of notable absetees from the top of the fleet today, its going to be a tough series.
Maybe we can get 15 boats on the start line next week!
Regatta 2 - Saturday 16th January
Nine hardy competitors arrived to a very cold morning at the lake with a fresh north westerly blowing.
Triangles were order of the day on a well set course by Vinnie Zammit,given the wind direction. Officer for the day was Paul Hyde who must be thanked for his patience at some difficult moments.
The first couple of races of the day saw Vinnie and Duncan Ellis share the honours, keeping out of trouble from the pack, with the rest of the fleet getting involved in a new close contact sport at mark rounding time! Ian Self,who has only been sailing for a short time filled third spot in the first race and Trevor Hobday in the second race.
Then race 3 it was all change, with Ronnie Mobbs taking a strong lead followed by Duncan and Colin Barrett at the final mark before the finish. Ronnie then decided to add his own mark to the course, Duncan hit the mark so had to do a turn which allowed Colin through for the win, with Duncan managing to stay in second and Tug boat captain Robert Owen in third.
With the coffee break on the sailors minds it was who could get to the café quickest with Duncan sneaking the win followed by Vinnie and then Robert.
After the break, it was all about the WEED!
Vinnie managed to find some go faster weed, winning the next 2 races convincingly followed by a consistent Trevor with two second places and Duncan and Colin sharing the two third spots.
The breeze was freshening slightly for the final two races with Duncan managing to keep away from the weed, winning both races, with Vinnie and Colin sharing second and third places in the last two races of the day.
Duncan sneaked the morning to win by just 1 point from Vinnie with Colin in third place.
Regatta 3 - Saturday 23rd January
Today saw the 3rd round of the winter series with 11 boats enjoying the sunshine and the south westerly breeze which slowly built as the racing progressed.
Paul Hyde was race officer again for the morning, who got all 8 races completed.
Racing today was on a starboard handed triangle course with the leeward mark being extended and shortened from time to time as the breeze moderated and built during the morning.
Due to the wind direction starting was a bit of a challenge with a port tack start being the preferred option by most of the fleet which made for some exciting starts!
Well, at the front of the fleet it was all about 1 man today – in a pink hat! Vinnie was never out of the top 3 all morning and showed us all how it should be done. Even putting additional obstacles as part of his race including recalls, turns etc he still always finished at or near the top.
Keith Whiddett was also on the pace who recorded 2 firsts and 2 seconds and showed impressive acceleration in the gusts.
After a slow start Duncan Ellis recorded a race win and managed to keep in the top 4 for rest of the morning.
The other race winner of the day was Alan Bright.
Other good performances today came from Trevor Hobday with a 2nd in race 1 and Simon Purdon with a 2nd in race 3.
In summary it was a great mornings sail – probably the best of the series so far – roll on next week!
Regatta 4 - Saturday 30th January
15 knots of breeze from the west and sunshine greeted the 14 competitors for the 4th round of the winter series – if it had been a few degrees warmer it would have been the perfect day!
The fleet hit the water with the majority on no 2 rigs which turned out to be the favoured rig of the day.
The course was set as a triangle/sausage for the morning’s races which was used all morning.
Race officer duties were shared amongst 8 of the seeded competitors so everybody could at least get 7 races in, which worked well.
8 races were completed with Vinnie Zammit (5 wins), Keith Whiddett (2 wins) and Duncan Ellis (1 win) sharing the spoils of the day, sailing their Britpops.
Tony Garner got several second places showing good speed with his Vision design in the breeze, but still had problems with his transmitter which held him back. Pete Sutton also got a second place during the morning showing his wife Cheryl’s Cockatoo design can still do the business.
Simon Purdon and Trevor Hobday also got podium spots during the morning.
Good starts were key to getting around the course in a podium position today with lots of excitement on the start line including Duncan’s and Ian Self’s boats getting a bit too close for comfort and spent the rest of the race as a raft floating down the lake getting to know one another a bit better!
It was noticeable today that rule observance is improving with sailors doing turns when required which made for a pleasant lakeside!
First three places for the day were first Vinnie Zammit, second Keith Whiddett and third Duncan Ellis.
In summary today was great sailing conditions, if you weren’t here you missed out on a cracker!
Regatta 5 - Saturday 13th February
The 5th regatta of the series got underway today with Vinnie Zammit in charge in between a bit of coaching!
It was a breezy affair with the wind blowing from the east of about 15-20mph with some large gusts giving a good long beat up the lake on the triangle followed by a sausage then a race to the finish line. The majority of the fleet bar 1 took to number 2 rigs for the mornings races.
So the racing got underway with Duncan Ellis with number 1 rig and the rest of fleet in number 2 rigs – Who was right?
The first race was a close affair between Duncan, Mark Holt and Rob Owen. Duncan was showing good speed with his top rig until the gusts came down the lake then struggled to tack or sail downwind leaving Mark in the lead until with just a few yards to go the breeze dropped and Duncan took line honours.
Race 2 saw another of team Ellis mixing it up at the front of the fleet in the end with Duncan winning followed by Harry Ellis Senior in his new Bripop and then Brian Tipple sailing his Widget.
With the breeze still building race 3 saw a lot of place changes throughout the race with Simon Purdon clinching the victory followed by Mark and then Duncan.
Race 4 saw Mark take the win followed by Ellis Senior and then Ellis Junior – It was then time for coffee and a reduction of rig size for 1 competitor!
Not quite sure what was in the coffee but Harry took the first race win after the break followed by Mark and then Simon.
Then in the next race Duncan got lucky and took a commanding lead which he held to the finish followed by Trevor Hobday and Mark.
The final 2 races were sailed in a really good breeze with the top 3 in both races being Duncan followed by Mark and then Rob.
Easterly breezes are great at Whitlingham - If only they could stay all year!
Regatta 6 - Saturday 20th February
13 skippers took part in today’s 6th regatta of the IOM winter series.
The day began with Simon Purdon testing the conditions with his number 2 rig. After much deliberation it was decided that number 1 rigs were order of the day by the majority of the fleet.
Vinnie Zammit was our race officer for the morning and set a triangle course set to starboard with 2 laps and then a final windward leg to the finish in the westerly breeze.
Because of the wind direction much excitement was to be had on the start line as the majority of the fleet would attempt to start on port tack.
The racing got under way and the first race saw Pete Sutton take the win in his Britpop by a whisker from Duncan Ellis and the Keith Whiddett also both sailing Britpop’s.
Race 2 saw Mark Holt take the win using his Bantock boat from Keith and then Robert Owen in his MX14. The writer of this summary was seeing how many marks he could hit in one race to add to the excitement of the day!
Race 3 finished in exactly in the same order as race 1 with Pete winning, Duncan 2nd and Keith 3rd . It was then time for coffee and to get warm!
Race 4 saw Keith take a good win followed by Duncan after a good tussle with his old man Harry Ellis who held onto 3rd!
Race 5 was back to winning ways for Pete - by this time the breeze was building some more and it was starting to get tricky to get downwind in top rigs. Duncan crossed the line in second but clipped a starboard tacked boat coming down the run on the line so retired leaving 2nd place to Simon followed by Mark.
The breeze was definitely on by race 6 with Duncan taking the win followed by Keith and then Mark.
Race 7 saw Pete again take the win after much place changing followed by Duncan and Rob.
The final race of the day saw Duncan, Mark and Pete get away from the pack with Mark overtaking Duncan on the 2nd lap to take the win.
The racing was really close all morning all the way through the fleet and it was quite noticeable today in particular that it was vital to get a good start as the whole fleet has similar boat speed upwind otherwise it would be near impossible to recover.
Regatta 7 - Saturday 27th February
Today saw the 7th of the IOM Winter series take place in 15-20 knots in the gusts of easterly breeze. The majority of the fleet decided on number 2 rigs in the car park which turned out to be the right decision.
The course was set as a square with 2 laps so giving the 12 skippers a good workout along the side of the lake.
Paul Hyde was in charge for the morning.
Racing got underway with close racing throughout the fleet and much place changing right to the end. Rick Buxton took the first race of the day from Duncan Ellis and then Vinnie Zammit in a borrowed boat. Rick then suffered gear failure so that was the end of his morning!
Race 2 saw Vinnie take the win followed by Duncan and then Rob Owen. Race 3 saw Mark Holt pipping Duncan on the line with Vinnie again in 3rd. So far 3 races and 3 different race winners!
It was then time for coffee and to warm up a little out of the wind. 5 Races to go and all to play for!
Raw 4 got underway and again Vinnie took the win followed by Mark and then Robert. Rae 5 saw Duncan eventually take a win followed by Vinnie and then Mark. Duncan also took race 6 but this time followed by Trevor Hobday and Simon Purdon.
The fleet was starting to diminish a little by this stage with only 7 finishers in race 7 with Vinnie taking line honours followed by Duncan and Mark.
So it was all to play for in the final race. Mark & Vinnie were battling it out with Duncan just behind – Then a collision on the last lap left Vinnie, who at the time had a lead of 50 yds, retiring with Mark holding on to his lead followed by Duncan and then Robert giving Duncan the morning by a point from Vinnie – a close finish to a great days sailing!
Regatta 8 - Saturday 12th March
Today the 8th meeting of the Winter series took place for the IOM fleet with 11 competitors taken part in the light breeze. The forecast for the morning was a very light southerly but there was a bit more east in it than expected and lots of other directions at times during the morning to keep everyone on their toes.
Vinnie Zammit took on the race officer duty for the morning as he waits for his new boat to arrive ably assisted by Paul Hyde. A triangle course was set and the sailors headed for the start line.
The first 2 races saw both Pete Sutton sailing his Britpop and Terry Burton with his ‘Very Orange’ V9 taking race wins and podium positions with Duncan Ellis also sailing a Britpop keeping in the top 3.
Race 3 saw a new race leader in the shape of Ian Self in his MX14 who led until close to the finish when Duncan got a lucky patch of wind and sailed past to take the win with Pete coming in 3rd.
Race 4 saw Terry take the win with Pete in 2nd and Alan Bright in 3rd.
Race 5 saw Duncan an Terry battle it out with Duncan getting a bit of luck with Terry missing the last mark so the finishing order being Duncan followed by Terry and Colin Barrett leading the following pack to take 3rd at the finish.
Race 6 Saw Rick Buxton in his Vision show the fleet the way round the course with much placing changing amongst the rest of the fleet with Pete taking 2nd and Colin again in 3rd.
Things were beginning to look tight on points after 6 races and the 7th race turned into a bit of a thriller with Brian Tipple in his Widget showing great speed and leading with Duncan managing to overtake on the last mark for Brian to overtake at the gun at the finish with Pete sailing in 3rd.
The breeze had dropped completely so it was decided to call it a day. The top 3 positions overall were tied with Duncan, Terry and Pete all on 14 points with Duncan just sneaking it because of his 3rd place in race 1 was a place higher than Terrys 4th in Race 3. –It doesn’t get much closer!
Also we had 4 different race winners over the 7 races with 8 of the 11 boats getting in the top 3 in at least 1 race – Another great mornings racing!
Bring on the last meeting of the winter series on the 26th March.
Regatta 9 - Saturday 26th March
8 skippers turned out for the final morning of the IOM winter series and were greeted with 20 knots from the south with gusts of much more!
Number 2 rigs were order of the day even though it was very light inshore some of the gusts were pretty serious!
Paul Hyde took on race officer duties for the morning and a course was set as far out as possible to try and keep out of the quiet patch inshore.
Racing got under way and Duncan Ellis sailing his Britpop got the first gust of the day which took him round the windward mark first which he held to the finish with Robert Owen coming in 2nd in his MX14 and Rick Buxton in third in his Vision.
Race 2 saw John Hanton show us the way round in his home built Corby followed by Duncan and Robert. Race 3 again saw John show us the way round with Duncan in 2nd and Rick in 3rd.
The final race before coffee saw Rick take the win from John followed by Terry Burton racing his V9.
Coffee took place while Duncan tried to repair his number 2 rig failing miserably in the wind in the car park so took the decision to stick his top rig on.
Race 5 got underway and Duncan managed to get a flying start on his big rig and managed to survive the gusts(just) with Terry coming in 2nd and Rick in 3rd.
By now the gusts were getting more frequent and Terry showed the fleet how it should be done in race 6 followed by John and Rick again in 3rd. There was excitement brewing on the beach every time a huge gust hit the water as Duncan would then lie his Britpop horizontal to give the sails a clean!
Race 7 again saw Terry win followed by John and then Duncan. Race 8 again had Terry win followed by Duncan and John.
The days results were very close with the worthy winner being John on count back – A fitting end to a great series!