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Snakes and Ladders

WER was run by the Swallows, organised in detail by Tony Glover who produced a very circuitous, zig zag route down to Cobnor then up to the shallow end of the harbour in a northerly wind falling rapidly after 7pm. 

Despite approaching the end of the WER season X103 and X65 had new crew on board. X160 had an all female crew helmed by everyone's favourite race officer, Tina Scott, helming an XOD for the first time in three years. After a conservative start, Tina gave a masterclass in boat speed and tactics. 

Starting at the club line, with a short fetch to Deep End, James could have stayed on his mooring but took 103 for a sail and promptly ran aground, reminding us all where the shallows were.

A great fun race, and together with map, directions and a dice, we played snakes and ladders with the other boats using 13 buoys to round or pass to port or starboard. This race was not for anyone with any signs of dementia! Unfortunately the wind dropped to zero and the Q flag was raised first on X50, X186 and X152. The entire 9 X's and 2 Swallows had to be towed home from Dell Quay at dusk. 

As darkness fell, “Team Blue” (X103, X151, X51) performed a perfect simultaneous mooring worthy of the Olympic Diving final. Michael McNish was worried his Iphone Torch battery would fail until he was reminded that he was still wearing sunglasses.

A Delicious meal was waiting for us, thanks very much to the staff who waited patiently for the fleet to come home.

Ten boats turned out for the Joan Shaw on Saturday including guest Michael O'donnell on X64. Just as the race officer was considering cancelling the race due to no wind, it came good and off we went. Unfortunately 6 boats didn't see or hear the finish line at Peacock and continued on the course down to Thorney and round Park and home, only none-of us could find "home" We radio'd ahead only to hear the race finished some time previously. At least we weren't the only Walley!

Well done to Roger who generously gave the tiller on X50 to Mike Marsdin and Steve Dover all day on Saturday. If the top helms, occasionally gave their time in this way  to help other skippers it would be a big boost in helping the fleets to improve. 

Joan Shaw was won by Xcitation X50, 2nd X64 Lightwood X181 Xtravagance 3rd.

Next Wednesday we have decided to start the racing at 5.45pm and not as in the handbook in order not to have to use iPhone torches to put the boats to bed!  As always, please let me know if you're looking for a crew or requiring a helm.

See you on the water - in Merlin

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