24 Boats rocked up for the open at Parkstone over the weekend. After the lacklustre turnout at QM for the inlands I was a bit worried about the UK circuit but things are looking brighter now the sun is out.
The first race was some of the closest we've had in the UK with Si Payne, Mike Lennon, Chris Rashley, Jason Belben and me all duking it out for the top spot, swapping places in the puffs and putting a real emphasis on tacking as one drop put you at the back of the group. I seemed to have height on everyone and after a few tactical blunders pulled past on the penultimate beat before pulling out a bit of a lead to the finish. That was pretty much my only moment of glory for the day as I had a pretty shocking two races after that, with capsizes in both races and a botched start. I managed to pull back through in the second one to 4th but the last race was really bad with my rusty race skills and a lack of sailing fitness taking their toll and putting me back to 8th.
The Ninja death squad were on good form with Rashers putting in a 3,2,2 and Jason just behind him. Mike Lennon was out in front with a solid 2,1,1 (Must be the Ninja rudder...)
Rodders had us out and about for a good pizza before putting up with about half the fleet on his floor. Buck the truck still has the SYZ and Co sticker on from the Euro's although I'm not sure if the tiller of doom made an appearance...
Sunday dawned with a vicious streak and 30 knot gusts going across Poole harbour. There was a large hesitancy in the air with the monster gusts putting off a lot of the fleet, especially those about to pack for Spain. I wasn't too keen on the harbour launch and recovery and, bearing in mind the amount of work I've got on, didn't want to be putting Donatello back together again after finding the shallows!
The weather backed off nicely and the brave(er than me) enjoyed a good 15-20 knot blast. Simon P showed a return to form with 2 firsts and a second with Jason Belben taking the other race. It's going to be interesting to see how Jason gets on now he's got his set of 2011 foils!
I spent the day eating cake, pondering my wimpiness and sorting out Leo and Badger's wand systems.
With the top 3 separated by 3 points this season is going to be mighty good fun. I just need to make sure I can sail for more than one day in a row and man up a bit!
Gallery of Saturdays racing is here
Results from both days are here
Next open is here...