Leigh On Sea Open Meeting
12 July 2014
Computer said, ‘No wind’, and so several of the Welsh Harp contingent stayed home. Weren’t they wrong though; a gentle SE breeze strengthened throughout the racing and kept the competitive fleet mobile all day. Leigh SC are to be thanked for a superbly run event, and say they reduced the wind because of high wind complaints about the last 2 years events
Race 1 started just before noon with Richard Hamm / Steve brown leading from the port end of the line and seeming to pull away. However he was only just in front of James Ward / Richard Whitehill at the windward mark with George Rogers and Richard Lord / Norman Brown in close pursuit. On a trapezoid course there was little place changing down the first reach, but the run was different. Initially the Lord boat seemed to be gaining, but then went off to port and aimed for the fourth mark. The Ward boat lead round mark 3 but the leaders confused themselves and headed up wind toward the finish, enabling Lord to sneak through to take the lead round the leeward mark and up to the finish. Ward then made second a few inches ahead of Hamm.
In slightly more wind, race 2 used the same course. Ward had a clear lead round the windward mark and held this all the way. At the final leeward mark, Lord was second having gained an overlap down the run on Hamm. However on the short beat to the finish all 3 leading boats closed up to finish within 3 feet of each other – close racing or what! Ward was first, with Hamm second and Lord third.
All the three leading boats were potential meeting winners going in to the third race. A wind shift a few seconds before the start left Richard Hamm in pole position to cross the line at the port end within milli-seconds of the gun, to be followed a couple of lengths behind by Lord. However, Ward - forever the gentlemen - let the majority of the fleet start go before venturing up to the line. The pattern was set with Hamm leading from start to finish and Lord never challenged behind him. Ward worked his way through the fleet, but never near to the leaders. The result of race 3 was that for the open meeting.