As your correspondent drove north the thermometer went south: six degrees on the coast, four at Oxford and then minus one just before Draycote. But then shot up to zero by the water's edge and so that was a comfort.
Six Blaze sailors made the journey for the two day meeting with four races back to back on the Saturday and one long pursuit race on the Sunday for double points. Generally the Blazes raced amongst themselves boat for boat and ignored the one hundred and twenty odd other boats on the water including the points system which caused some confusion of which more in a moment.
There was a strong correlation between getting away cleanly from the start line and finishing at the front. More often than not Ben Pickering Chase SC nailed this and his skill was reflected in his results. Conditions were light: 0 - 12 knots on day one and 3 - 10 knots on day two, this benefited those who were used to these conditions and it was good for Rob Jones Warsash SC to turn up as it was unlikely this was going to be his weekend as he likes a bit of a breeze.
In race one Myles Mence RSYC managed to get away from the line in good shape hotly pursued by Andrew McGaw Northampton SC. Andrew sailed a good race getting past Mence but losing out on Blaze first place when Mence got a puff near the finishing line. Martin Saveker Chase SC came in third.
Ben won race two having fended off attacks from Rob Jones and Pete Barlow Burghfield SC. Mence sank without trace having sailed into a hole which was part of the snakes and ladders that effected everyone over the weekend.
Race three saw Mence in the lead again fending off attacks from Saveker and Jones. Then a strange thing happened the gun went sometime after the leading three had crossed the line to commence the third lap. Those behind were finished and the leaders went on to complete a third lap.
Unsurprisingly having sailed thirty three percent further they finished behind those who had been behind but were deemed in turn to have finished behind them. This was explained to your correspondent as the average lap scoring system, he is still trying to get his simple mind around the concept. It would have paid the leaders to have stopped just short of the line for five or ten minutes before finishing, is there an app one can buy to work out this algorithm?
Pickering won race four with an enormous lead from Saveker with Mence in turn some way behind him.
Sunday was meant to be windier but it wasn't really. Pickering established an early lead and Mence in second place was more occupied in fending off Saveker and Jones. After many buoys and legs Mence ground down Pickering's lead when he fell into a hole with the Merlin fleet and assorted asymmetrics all trying to round a mark in a raft. The sun had come out and the colours of the spinnakers made a pretty scene reflected on the mirror finish of the water. This was no comfort for Pickering and having got past him Mence then lost the lead again just before the finish followed by Saveker, Jones and Barlow.
Although it was lighter than people had hoped for the event was enjoyable and it was particularly good to catch up with Blaze friends after Bala some seven or eight weeks ago. The next meeting of the series is at Datchet on 14th and 15th December, make sure the date is in your diary and come along - you will enjoy it!
link to results below.