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A tricky day at the Chipstead Open

Updated: Feb 5

The day dawned drizzly and pretty dank despite my apple weather app saying there will be zero chance of precipitation. Maybe drizzle does not count as precipitation.

Anyway I drove to Chipstead listening to a great BBC sounds drama called Cobalt. Well worth a listen if you get the chance. By the time I got to the venue I had almost forgotten why I was there.

On arrival I was greeted by many friends and we all looked at the water wondering if it was A rig or B rig weather. By the time of racing, most had picked B rig or no 2 rig if you happen to be Vernon Appleton apart from a hardy few including Vernon who stuck with the A/no 1 rig.

After a great briefing by the PRO David Allinson we got on the water in shifty A/B rig conditions.

Who was racing. Peter Stollery in his Isotonic with Housemartin sails, his son Oliver in a Britpop with BG sails who is getting better and better at this game and is starting to win races. I hear he is training hard and I am looking forward to see great things from him. David Lindsay in a V11 (Cat sails or BG), Austin Guerrier in a Britpop (BG sails), Dorian Crease in a new Britpop (BG sails), Jeremy Collier up from Eastbourne in another Britpop (BG sails I think) and Nigel Barrow and Craig Richards woking up the 3d printed Alioth with 3D moulded sails.

The wind was shifty and between 8 and 25mph through the day but blowing straight down the lake, perfect Chipstead conditions. If you were in phase with the shifts, life was easy. If not, it was not so good.

Craig has a stellar morning even though his winch sounded like it was going to give up the ghost at any moment. Unfortunately it waited until the last race before it failed altogether.

Everyone had their ups and down apart from Craig who had the usual set of consistent results. I had an awful morning when after a 5 and a 2, I had a sheet tangle below deck and retired from race 3. In race 4 the tuning was up the spout and retired at the second mark. A 6 and a 1 followed and then magically the jib sheet managed to wrap itself round the mast ram just before the start of race 7. WIth my confidence waining rapidly, I sorted my set up and then put a stellar set of results together and got quite close to Craig overall with a 3 being the worst result in the last 10 races.

At the end of the day, Craig won on 29 points, I had 34 points and Dave Lindsay had 56 points

So what did I learn from the day:

Don't be afraid to flatten the foot of the main and jib in stronger winds. Taking the camber out of the sails makes you faster.

Sheet the main further out than you think necessary. 20mm is not bad in a breeze (side of boom to centre of post)

Do not let the jib leech go slack. I was the slowest boat on the water in one race because of this.

The Alioth is proving to be competitive in all conditions but there is work to be done to get more out of them.

The more I practice the luckier I get.

IOM skippers and our volunteer race teams are the best

See you at Gosport, Emsworth, Datchet, Hampton Court or Eastbourne for the first ranking event.

The results in detail

The race team with Chipstead water in the background. Thank you to all and to the PRO David Allinson, not in the picture

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