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National Ranker - Weymouth 12th and 13th April

Saturday April 12th saw 7 2.4’s craning in for a 10 race series over 2 days. Quite a schedule. John Brooker & Will Street were sailing borrowed Norlin 3’s as their own were between Palma and Hyeres. Martin W-J had brought his Stradivarius whilst the rest of us were in our own Norlin 3’s. The wind on Saturday was NW all day, increasing as the day went on from some 10-15 knots initially to 12-18 later. Enough to set up a typical Portland lumpy chop and as the temperature plummeted in the afternoon things became a little cold and wet. Nothing new there then. We were starting third behind the Finns and Sonar/Skuds which confirmed for us that the start lines were well port biased. Megan is brilliant at these and as far as I could see from my lowly position to leeward and behind she completed a clean sweep of all 5 as there were no recalls. The wind was shifting a bit which gave us a chance to try and catch her but with only two beats in which to do it all she had to do was cover. It was Jonathan who came nearest with an excellent run of three 2nds. Martin and John shared the other two. Unfortunately for Martin the control panel of his Strad started to break up and he had to DNS the last two races and both John and Will had kicker problems.

Sunday gave us some warmer temperatures and a lighter shifty North Easterly wind of some 5-10knots. Starts were still port biased but now we had the Laser standards of the Youth Championships getting their first three races in on our course but as the Finns had disappeared we still started third. Megan continued to blitz the starts but due to the port bias laggards such as myself were able to get over onto port on or just after the gun which with the subsequent shifts made for much closer racing. My younger Grandaughter, who was down for the 29er Youth Championships, had a look at my starts and observed ‘Grandpa, your starts were c**p’. I fear she was correct. The wind was backing and so anyone straying over to the right hand side of the course tended to find themselves on the wrong side of the shifts. By the end of the second race the RO was obliged to move his entire course as the wind was virtually back to its NW direction of the previous day. The 10th race never happened as time ran out. Megan won overall, Jonathan was an excellent second and yours truly third on count back - at least that was the case on Sunday evening but I was pleased to note that by the end of Monday I had moved up to second - not bad when you are sitting on your backside at home! All in all an excellent w/e and the sun shone all the time - Portland at its best..

Iain Stowe