Sunday 8 June saw 6 BODs come to the line in glorious warm sunshine and a lovely sea breeze for the start of the CYC’s Andy Silk Salver. It was nip and tuck from the first gun with the boats starting on the Mersea side of the Bateman’s line and heading out to sea on a beat that took them past the sunbathers on Mersea Stone and gave the spectators on Splash Point plenty to watch too.
In the final approach to the line C54 Storm Petrel, being helmed this week by usual middleman Craig Bond, standing in for Alan Hicks who had a back problem so couldn’t race, with Jayne Bond and Nicky Henderson crewing, and C27 Endeavour, helmed by Chris Matthews with Nicky’s partner Murray and her son Thomas crewing, got so caught up in the fun family rivalry that they both accidentally shut themselves out at the committee boat end and had to turn and make a second approach. Although Storm Petrel found themselves on the tail of the pack, their positions as most windward boat turned out to be an advantage and within a few tacks they were right back in the fray.
Off the line C53 White Spirit, sailing two up with Mark White on the helm and Dick Stephens crewing, made a stunning start and led the fleet away in impressive style. Close tacking down the Mersea shore gave everyone’s boat handling a good work out and the fleet was still closely packed as they made their way out to sea.
John Payne sailing his boat C11 Grayling with Lucy Hayden and Paddy Carr had been finding their feet on their first few sails but this weekend the team was on great form and got a fantastic start just to weather of White Spirit, before going on to show some impressive speed at times.
Phil Rust was back in C16 Dulcet with Mike Hare and Paul Mines and also made the front row of the start before going on to sail a very consistent race. They are not yet showing the blistering pace they had last season but its early days and I am sure we will see them back in their usual form very soon.
Despite their problems at the start Storm Petrel took full advantage of being furthest right and showed impressive upwind boat speed and tactical smarts so were soon locked in a duel with White Spirit. Whilst Storm Petrel had the advantage upwind, White Spirit, sailing one man down, were lighter and faster downwind and the two boats were vying for the lead right around the course.
Endeavour was also up in the chocolates for most of the race until they went for the wrong mark due to a course card mix up and ended up sailing to Stone and putting in much greater distance than the other boats, loosing out big time in the process.
Out for their first sail of the season were BDAOA Chairman Bob Richardson aboard C29 Panic with Alistair Burt crewing. They had only just launched the boat and were also missing a course card, plus they spent a bit of time aground and had a main halyard clutch failure so had more then a bit to contend with. But the boat looks wonderful and its clear that once they find their feet again they will be well back in the fray.
As the boats came to the line Storm Petrel snatched victory from White Spirit by just 17 seconds with Dulcet third and Grayling fourth.
1. c54 Storm Petrel – Craig Bond
2. C53 White Spirit – Mark White
3. C16 Dulcet – Phil Rust
4. C11 Grayling – John Payne
5. C27 Endeavour – Chris Matthews
6. C29 Panic – Bob Richardson