|The RYA National
Proper cricketing weather - Hornets at Stone
Nine Hornets swarmed on Stone Sailing Club for a joint open with the 5o5s during the heatwave. Eric Marchbanks deserves thanks for towing the recently acquired Class Association boat up from Devon on his double trailer. This boat is available at open meetings for interested sailors particularly youngsters. It will be at Starcross YC for the next month. If interested please contact Mike Owen, contact details at www.hornet.org.uk. The GP14 youth sailors who used it at the Carsington open enjoyed it so much they immediately put their request in to use it at the Brixham Nationals. At this event local Kestrel sailors Paul and Rob Gray tried their hand at a boat with more string and wire.
Saturday provided proper cricketing weather but this meant the wind only allowed trapezing at times. When it did it was sailing at its best. The racing soon showed that two boats had the edge on boat speed. Old Hornet stalwart Strangler with young salt Pippa Rogers and 'held together with tape' Toby Barsley-Dale crewed by A Class sailor Andy Hay would usually be at the front by the first mark batting for honours. The decisive moment in the first race was the last beat as the wind started to falter. Both boats were out to the left side in the weaker adverse current. A new wind was coming down the estuary but when to tack for the mark? Toby, twenty two yards behind went first and managed to squeeze a length ahead at the mark. With just a run to the finish he was the same distance ahead at the line.
The rest of the fleet were having good close racing all weekend. In the first two races Gary and Tracy Haylett showed they are the most improved boat this season with two thirds and good upwind speed. Strangler and Pippa led after the first day at the crease but with a forecast of cloud and more wind for Sunday the wicket could favour the googly skills of Toby and Andy.
The evening was glorious on the club balcony, Essex was looking like the West Indies! Sunday was indeed cloudy but was the wind up to googly level? It was slowly increasing and Toby bowled everything at Strangler, swapping the lead several times. But one length is enough and that's what it was at the finish crease, Strangler taking the umpires decision. Dean and Adam Saxton found enough spin to come in third.
The wind now gave sparkling three sail reaches but weed was a problem, regular checks and ball polishing was necessary. Toby had some excuse about weed with stones attached to his bowling arm at the end of the next innings. Mike Owen and Steve Cooke slotted in two third places including this penultimate race. The wicket was now a little moist and the wind was affecting some of the bowlers accuracy. Into the final innings Strangler could have declared with victory assured but kept going to please the barmy army (and practice is always needed)! Dave and Fran Wood were the early stars in this one with a high run rate. But it was to get boring again as the same two night-watchmen slipped through.
Umpire Wendy Robinson and her team did a great job keeping the count of no-balls low and provided an excellent wicket for the speed bowlers and the silly mid-pointers.
©The RYA National Hornet Association