|The RYA National
Hornet Open at Stone Sailing Clubby Jon Williams14-15 July 2018
It was a forecast of light winds for the Hornet open meeting at Stone Sailing Club Essex, but you don't need a weather man to know which way the sea-breeze blows.
As sailors shuffled in on Saturday morning they found Toby and Rich fitting out a new mast. Hammering in the strengthening sleeve suggested there was still a way to go. "We should make the second race". If I had a hammer I'd help them in the morning. Meanwhile the wind slowly built. "We should make the third race" was the update as we left the shore.
The fleet battled the current to the race course but by the time of the first start it was a semi trapezing wind. Strangler and Pippa Rogers led the boats that opted to go right towards the south shore to cheat the current. They led from Mark and Paul Dell through the race to the finish. Toby and Rich were fitting the spreader bracket, will they make the third race?
The second race started in slightly more wind. After a poor start Strangler and Rogers pulled through to take the lead on the second beat, after very close racing Nigel Skudder and Keith Hills finishing second behind them and the rest of the fleet on their heels. For the last race of the day boats were now fully powered up. Steve Cooke had Scorpion sailor John Clementson helming a Hornet for the first time. He quickly got to grips with the overgrown Scorpion leading this race but unable to hold off the chasing pack. The Dells and Skudder/Hills now swapped the lead. Skudder should have won had he realised there was an extra lap in this race. Meanwhile Toby now found out they had the wrong spreaders and Rich was on a long journey to the chandlery. Would he make it back in time for supper?
The earlier Sunday start was postponed, so we waited on the dock of the bay for wind. Toby had time to give his hull a mast. The racing followed a similar pattern to the previous day, Strangler having the boatspeed to pull away in the lighter winds of race four. Rich was climbing the mast to adjust the spreaders between races. Skudder and Hills led the fifth race from start to finish. The last was close between the three leading protagonists. Picking the starboard layline was critical with the lee bow current. The Dells just led at the last windward mark and took their second win after completing the triangle.
Thanks to Wendy Robinson and her race team for running an excellent event and Stone SC still has the best showers!
©The RYA National Hornet Association