The River Derwent served up the proverbial box of chocolates to the fleet in the first race of the Combined Clubs Summer Pennant Series. The fleet got away in a 12-knot westerly breeze but the patchy airs and strong current from recent heavy rains, kept the fleet on its toes.
After a short postponement, the Division 1 fleet was tense on the start line with the top contenders including the Melges 32 skippers, looking to the favoured pin end of the start line. With the current pushing the fleet down below the pin, in a brazen move, Brett Cooper came in on port, tossing in front of the other two Melges Assagai (Chris Sheehan) and Andrew Smith (Cockwomble), clearing the fleet to win the start. At least six other boats did not make the mark, peeling off and going around again.
Race Officer Gilbert Leitch set a windward mark for the first mark of the race, offering the fleet an opportunity for more tactical racing off the start line, which was well-received by the fleet, including Cromarty Magellan skipper, Richard Grant. “I really enjoyed the new longer-race format – the variety is excellent and will be a positive for this sailing series,” said Grant.
The racing was not without its dramas with Ian Marshall, sailing As Good as it Gets, losing steering near John Garrow light, with the crew making their way to the marina emergency steering.
Fork in the Road (Garry Smith) was first across the line in Division 1 and won on PHS, with Ed Psaltis (Midnight Rambler) winning Division 1 on IRC and AMS.
Boat of the day was Young Lion, with Paul Burnell on the helm, who was first across the line in Division 3 and won on PHS, IRC and AMS.
Frontline (Ian Snape) won on IRC in Division 2 while PHS winners were Pirate’s Pride (Peter Masterton) in Division 2 and Camlet Way (Stephen Mannering) in Division 4. Cromarty Magellan (Richard Grant) won on AMS in Division 2.
Full results are available at: https://dssinc-results.org/results/2020/summer/pennant/series.htm
Words and image: Jane Austin