Musto Skiff

MUSTO Open – Whitstable Yacht Club 19/20th May 2012 Bookmark and Share

Article: Ben Schooling
Photos: Tania Samus

18 boats assembled for round 4 of the circuit hosted by Whitstable Yacht club. Despite the glorious sunshine the wind was light and fickle so racing was postponed for an hour on shore then a further hour on the water. The Pro did well to hold his nerve and sure enough the breeze finally stabilised after rotating through 270 degrees a racing commenced just after 2pm in a 5-6kt NE.

Mike “Ninja” Palfreman was a man on a mission with super quick boat speed in the light winds. Despite being over at the pin end on the first race he pulled through to 2nd and had there been another lap he would have no doubt caught Bruce Keen who took the win.

By the 2nd race the tide had become the main feature running under the fleet to windward. There were some big gains to be made by judging the laylines correctly but no-one could match Ninja’s pace who scored 2 bullets. The rest of the fleet had some good battles with Evander, Schooling, Wallbanger, Vincent, Keen and Pellios all in the mix. Most notable point in race 3 was Serega who pulled off a narrow but ballsy port tack flyer to lead the fleet up the beat only to be aiming at the B14 windward mark – D’oh!

Sat night the fleet enjoyed a fine steak bbq in the sunshine on the veranda before retiring inside for beers and banter. There was a soccer match on the telly but nobody was really interested and opted instead for a rules chat after Bruce had won a protest against Alex Cooper. WYC has a great set up and the bunk rooms at the club are perfect for staggering upstairs after the bar had shut and Evander Hilton took full advantage of drinking till the bell rung!

As forecast Sunday dawned cold, grey but breezy and the fleet all lowered the trap lines and set up for a feistier day. First race got under way in 16-17kts NE and a choppy sea which added an extra dimension to the boat handling. Bruce showed his dominance in this area and pulled out a comfortable lead in races 4 & 5 with Vincent, Pelley and Hilton following him home. Ninja’s power’s had deserted him and along with Wallbanger had an early bath with a broken top section.

Alex Cooper had a great day and after two 3rds in the first 2 managed to get a bullet from Bruce in the 3rd as the wind faded to 13kts. By the final race the tide had turned and the course became skewed and with only 10-12kts to play with it was tricky punching through the chop. The top 3 finished in the correct podium order with Schooling 3rd, Cooper 2nd and Keen taking line and overall honours. Big thanks to the race officer for decent courses with quick turnarounds all run from a RIB after the committee boat was wrecked in a storm a few weeks back, and to Whitstable Yacht club for hosting a great event.

The fleet move to the finest sailing establishment in Slough next for heat 5 at Datchet before the Big One in June.

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