Musto Open – Whitstable
Yacht Club 19/20th May 2012
Article: Ben Schooling
Photos: Tania Samus http://www.photoskiff.com/
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
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