Musto Skiff –Castle Cove Open Event 9/10th Sept 2017
Punchy Forecast ... but even more punchy sailors ....
Report by Ben Schooling
Despite a rather punchy forecast, nine Musto's travelled to join the two locals for round 9 of the UK Series joined by the 470's for their National Champs. With Sunday turning purple on windguru, the PRO wisely scheduled 4 quick fire two-lap races urging the fleet to prep for a big day on the water!
The first race got underway on schedule in 18-23kts. Dan Kilsby held the best lane out the blocks to lead round the windward from Alex Knight and Dave Annan. Dave & Alex overstood on the downwind layline allowing Ben Schooling though to second by the gate but Alex overhauled him up the next beat. Kilsby kept it tidy down the next run to take the bullet from Knight and Schooling.
Race two and the breeze had pepped up with gusts of 27kts and some menacing clouds forming on the horizon. The objective now was just to keep the rig in the air! Rich Pelley found his mojo having skipped race one with a broken cunno and blasted up the beat into a 50m lead at the windward, only to take off in a ball of spray towards the 470 turning mark. Despite the pack hoisting behind him, Pelley made it the full distance to the outer loop before hoisting. Matt "Double Alice" Holden took up the lead but came a cropper on the gybe and by the gate it was Knight who led from Kilsby and Schooling. Positions remained the same up the second beat and onto the final run. Kamikaze Kilsby made a charge for the line over the conservative Knight but his balls out approach was to be his undoing with a wipeout 100 yards short of the gate allowing Schooling and Pelley through.
Race 3 and the heavens opened! The storm clouds emptied a deluge of rain onto the fleet half way up the second beat which reduced visibility to 50 yards and killed the wind. As a fickle breeze started to fill back in it became a wacky 5 way dash for the line with boats pointing the same angle on opposing gybes. Kilsby took a gamble on the left and just managed to pip Knight for the line with Pelley again in 3rd.
With the wind still unstable and lightning visible on the horizon under the next storm cloud the PRO made the sensible call to send the fleet ashore. Back in the bar the fleet compared gps speeds and enjoyed a fantastic chilli prepared and served by Lorna, Alex and Mike Dencher. There were also some other delights on offer in the form of 470 squaddies gyrating in Hawaiian themed get up but you'll have to ask Pelly and Holden for the details!
Sunday morning and the fleet deliberated about whether to head out for another beating. With the prospect of rapidly increasing wind strength, 5 opted to head out and the rest to drop their masts. Those brave souls who ventured out managed a manic one lap-er with gusts over 30. Matt Holden managed to get his boat across the line from Knight and Annan with Jason Rickards the only other finisher.
Knightly's 2nd was enough to give him a one point lead over Dan Kilsby with Ben Schooling in 3rd. A big thank you to Castle Cove SC for running a great event and in particular to Lorna Graham for all her hard work preparing and coordinating the weekend. The fleet now look forward to Stone on 30th/1st October.