Musto Skiff 2017 – 08/09th April 2017 Stokes Bay Sailing Club
35 boats do battle ....
Report by Ben Schooling;
Photos by Tim Olin
A record open entry of 35 Musto Skiffs took to the water for round two of the UK Series at Stokes Bay Sailing club, the home of the Musto Skiff class. As per Rutland the fleet was joined by the RS800’s, B14’s and 4000’s (in place of the Cherubs) which made for a great atmosphere and buzz around the club with +70 boats rigging up in anticipation of a great weekend of racing. It also meant that the club were a little short of marks for both courses which was to prove costly for one competitor!
Racing got away after a short postponement ashore to allow the morning fog to clear and the sun to burn through. With adverse tide running the majority of the fleet opted to head inshore up the beat in a steady 8-10kts and it was Ben Schooling who held the best lane up the track to lead round the windward mark from Alex Knight. At the leeward mark Schooling confused by the lack of gate rounded to starboard and headed back up to the favoured in shore route. Knight followed suit but quickly spotted his mistake and unwound himself as George Hand rounded correctly to port. By the final run Schooling had extended from Hand with Knight in third but the result was not count due to the mark rounding blunder and Andy Rice was promoted to third. A classic School boy error!
Conditions for race 2 were much the same with the inshore track paying with slacker tide and a marginal favoured wind bend off the shore. This time it was seasoned campaigner Dave Annan who found the quickest path up the shore and had a decent lead at the windward mark. The rest of the pack chased hard but couldn’t catch Dave who held onto a slim victory from Dan Kilsby and Bruce Keen on a shortened 2 lap race. Congrats to Dave on a well-earned bullet!
By race 3 the tide had turned and after two general recalls the PRO opted for the black flag and a whiteboard with large letters displaying TIDE!! Unfortunately Dave Poston and Mark Cooper still pushed the line too hard and came away with a DSQ for their efforts. At the windward mark it was Fireball World Champion Tom Gillard who found the best pressure to lead round but by the finish it was man on a mission Bruce Keen who just managed to overhaul Gillard with Kilsby rounding out the top 3.
On Sat night the fleet enjoyed a chicken curry by Alex and the team in the Galley, Happy Hour Rum and Coke from the bar and of course the legendary Dan Vincent quiz, expertly assisted by Mr Kilsby, Sir!
Sunday dawned sunny with a similar 8-11kts of breeze which was slightly more out the East. Race 4 and it was Andy Rice who pulled off one of his legendary starts to get a jump on the fleet and foot off into the distance. Despite George Hand applying some pressure toward the finish Andy was not to be caught and the event saw its fourth race winner from four races.
By race 5 the tide was in full flood (or was it ebb?) and getting up to (and round) the windward mark was proving tricky. Jamie Hilton had flown down from Aberdeen borrowing the demo boat and showed he was still sharp after his winter hibernation to lead round the windward mark. The wind slowly started to clock right as per the forecast and local guru Russ Clark read the shift the best to come from 6th to 1st up the last beat and hold on to take the win from Schooling with George hand posting another podium.
With the wind shutting off as it veered and the tide still in full flow the PRO made the decision to call it quits for the day and give the travelling fleet a nice early pack up.
So with the results totted up it was the ever consistent George Hand who kept a tidy score sheet to win his second event on the bounce from Bruce Keen and a rueful Schooling in 3rd. Congratulation George and Bumble Bee!
Next event is Datchet 12/13th of May with hopefully some more coaching scheduled before the fleet pack up boats for the pilgrimage to Palma!