MUSTO Skiff Harken GBR Circuit event 2 at Stokes Bay SC - April 13-14, 2019
Report by Dan Kilsby
Photos by Tim Olin https://www.flickr.com/photos/141388522@N05/sets/72157704572317492/
Big foam up for Stokes Bay MUSTO Skiff Open!
On Saturday 13th July, 35 excited MUSTO Skiff sailors converged at Stokes Bay Sailing Club for what promised to be a glorious regatta. Unusually, the forecast looked perfect; a sunny 15 knots and everyone was keen to get out and compete in some waves! Even more unusually the forecast was almost spot on and we enjoyed 5 fast, close and exciting races.
Race one started in steady 15 – 18 knots from the south east with an exciting chop kicked up by the tide and a baltic wind chill adding to the challenge. Bruce Keen and Dan Kilsby led around the windward mark and were just able to squeeze through the bottom gate before the entire RS800 fleet on starboard met the MUSTO fleet under spinnakers on port! It speaks to the standard (and civility!) of both fleets that everyone emerged with boats and sailors in one piece! Keen extended away from Kilsby over the next 2 laps to take the win and Richard Pelley flew down the last run to claim a very close third.
Andy Rice and Dave Poston cleared the entire fleet cleanly on port in the second race and Poston went on to claim a healthy win from Keen and George Hand. In race 3 there were more heroes (or chancers?!) lining up on port for the start but by now the rest of the fleet were more alert which meant that no one had a clean port flyer. There were a few exciting moments as the port and starboard fleets converged! By now, the wind started to drop a little which rewarded the sailors who were able to quickly change gears for the big waves and less pressure. Keen showed the fleet the way around again, followed by Hand. Kilsby just able to keep returning class legend Dan Henderson behind him to take third.
As is traditional for the Stokes Bay Open, Alex put on a great curry and effervescent quiz master extraordinaire Dan Vincent (ably assisted by Richard Pelley) put on an awesome quiz. The final round was a speed eating challenge where one member of each team had to inhale a trifle as quickly as possible. George Hand ate his team to victory (and put back his 2019 Worlds weight loss programme a few weeks!) by being the first person to devour the trifle - although some vocal B14 sailors may dispute this! (If it’s on the floor or on your competitors then you’ve not eaten it!)
Day 2 was colder than day 1 but most sailors were more prepared for the cold this time round! The first race was held in 15-18 knots on flatter water, as the tide hadn’t yet turned, which allowed for some blistering pace around the course. Keen again disappeared for a clear win with quiz master Vincent recovering his mojo to take a strong second place from Poston in third.
For the second race, the tide had turned kicking up a gnarly chop and the wind was building to around the 20 knot mark which meant keeping the mast dry was going to be the aim of the game! After a fast and furious first lap, Kilsby survived the downwind to take the lead but couldn’t repeat this a second time and pitch poled arounds the windward mark. This let Hand and Vincent through to blast to first and second place. Pelley nailed the final layline to roll past Keen to take third.
Gusts of 25 knots and a steadily growing sea state meant that PRO Mike made the sensible decision to send the fleet in for early showers before things got too silly! Great speed and near faultless sailing gave Keen a clear win overall from Hand, with Kilsby just holding off Pelley to take third. It was great to see 19 home boats out and 8 Stokes Bay boats in the top 10 shows that, on the sea at least, Stokes Bay boats are the ones to beat!
A massive thanks to the Race office and his team, the rescue crews (who were kept very busy in the cold!), Tim Olin for taken some great photos (full link below) the galley team and everyone else who gave up their time to run an unforgettable open. The next round of the Harken GBR circuit is at Wilsonian SC on 4th and 5th May and it would be great to see another strong turnout joining the strong home fleet in a very different venue!