Report by Gerald New
Photos ©Steve Bell/www.fotoboat.com
The Flying 15 worlds fleet completed one race on Wednesday which was won by Graham Vials and Chris Turner. Second were Ian Cleaver and Steve Milne, third Brett Dingwall and Jonathan Clark.
The Derwent Water pair continued their low scoring path to the Flying 15 World title despite the light, fickle wind out in Hayling Bay Wednesday. The fleet launched early and then spent over four hours waiting for the wind to settle for any reasonable amount of time. It wasn't until around 13:00 hrs that it rose above 5 knots.
The 60 boats of the gold fleet eventually got away in a northerly of 6 to 7 knots. Series leaders, Vials and Turner had an average start and worked the shifts, while keeping a watch on nearest rivals, Mike and Gemma McIntyre. At the top mark Nigel and Gavin Tullett led from Matt Owen and Andrew Reed with Vials and Turner rounding third.
The wind had gone left and made a tight reach and then a broad run. The second beat was a long starboard tack with the tide and at the spreader marks, Vials and Turner took the right hand and Ian Cleaver and Steve Milne the left. From here Vials and Turner took the lead and eventually a comfortable win. Clever and Milne were second and Dingwall and Clark third.
Graham described the conditions, "just like Lake sailing", which might explain the five inland-water based boats in the top seven today. Not quite how some would describe the difficult conditions they have experienced for most of the two weeks of the championships. The normal sea-breeze dominated sailing in Hayling Bay has been conspicuous by its absence. And conditions show little sign of improving for the final day.
At the suggestion that they might have found things very different in a stronger breeze, being a lightweight crew, Graham pointed out that they were using a different rig to the norm for the class. A softer Alto mast and a mainsail with more luff curve in the head which he felt helped them stay with the heavier crews. Their Ovington hull is a standard Mk 10 with an extra layer of carbon.
An early start has been posted again for Thursday, with the hope of completing the two final races, but for Vials and Turner it looks to be little more than a formality. Staying close to Mike and Gemma McIntyre will be their priority, but they are sailing so well this week they will have to try very hard to miss the top podium spot.
The Classic/Silver fleet completed two races today. First Classic race won by Bobby Salmond and Robert Till GBR627. Second race by David Morgan and Lorena Walden GBR2663. Overall Salmond and Till lead from Morgan and Walden. In the Silver fleet, Hachez Veronique and Pitou Vanderpoel BEL2818 won the first race, Mike Pelegrin and Erwan Gouriou FRA3164 the second race. Malcolm and Alex Hall lead the Silver overall.
Unfortunately we only have reports on the Second Day
Two races completed on day 2 of the Flying 15 World Championships at Hayling Island SC. Another day of shifts and holes for the fleets. Winners in the Blue fleet were first race Greg Wells and Mark Darling. Second race Russell Peters and Tim Hall. Winners in the Yellow fleet were Graham Vials and Chris Turner taking both races, which with a third from day 1 puts them clear leaders overall, 14 points ahead of Ron Packer and Peter Mudford from Australia, with Wells and Darling in third place.
Winners in the Classic/Silver fleet were Malcolm Hall and Alex Hall, which takes them into the overall lead and first Silver boat. First Classic overall are Gavin Cassidy and Lucy Clough.
Some of the comments by competitors after Saturdays racing are unrepeatable here, not through any fault of the race organisation, but a general frustration at the continuing unsettled, unpredictable conditions that they are experiencing out in Hayling Bay. But that could all be yesterday's news if the weather forecast is correct. Sunday is predicted to be west or southwest, force 4 or 5 gusting 6.
One team that did not seem to be upset by the conditions was Graham Vials and Chris Turner. With two wins today, added to their third place in Friday's race, they have a 14 point lead and are the only pair to still be in single figures, which after only three races highlights the difficulties others are experiencing here.
Vials was succinct with his race description - Race 1, the pivot point was the second beat when there was a 30 degree shift "got that right", that took them from eighth to third, picking off the other two (Alan Bax/Bill Masterman and Grant Alderson/Dean McAullay) on the final beat.
Race 2, Steve Goacher and Phil Evans rounded the weather mark first with Vials and Turner second, "Got him at the gybe mark, and then to the line" . . . Game over for the day. Goacher who was over the line in his first race and recovered to 11th, commented; "Got to keep your sense of humour in these conditions."
Greg Wells and Mark Darling won the first race of the blue flight, getting the choice of side right with most pressure on the right-hand side and then the second beat turning into a reach. They were not so fortunate in race 2 when the left-hand side paid, finishing in 17th.
Winners of race 2 were Russell Peters and Tim Hall, who had not had a happy series until then. Peters commented: "We were fifth most of the way and third on the final run and got the win on the final beat. No skill involved - luck. The first two tacked on the final mark we waited and then won by a boat length."
They finished ahead of Mike and Mark Green from St Lucia, with Ireland’s Brian McKee and Ian Smyth third.
Overall, Vials and Turner are clear leaders, but with quite a few others with two good results, waiting for the discard to remove their bad result. Outside the top three many are nursing a potential discard.
Down in fifth Kiwis Sandall and Robinson have a 1 and 6, in 12th Bax and Masterman have a 2 and 3, in 16th Aussie Alderson and McAullay have a 3 and 4 and in 30th Ireland's McKee and Smyth have a 1 and 3. If Vials and Turner hit the buffers at any point, the leader board could quickly change. And with three races scheduled for Sunday with a decent breeze things could look very different come Sunday evening.