OK, not as windy as last Sunday (shame!), it started off pretty well and faded through the day. But we still had sunshine, good turnout, enough wind to capsize and some interesting courses.
Race 1: roughly 10 Fireballs at the start - minor shout at Colin (he got between us and the line) not a good start, not a good first beat either, we went right, fleet went left, we came out somewhere near last at the top mark. Spent the next 2 laps catching up with people, eventually only Badders (near distance) and Pete Wood (far distance) remained. Went right up the last beat in desperation and came out just ahead of Badders at the top mark (C), wow! Kite up, charge down reach to 'N', gybe, charge down reach to 'X', somewhere pulled out a decent lead on Badders, gybe, charge down reach to 'J' and..... Hmmm, somebody has parked Pico training in the middle of this leg, possibly they are learning how to deal with fully powered up Fireballs with kite up bearing down on them on Starboard ? Anyway, person in Pico apparently attempting head on collision made unhappy noises so we bore off a bit (risky to go upwind of them with kite up - one gust and you're both toast). Wind promptly dropped, plod plod, we just got alongside Pico when we looked back and saw Badders screaming towards us, JR fully out on the trapeze, PB hiking hard, boat in a patch of water that was black with localised gust. Two boat lengths from our transom (and Pico), somebody turned the gust off, JR went in the water, boat nearly went in to windward, whole lot stopped dead, presumably to great relief of Pico sailor (and me). While they recover we plodded off and finished a titchy bit ahead of them when they found they couldn't get past the pontoon without tacking. Pete Wood had finished long ago and was halfway through his lunch by this stage. Honourable mention to Pat and Jane who manfully (and womanfully) plodded home about 30 minutes later, hopefully having enjoyed themselves and certainly getting max value for money out of that particular race.
Race 2: Distinctly less windy, somebody over the line at the start, ODs gave extra hoot and pointed in my direction, but couldn't be me as I was buried by John and Jim and making another crap start (pretty sure it was Mo actually). Gasping for oxygen at this point, we tacked off and went right while everyone else bounded off left. Got a bit of a lift towards the shore, then headed, tacked (natch) and got lifted so we were laying 'C'. At this point the entire rest of the fleet were apparently down the toilet, and although they did recover a bit towards the end, we still popped round 'C' before anyone else. Mo was hard on our heels though, and Badders not far behind him. Broad reach down to 'Y', still quite quick though, then close reach to 'N', where Badders overtook Mo, then off to 'X', then 'J', loads of kite legs and kite gybes to keep the crew happy. Beat up past OL to 'K', then kite up for close reach to 'S' and start again. We went right up the next beat, Badders went left and nearly caught us, everyone else followed us but they were all pretty close at the end of the beat. More reaches followed, somewhere before 'J' we had a personal gust and left Badders behind. Wind then dropped off hugely halfway to 'J', turning our 30 second lead into a 5 minute lead. Plod up to OL, then K, then pick up some wind and scoot off to 'S' while rest of fleet still languishing in the doldrums around 'J'. Lead now roughly 10 minutes, surely even I cannot lose from here. Wind now a bit light n fluffy, so headed left for the patch in the middle of the lake, but it eluded us. Meanwhile we were being lifted big time (good), and the rest of the fleet when they arrived at 'S' found that they'd got the lift too and could lay 'C' on starboard without tacking. Yours truly is now somewhere near 'Y', still on starboard, still being lifted and looking at getting back to the RHS of the beat without losing too much ground. Well we ended up with the fleet back on our heels again, but fortunately not quite close enough to catch us. Zoom back down the reaches for the last time, find that Pico training now parked on the 'N'-'X' reach for more instruction in the noble art of Fireball avoidance, navigate through that lot and off to the finish line. Hurrah!
We later discovered that Pete Wood had capsized en-route to 'J' at some point, which might have explained his general absence throughout the proceedings. Hahaha (sorry).
Race 3: No wind, rookie crew, we won due to Helen throwing the lead away between J and OL. Fabulous turnout of RS300s in that one, possibly more of them than all other fleets combined.
Thanks to the OD team for doing a flawless job, and to whoever was providing the weather (perhaps a bit more wind next time please). To say I am getting good value for money out of my sailing at present would be a big understatement. This stuff is priceless!