Optimist Open Meeting Report
Published 14:12 on 4 Sep 2023
Saturday 2nd September was our annual Optimist Open Meeting!
In the lead up to the event our race team were very excited, as entries peaked at 48 just two days before the event, the largest open meeting held at Spinnaker Sailing Club since before the first Covid-19 lockdown! Amongst the entries were a number of sailors who had taken part in the IOCA Winter Training at Spinnaker in 2022/2023, as well as familiar faces from other local clubs including Parkstone Yacht Club, Lymington (Town and Royal) and Warsash. However, as Friday passed the team were quietly concerned at a very "fluffy" forecast of just 5mph winds from the east, hardly ideal conditions for the event, and making the planned 7 races per fleet seem unlikely.
Fortunately as the race team and competitors arrived on Saturday morning the wind was stronger than forecast, and coming from the north east, one of the best wind directions at Spinnaker Sailing Club! After registration and a quick briefing from Race Officer James Oborne we headed afloat to make the most of the unexpected breeze! Races 1, 2 and 3 were quickly completed, with only a few small hiccups amongst the main fleet sailors including the entire fleet sailing 1 loop more of their outer trapezoid course than was necessary on Race 1, and a general recall on Race 2! Following Race 3 many of the sailors were asking when they could have lunch, but with the wind still blowing well they were promised lunch after one more race! Race 4 was completed by 1pm in the most consistent wind of the day.
After the shore break the sailors headed afloat again optimistic of an afternoon of great racing as the wind was still blowing! Race 5 was completed as the wind began to drop away and the direction became inconsistent, with large shifts every couple of minutes. An attempt was made to get Race 6 underway, but was abandoned as the main fleet sailed up the first beat as the wind dropped to nothing. With that attempt abandoned the course was quickly reset to give the best possible chance to complete the races if the wind returned, with the start line further to the south of the lake, and the angle shifted to allow flexibility with the position of mark 1. Just as the start line was set the wind returned and the team aboard the committee vessel quickly went into sequence to try and squeeze the last two races out of the day. The Main Fleet were all eager to get sailing and pushing the line a little resulting in their second general recall of the day. The Regatta Fleet at this point once again showed them how to start cleanly and started heading around the course as the wind dropped and shifted around. Several attempts were made to get Race 6 under way for the Main Fleet while Regatta Fleet slowly headed around the lake, but all were postponed as the wind proved fickle. Meanwhile the Regatta Fleet were slowly heading around the course, as James and his team watched, uncertain whether the race could be completed in the time limit, and constantly assessing whether the racing had remained fair. As the first few sailors from Regatta Fleet rounded mark 5 the wind did it's largest shift of the day to the south east and dropped to almost nothing. Those Regatta Fleet sailors who managed to round the final mark were able to drift across the line, while over three quarters of the fleet formed a raft between marks 3 and 5 and did not move. As the first few boats drifted over the line the decision was taken to abandon the race (and all not started) in the interest of fairness to all competitors (much to the delight of the Main Fleet).
Following a quick check of the results while the sailors tucked into the snacks provided by the club the prizegiving was held on the club patio, before a bring your own food BBQ!
A massive well done to all the competitors for their efforts during the day, and for their good nature as the wind played havoc with our plans after lunch. Also a big thankyou to our volunteer team who gave up their Saturday to run the event, without them we could not have got the sailors afloat.
1st - Charlie Holland
2nd - Rupert Garlick
3rd - Felix Garlick
1st - E.J. Ayton
2nd - Kit McCarthy
3rd - Felicity Knibb
Last updated 14:12 on 4 September 2023