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News - Latest News
14 Apr 2012

2012 Easter Egg Equaliser


The first special event of the year was held on Easter Monday 9th April. As a season's warm-up the weather hadn't read the script; it was cold and wet. 15 hardy boats entered the second running of the equaliser.

It's called the equaliser because, for one day only, the format tries to take boat type and sailors' experience and ability out of the equation and allows all comers to compete on an equal footing against each other in one fleet; so may the best sailor on the day win!

The first race was a non-discardable handicap race. How do you play it do you go for broke or do you put the brakes on and give yourself an advantage in the afternoon?

Graham Newton and Mark Stephens in their Fireball only know one way. They sailed flat and fast in the gusty 12/15 knots of breeze to win the race. They were followed by Peter Gray and Richard Pepperdine in the Scorpion, who were playing it cannily and reckoned a couple of extra tacks before the finish would give them a better personal handicap for races two and three. Andy and Lesley Foskett in their Fireball took this strategy to the extreme by throwing in a spectacular capsize half-way round. Ollie Needham and Cory Newton in the 29er nailed a pin end start and led from start to finish on the water to finish third on handicap.

While Lesley Foskett and Diana Pepperdine (who had both sailed the first race!) served up lunch, the race team calculated personal handicaps based on the results of the first race and allocated start times for the two pursuit races to be sailed in the afternoon. This threw up a few anomalies. As pursuit racing at SHSC is based on a Mirror dinghy sailing for 75 minutes, our younger sailors who were sailing slower boats or had struggled with the gusty conditions had start times of -15 and -9, it was going to be a long afternoon for these guys.

For race two the wind had moved right and dropped so the first beat was the length of the lake to mark three. Fifteen minutes before the normal start of the race, while the adults were still having a rest on shore, Chloe in her Optimist and Marcus and Ollie in their 405 set off, followed six minutes later by Eleanor in her Topper and then a steady stream of the other competitors until the 29er began almost 40 minutes and two laps after the Oppie with only 50 minutes of racing left. With such a spread of boats it was hard for spectators to keep track of who was leading until the race began to unwind in the closing minutes. Nigel Fearn in his Comet had led most of the way but in the dying seconds was passed by the winners Andy and Lesley (was their swimming strategy working?), Nigel and Diana Pepperdine second in their RS200, Ollie and Corey third and Grahame and Mark in fourth place.

Chloe's support team were very organised and sent her sandwiches to eat on the water so after a brief pause and with the wind strengthening race three was begun. One of these pursuit race results would be discarded so the tension was mounting as the early boats set off up the lake. The later sailors could be heard worrying if the wind was going to die and the early boats would have an 'unfair' advantage. However the wind held and a combination of the gusty conditions and tiring, early season muscles meant that the safety teams were much in demand with plenty of capsizes. Nick Kindon and Paul Munro had only turned up to give their families some power boat practice ahead of them doing their PB2 course but volunteered to do extra duties supporting the rostered pair of Ian and Howard, returning sailors to their boats and righting dinghies.

Only eight boats managed to finish the race which was won by Andy and Matt (what - no Lesley?), followed by Graham and Mark and then the Laser boys Richard Barnett and Russ Coggrave and Chloe in a creditable fifth. Peter and Richard P. had a 'moment' and thought that the displaying of the blue flag was a sign that the race had finished, but instead of holding position they headed for the shore. Richard Barnett in his Laser was sailing fast but as he completed his first lap it coincided with the horn sounding for the start of the last Fireball, so he sailed over to the committee boat to find out what he had done wrong!

Baskets of Easter eggs and crates of wine went to the overall winners Grahame and Mark, the runners up Andy and Lesley, and in third Peter and Richard. Which goes to show that probably the best tactic is to sail as well as you can in all three races?

Junior prizes and everyone's admiration went to Chloe and Eleanor who completed all three races and had spent almost four hours racing. Watch out for them this season.