Avon & Somerset Constabulary Sailing Section -
Report, Results and Picture-gallery below
Whether it was the event being so early in the season or the forecast of little wind, but only 13 boats this year made it onto the water. Half the fleet were visitors which was the good news. No-one could have predicted that the conditions would be so unseasonal with bright sunshine and soaring temperatures. Besides the usual travellers, John Oldham (Met), usually offshoring, turned out in a Laser and a welcome fresh face to police sailing was Martin Smith (British Transport Police) sailing a Merlin Rocket aptly named "Fat Boy Slim"..
Keith Harris, the Race Officer held a formal briefing at 10.30am but, with no wind, proceedings were unlikely to start on time. As it was, lunch was taken early and with competitors hovering whether to pack up or wait, a decision was made and racing eventually started at 2.30pm. The fact that racing took place at all is due in no small way to the Race Officer who took the trouble to ring round the county to see whether any wind was ever likely to arrive. So it did and, with just enough wind to get boats afloat and point in the direction of the start line, racing commenced.
Race One. The course was a simple triangle over a small course. With an airy-fairy wind, the chances of getting a perfect start line was remote and the Race Officer was intent on getting boats racing. In a 'mixed' class fleet the prevailing conditions were always going to help some boats more than others. On top of that, the Race Officer had earlier announced that a boat's PY would be according to the Sailing Club's own ratings based on the history built up from results of locally sailed classes. Thus, for example the PY for Lasers (1082) was 1115 whereas the Phantoms (1031) was downed to 1018. For once, the Phantoms were going to find it exceedingly tough, particularly in the conditions which could change at any moment - and did. After the start, the beat slowly changed to a reach and boats on the right hand side of the course made the first mark on one tack with ease; but slowly. Nick Mason managed to round the first mark in the lead but only just, from Ian Ingram's Enterprise followed by two Lasers. On the small course, the 2 lap race took just over 35 minutes for Mason to finish and by this time the wind had completely changed direction. Finishing 1 minute and 20 seconds later the Enterprise (off 1140 instead of 1117) had time in hand to win the race by over a minute on corrected time from Tony Hylands (Laser) second with Mason a respectable third considering his handicap.
Race Two. The course, another triangle was now set for a beat, but in the opposite direction to Race One. The light wind was still swinging making it difficult to set an accurate line for the start. More by luck than judgement Sivers (Laser) found himself in prime position for the start at the port end of the line. Up the beat the wind remained light and patchy so that boats disadvantaged at the start, found enough wind to push ahead still sailing on port. Leaders then tacked off to reach the mark with the Enterprise just ahead of the Phantoms. Whereas the fleet spread out on the way to the wing mark, after rounding, boats began to bunch up in the lessening breeze (less of a breeze; more a puff). Leading boats got involved in a bit of a luffing match allowing those behind to catch up as the leg became almost a run. Nevertheless, the wind direction remained true enough to make a beat up to the top mark, then the short leg to the finish after one lap by which time the wind was giving up. This time it was the Phantom of Ken Daniels that crossed the line first with Martin Smith and Karen Beston in the Merlin (1006 off 1021) 22 seconds behind and just 2 seconds ahead of the Enterprise. Meanwhile it took over 55 minutes for Barbara Bradley in the lone Topper to finish and confirm that all the starters eventually completed the course. Due credit for persistence.
Enough was enough and the Race Officer decided that there was no point in trying for a third race. It's a rare event at Chew for a police regatta to be cancelled and with two races completed, it justified the efforts of the organisers to get a regatta on the calendar completed in this difficult year - and for the visitors to attend. Congratulations to the winners Ian Ingram and Marie Bond. Although it might be considered as perfect drifting for an Enterprise, the races still had to be won in the trying conditions and although the local handicap ratings were no doubt a bit of a shock, it was good to meet up again and get an event completed in this Olympic year when police regattas will be few and far between.
Click here to view details of Avon & Somerset Police Regatta, 2011
Avon & Somerset Constabulary Sailing Section hosted the Police National Laser & Dinghy Championships, 2010 and did not run their normal Police Open Regatta in 2010.
Full details regarding that event appear on
Police Sport UK Dinghy Championships page.
2001 - 2009
Click here to view details of previous Avon & Somerset police regattas
Also on the Avon & Somerset 'Stats' page.