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GUL Grand Prix & Asymmetric Open South Cerney SC

    Saturday June 30th was our Asymmetric Open Meeting - what a fantastic day. Very windy but some great sailing. 12 boats, all from South Cerney, took part in the event, and were well rewarded for their effort. Liz MacDonald, race officer for the day, set a windward-leeward course with a spreader mark at the windward end which gave plenty of opportunity for making good use of the kite.

    Prior to the start there was fevered activity in the boat park, with Tom Harris struggling to fit a new bowsprit, and Alex and Mike Frost giving their 200 a clean and polish – things were definitely getting serious!


    The first race saw a force 4 wind from the SSW with violent gusts, giving an exciting windward first leg up the lake to 3. The downwind leg proved very eventful. After all the frantic work on his bowsprit,  when launching his kite, Tom found he had forgotten to attach the gennaker sheets. Remarkably he managed to drop the mass of flapping canvas and reattach the sheets whilst still racing, only then to miss his toe straps and fall head over heels out of the back of the boat. Gusts up to force 6 caused numerous capsizes, resulting in a number of boats retiring. First place in this race went to Alex and Mike Frost in their RS200, followed closely by Alex Park and Eve Williams in the V3000, and third place Graham Lewis in his Vareo.


    After lunch the wind eased off a little to a steady force 3, though still with some vicious gusts. Tactics became a little unconventional when on the start line Mark Caldecourt attempted to disable the opposition by violently capsizing on top of Andrew and Mick in the Omega, narrowly missing Andrew’s head. The first upwind leg was quite uneventful but as most boats started the downwind leg, a violent squall came through, resulting in some spectacular reaching and some equally dramatic capsizes. It was reported from the shore that Jon Hammond in his Devoti D1 was seen flying down the lake with just his rudder in the water, but could not depower so performed an emergency capsize to avoid ending up in the trees on the spit. Alex and Mike Frost finished first, followed by Tom Harris in 2nd, and James and Annette Ewance in their RS200 in 3rd place.


    The wind became more steady for the 3rd race and veered more to the SW. Whilst Liz MacDonald adjusted the marks, the heaviest rain of the day hit, giving the feeling of sailing through a car wash. However by the start of the race, conditions had improved, with some excellent sailing conditions. The steadier winds allowed Eve, crewing for Alex in the V3000, to make full use of the trapeze. Alex & Mike once again came first, followed by Alex and Eve, with Tom in third place.


    A big thank you to all who helped make the day a success – Malcolm Stone as duty officer – his photos from the day should be available in a week or two, Liz MacDonald and her race officer team for some fantastic courses, Alison Hall and the rest of the Galley team for excellent food, June Stone for doing the registrations, the safety boat crews – we certainly kept you busy, and to Pam Weeks for cooking a wonderful dinner – the perfect way to round off a great day.


    First place – Alex and Mike Frost in their RS200

    Second place – Alex Park & Eve Williams in the V3000

    Third Place –  Tom Harris in his RS Vareo

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