Posted on September 29, 2017 by FFI Secretary
Royal Cornwall Yacht Club, Falmouth - 27 - 30 September
By mid-morning as the fleet went afloat for day 3 of the 2017 CARRS Land Rover Flying Fifteen National Championships in Falmouth, the odd rain shower cleared and the breeze shifted to a Westerly direction for three more races in superb sailing conditions.
With 6 races completed the championship will be decided on the final day with the top three boats separated by only 2 points. Two outstanding performances stood out today, in some slightly fresher and gusty winds. Richard Lovering and Matt Alvarado from Hayling Island SC, scored an impressive 1,2,3 to finish the day tied for the overall lead with Charles Apthorp and Alan Green also representing HISC.
The other standout crew of the day was Ian Cadwallader and Dave Sweet from Chew Valley Lake SC, who followed a 6th with two bullets, to climb up into 4th position overall.
PRO Peter Saxton again managed to get racing started bang on time at 1200 noon with another T2 Course (w/l leg followed by a triangle). The breeze began around 8 knots slowly building up into the low teens by the finish. Another well behaved start and an even split up the course on both legs of the w/l lap suggested Race Management had set a good course.
Lovering/Alvarado were the early leaders on lap 1 from Apthorp/Green and a great performance by Graham and Ben Scroggie in the mix. By the second lap, Lovering/Alvarado had established a safe lead to take the gun, but cutting through the fleet like a knife through butter was Christopher Avery and John Rohde from Draycote Water SC, who scored their best result of the championship by far crossing 2nd. The Anglo/Irish duo Apthorp/Green settled for 3rd.
The early haze began to clear and again the breeze pushed up a notch tempting race management to lengthen the course for the second race of the day. Again another clean start and again the upwind split was fairly even. Gusts begun to appear across the course and the fleet of Fifteens were able to get on the plane on the broad reaches.
This time although Apthorp/Green were the early leaders, it was Cadwallader/Sweet who was the team that seemed to be reading the conditions the best. The Chew Valley Lake crew got away with the hammer down to take their first win of the championship and become the 5th different race winner in 5 races. Lovering/Alvarado moved up to 2nd and current UK title holders, Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett (DWSC) gained places to finish 3rd. Apthorp/Green dropped to 5th and with the first discard coming into play the overall positions were very tight at the top.
Ian Cadwallader sums up his performance edge today:
“We have sailed here in Falmouth quite a bit and Dave is a local Falmouth boy so it is pretty special to get the wins and with all the hard work we put in, we enjoyed it, so yes a good day at the office.”
“I have never been quite so close to the fuelling tankers that were out there and the tide was quite interesting, so there were lots of things to think about. The wind was Westerly so quite shifty, that suits a lake sailor like me. The last race was quite open out there, a bit different to the conditions we get on the lake.”
The final race of the day started in slightly fresher conditions up to 14-15 knots with higher gusts. Because the PRO had done such a good job of getting races completed in the target time, the final race was stretched to 3 laps, (w/l, triangle, w/l).
The closest start of the championship to date but the direction remained fairly steady at 255 degrees. Again the form boats of the day were the leaders, Cadwallader/Sweet were on fire, extending their lead on every leg of the course from the Scroggies and Lovering/Alvarado who fought it out for the other podium places.
Richard Lovering felt he had a bit of lady luck on his side:
“We had a bit of luck in the first race of the day, we saw a bit of pin bias and popped out and had reasonable pace. The second race got a bit funky but we were fast and got a bit of luck. We managed to get some clean lanes. The third race we were very fast in the first downwind, and that got us out of jail, but we were also a bit lucky, to be honest as some of our competitors ahead of us had gear breakdowns and one guy got yellow flagged (Davy/Huett) so that gave us a few places.
We like the breezier conditions and we felt pretty fast both up and downwind today. We will have a couple of beers tonight and get a good nights sleep for the final day.”
The other top contenders, Apthorp/Green struggled for pace in the final race of the day but managed to pull back to a respectable 7th, their discard. Davy/Huett also had to fight back from a yellow flag penalty on the triangle, to finish with a banker, 5th. However, the current World Champions, Steve Goacher and Tim Harper (Royal Windermere YC) had a day to forget (by their own high standards!), dropping to 6th overall with 10,7,15 for the day.
The final day of racing on Saturday has a maximum of 2 races with no start after 1500 hrs so the title will be decided on the last day.
Link to results: http://www.royalcornwallyachtclub.org/testresults/FFSeries.html
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By Jonny Fullerton on behalf of Flying Fifteen International