United Kingdom

28/05/2005
RS Fat Face Racing Circuit Largs SC

A small, but select band of three intrepid 600 sailors arrived at Largs on the Friday afternoon to be greeted by a combination of warm hospitality and cold easterly winds gusting up to 47 knots (Force 9). With the nearby power station at Hunterston recording 76 knots overnight resulting in several boats and competitors tents being blown away, the forecast looked less than promising for the first day of racing on the Saturday. After several postponements for the high winds, race officer David Kent had no alternative but to abandon racing for the day. The numbers were swelled to four by the arrival of Paul Smalley who joined the others in the bar for the evening's entertainnent along with prayers for better conditions on Sunday. These were obviously answered as sunday dawned with sunshine and a nice force 3-4 from the west. In race 1 Jamie Mawson made the best start and crossed the fleet early up the first beat. Unfortunately he then overstood the windward mark allowing Ian (Spiderman) Marshall through into the lead. The gaps opened up and positions remained the same till the finish with Marshall winning followed by Mawson and Smalley. Mawson again made a near perfect start in race 2 , but this time he made no mistake and led all the way to the finish with Marshall chasing hard and Smalley again in third with Mark Haine from Prestwick (surprisingly the only Scottish entrant) trailing in fourth. Race 3 started in slightly more wind and this time it was Smalley who established an early lead from a cracking port tack start. Marshall stayed in touch and closed right up several times, but was unable to pass Smalley who protected his lead on the last reach by luffing hard until he could bear away sharply for the finish. Mawson couldn't quite catch the leaders in spite of their close fought battle and came in third. With a fourth race in prospect bringing a discard into play any one of three sailors could still win overall by taking the last race. No surprise then that all three pushed hard at the start electing to start on port at the pin end. Marshall popped out of the middle of the group with Smalley to windward and climbing, but losing ground. Mawson was dropping back into dirty air so tacked off early onto starboard leaving the other two going out to the layline. Smalley tacked first, but could only just lay the mark allowing Marshall to crack off and sail across him to round first. A tense battle ensued with Smalley closing the gap downwind and Marshall protecting his lead upwind. Mawson chased hard splitting left up the beat, but lost further ground having to double tack for the mark. A gybing duel on the run closed the gap between the leaders, but Marshall was able to round the last mark first and reach to the finish to secure the overall win. With Smalley finishing second and Mawson third, these two ended up with identical scores, however the tie break went to Smalley for second overall with Mawson third and Haine a valiant fourth. Overall, a well run event at a top venue with first class facilities and extremely genial hosts, well done Largs.
1. 979/654 Ian Marshall RASFA & Oxford SC 4 1 1 2 2 1 2. 9/401 Paul Smalley Chew Valley SC 6 2 3 3 1 2 3. 861 James Manson Ulley SC 6 3 2 1 3 3 4. 677 Mark Haine Prestwick SC 12 4 4 4 4 4
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