There was an excellent turnout for the Dragon Regatta in some typical Easter weather - light to non-existent wind, strong tides and icy rain. Fourteen boats entered including four visitors, two of them from Belgium, and had very good racing. There were five different race winners over the six races - Avalanche (the Wades), Anarchy (Chip Cole), Integrity (Ian Gray), Sabbatical (Dan Wastnage) and Beauty and the Beast (Peter Marchant). Andrew (Noddy) Norden, the new Dragon Class Captain, reports:
Sunday 1st April was the concluding day of the regatta. Twelve teams came to the line set across the river between Fairway Buoys 13 and 15 with a beat towards Black Point. Three races would decide the overall positions.
Race four saw the whole fleet away cleanly and boats opted for the South shore on all downwind legs. Avalanche led at the finish, followed home by Beauty and the Beast and Pageboy XI.
While the fleet prepared for race five, the Race Team decided to give the teams something to think about and re-set the leeward gate with an offset, moving the Northerly gate mark, that was in most adverse current, to windward. At the top mark it was Ian Gray from the front of the fleet, Selina Dicker from mid fleet and Xavier Vanneste from the back of the fleet that opted for the North shore downwind. A decisive move that saw them round the gate, and finish the race, in the top three places ahead of the nine boats that stayed loyal to the South shore on the first downwind.
The discard came into play after race five and it was tight at the top. On the water the teams were unsure of just how close things were, so all was to play for in race six. The wind, as expected, started to drop and the upwind leg was reduced in length twice to try and maintain a six leg race. The fleet was split on the final downwind with Beauty and The Beast to the South and Avalanche to the North. As the wind died it was Avalanche who suffered most as they needed to overcome more current to finish at the Committee Boat while Beauty picked up a puff to finish first at the pin. Integrity finished third.
When the overall scores were posted Avalanche (Mark Wade, Mandy Wade, Nigel Cole) were victorious over Beauty and the Beast (Peter Marchant, Kaite Cole, Chris Brittain), both on twelve points, but Avalanche with two race wins to Beauty’s one. Third was Anarchy (Chip Cole, Nicola Hastwell, Simon Holland-Brown) on eighteeen points. Fourth placed Integrity (Ian Gray, Alex Burnett, Rene Nel) finished ahead of fifth placed Sabbatical (Dan Wastnage, Harriet Butler, Mark Hart) both on twenty-one points.
Daily race prizes were awarded in the bar ahead of a delicious Prize Giving Dinner at the RCYC. Team Avalanche collected the Easter Rose Bowl from Commodore and runner up Peter Marchant before Mark Wade repeated the Fleet Captain’s numerous thank yous to the Race Team, the home fleet, visitors, and the team at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club who look after us so well.
No racing was scheduled for Easter Monday – a welcome change to the Easter racing schedule. Burnham Fleet club racing resumes on Saturday 07 April.
Andrew 'Noddy' Norden