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  Cecil Howard Memorial Race, 2019

As last year, the OOD decided to break away from the norm for the Cecil Howard Memorial Race and offer a downwind start.  Fortunately, conditions were light enough to make this a reasonably safe option, further reinforced by another unusual decision to space the starts 10 minutes apart - although this did mean the bigger, faster yachts were coming back through the start line while the slower yachts were still manoeuvering for their race.

A number took the decision to get above the line early and wait in the reeds until it was their turn to race.  From there it was simply a case of deciding when to begin your downwind run to the start line against a surprisingly strong tide.  Once past the factory, it was a fast close reach to the bottom buoy and a tricky gybe mark.  Get it wrong and it would be easy to end up in the reed bed or to find yourself beginning to tack sooner than those who chose a more appropriate line.

Once back past the factory and the potentially tricky corner there, it was a long and a short up Cantley Reach to the usual drift through Langley Woods, holding the lee shore, if you could, and inching through on any wind that managed to reach your sail.  Then, some more tacking and reaching up the river, past the wind shadow of the Beauchamp Arms and so to Train Reach; tacked by many and close hauled or luffed by the fortunate ones.

There were reports of a number of boats taking unplanned visits to the reedbeds or the shallow shores, but 23 of the 25 starters finished successfully and enjoyed a wait in the sunshine for the results.  This turned out to be a Green Wyvern benefit (unplanned, they said!) with boats from that club taking the top three places.  Tinkerbell, in fourth place was awarded the Ian Spoors Trophy for fastest "slow" boat not otherwise winning a trophy and Force four, to their surprise, won the other tasteful cup.  Stella Genesta was awarded the care of the David Valentine Memorial Trophy for the next year, while Simon Miles was left wondering how to get the main trophy home on the train, after Pan's win.

last edited on:  02/09/2019 at 21:26   by: The Editor