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IOM Thames Trophy at Coalhouse Fort MYC 12/5/24

The fleet of 13 skippers, ranging in ability from seasoned campaigners to first time open event entrants, were greeted by cloudless skies & an ENE wind of around around 7kts. After the briefing, racing commenced at 10am on a windward/leeward course incorporating a downwind gate. Only 4 races sailed in this format before the wind swung more easterly, dictating a course change.

The narrowness of the lake can be problematical when course setting in an easterly, with the only real option a zig zag course up the lake to provide decent race length. Race 5 was restarted when it became apparent half the fleet had yet to programme their sat navs to the new course, but a quick reminder from the race team prevented further issues for the rest of the day.

Race 1 saw Dennis Graham use his local knowledge to take the win from Mark Dennis, with Vernon Appleton in third. Race 2 saw Mark improve 1 place to take the win, Dave Green in second & Ben Harker in third. This was to set the pattern for the day with both Mark & Dave sailing consistently, whilst Vernon, Ben & Dave Hope were always in the mix. Lunch was called after race 8 with Mark Dennis just heading Dave Green by 3 points.

Suitably refreshed, racing resumed at 1.15pm in a slightly stronger wind of around 10kts on an unchanged course. Mark & Dave continued where they had left off, regularly taking the top 3 places, whilst Vernon, Ben & Dave Hope were always there or thereabouts. The stronger wind shortened race times just enough to squeeze in 16 races by the cut off time of 4 pm & the all important 3rd discard to come into force.

Despite the zig zag course effectively giving 2 windward marks on the far side of the lake every lap, on water discipline was very good, & everyone took any penalties with little encouragement. Only 3 boats recalled OCS at the starts all day, 2 of them in one race when a gust hit the line at the last second, could possibly be a record for an open event? Plenty of good, fast, close racing throughout the fleet in perfect weather provided great entertainment for both competitors & the many spectators who gathered in this public park all day.

The final scores show just 5 points separating 3rd, 4th & 5th places, then a gap to Dave Green in second, finishing just 4 points behind the winner of this years Thames Trophy, Mark Dennis. Congratulations to Mark on the win & a huge thank you to all who competed for making it such an enjoyable event, & so easy to police for the race team.

Gleen Meekcoms



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