#ballyholme – Thankfully the wind had dropped a bit from Saturday and racing was definitely on. The sun even made an appearance which did warm things up a bit and the breeze held out to give us a great sail for race 6 in the second part of the Ice-breaker Series. Some intrepid travellers had gone to Rome to support Ireland!.. and a few others took off for the bank holiday weekend.
The sensible people stayed at home and had a feast of rugby on the Saturday and then enjoyed a lovely Sunday afternoon on the water...followed by a few beers.
Robin Gray attempted to give us another windward leeward course but at the start the wind was not really playing ball. It was shifting and looked like it may drop, so wisely he reverted to normal course.
The Laser fleet got underway in a relatively calm start...... apart from Brian Spence who got a little excited and started his race before the gun........ He returned to start correctly but was caught by the flag!
Everyone else got away and the first beat was to the North East Mark. Most of the fleet dived to the far shore making their way up the right hand side of the beat. The wind was shifting a bit so their were gains and losses to be made. At the windward mark the leading boats had a familiar ring to them. Gareth Flannigan, Chris Boyd and David Fletcher. Also in the front of the fleet was Charlie Westhurst. Charlie was right up with the leaders and showed no sign of slipping back. Keith Storey and Paddy Brow were also going well and with Conor Brown and Andrew Kennedy this made up the sharp end of the fleet. Alex Wards dulcet tones could be heard near the front of the fleet. He was storming his way round the course and was attempting to sabotage Charlie's good race.
Hammy Baker was lurking just behind the front 3 and on the last lap he decided to play his joker. He took the opposite side of the beat and hit the left hand corner. Low and behold there was a favourable wind shift and he arrived at the windward mark on the last lap way ahead of anyone else. You could see amusement on the faces of the 3 guys who were leading up until that point.....not.
So Hammy held the lead to take his first bullet of this series and also put himself into 1st place overall. He has had a great run of results since Christmas and is putting a bit of pressure on Flipper. He is one point behind Hammy at this stage with Chris Boyd 3 points further back on 17 and David Fletcher on 20. So with 2 races left it will be a very close call between the top 4.
Mike Kimber, Keith Storey and Peter Kennedy are also having a good second series. Peter would be putting a lot more pressure on the top guys if he had managed a few more races.
In the Laser Radial fleet Jessica Rutherford recorded her second bullet of the series and moved to 1st place overall, on equal points with Tim Brow. This will make a very interesting end to this fleets series as Ryan Glyn is just 3 points behind in 3rd place and Sarah Eames in 4th
Another Rutherford leads the 4.7 fleet. Rebekah had another first on Sunday which moves her 4 points clear of Sean Ritson.
In the large dinghy fleet the "Olympic duo" of Ryan Seaton and Mat McGovern are just holding off the formidable challenge of Wiclif McCready by 1 point with Liam Donnelly 5 points further back.
Adrian Allen is again leading the way in the multi hulls with a 7 point lead over Dave Anderson.
The topper fleet is being lead by Ben Martin who is 8 points clear of Emma McKnight and 11 clear of Mark McDonough.
Only two races to go as we take a break for a week on Easter Sunday. Final race is 7th April when we plan to have a BBQ prior to the Prizegiving at 6.00pm.
Also - well done to Robbie Gilmore from SLYC and Ballyholme YC with his second place in the Europa Cup Laser Radials at Lake Garda. The RYANI Laser Radial Squad have been training hard at Ballyholme over the weekend and recent months - the first event at Baltimore will be very interesting.