After two second place finishes yesterday, Sam Watson and Andy Thompson are still holding first place overall at the GP14 UK Nationals in Abersoch North Wales writes Andy Johnson. Jim Hunt and Liz Senior are in second, however conditions today suited Mike Senior & Chris White, who had a tremendous day taking a second and two race wins.
There was another good day for young Peter Boyle from Sutton Dinghy Club of Dublin Bay as he competes at the top end of the UK GP14 fleet.
Racing featured a start rather than gate start and after a poor first beat, Boyle recovered well to get into the teens. A superb fifth in Race four and consistency in Race 5 & 6 see them consolidate their seventh place going into the last three races. Another SDC crew Hugh Gill & young Joe Doherty had good first race finishing with an 11 and got great position at the pin end for a line start and despite not having a watch onboard found themselves in top two around weather mark and and sailed well to take 10th which meant they had honour of being pathfinder for gate start in last race of the day. As pathfinder, there was no shift to provide any great advantage but Hugh and Joe managed to get home in 17th and jump up to 22nd overall.
Speaking with Stephen Boyle, Peter's father and crew earlier evening he gave a short update on their day.
"With racing blown out yesterday, today was an early start at 10:30 and 3 races on the cards. The Race Officer set the course down towards Pwllheli end of the bay, with wind force 5 ish blowing directly from Abersoch and tide due to change from flood to ebb at 1300 the beats saw a regular shift pattern with right-hand side towards the land zone of compression slightly favoured and more shifty throughout the day. Race 1 gate start got a good start first 1/3 of the gate and hammered up left-hand side, took a few shifts to work right but those boats who worked right early towards the land were favoured with Mike Senior taking the lead at the weather mark, we were third. Triangle sausage triangle was the course but the RO finished it after the sausage. We clocked a 5th and fairly happy with speed and boat handling.
Race2 we got caught out a little as the RO opted for triangle sausage triangle with a line start for a bit of variety but recovered well to get into the teens.
Port and towards the sea favoured and Hugh Gill took the pin after some jockeying, despite not having the time which was gratefully overheard from a neighbouring boat. They worked left initially and then took a shift to work back right towards the beach arriving first at weather mark to Mike Senior in second. They slipped back a bit on the corners due to slicker boat handling by more practiced crews but finished a very creditable 10th.
Race 3 it was back to gates with the tide now in full ebb the tactical decision was left for tide or right for shifts and more breeze in confession zone by the land. We opted to start first 1/3 in the gate and got a cracker with Sam Watson immediately to weather. After a few minutes, they couldn't live with us and tacked to port but were happy to see Mike Senior and pathfinder Hugh Gill still with reach. We went far left for the tide two tacking it and raced in on port layline with John Hayes one boat length ahead and to leeward. The boats that went right hooked into shifts and boat sides arrived simultaneously with Hayes opting to try his luck at weather mark inside three lengths only to suffer turns. We bailed out opting to duck but the tiller wrapped on the horse saw us charge downwind on port at onrushing starboard tack parade moving from 3rd to late teens in less than a minute. Three triangles and good speed on the beats pulled us back to 13th by the finish.
Overall a great day's sport saw the fleet in good form enjoying the post-race beers on a sunny beach in Abersoch"