The intrepid classic and vintage dinghy racing enthusiasts arrived at a windy, overcast and quite chilly Bough Beech for the second CVRDA event to be held there. By far the biggest turnout was the Merlin Rockets, 6 in total, 7 including number 36 that decided the wind was a little too much and so did not enter. The ages varied from 1954 (507) to newly qualifying 3394.
The other doublehanders were Hornet 191, Jollyboat 9 which are both mid 1950’s together with a 1961 Albacore, a rare Wildfire, a classic Firefly sailed single handed and Unit 7. All looked beautiful though the scene would have been pleasing with some sunshine which eluded the event.
The racing got underway in a F4 which built throughout the day. The racing was very competitive with Merlin 3025 taking an early lead before retiring due to a breakage. The rest of the fleet were not far behind with the lead changing each lap as the wind strengthened. The line honours went to Jollyboat 9 with 2 Merlins and Unit 7 close behind. By this time ominous dark clouds were moving rapidly across the sky and the race officer very wisely decided to call for an early lunch. By this time MR 3025 was back on the water!
After lunch the race officer announced an attempt to get 3 races completed in the afternoon but the wind, having abated a little, was now strengthening once again. A couple of entrants decided against racing in the afternoon due to the conditions and were to be joined by a number of others as the afternoon wore on and the wind continued to build accompanied by some viscous gusts. MR 3025 was the early leader of race 2 with the faster part of the fleet not far behind. J9 accelerated past the chasing fleet on a reach to the leeward mark and then capsized just past it, hit by a gust that the light crew and somewhat heavier helm could not cope with. After two more capsizes J9 retired for the day though was not the first to sail in. The wind continued to strengthen and the gusts just got stronger so the race office abandoned racing for the day after race 3. A very experienced sailor said afterwards “was as windy as you’d ever want to sail a dinghy in, let along a 36 year old classic….”.
The CVRDA was very welcome at Bough Beech and hopefully we will see them and many more in 2011. As one said “my thanks also to the Bough Beech team wonderful day, great race team and lovely cakes.”