It’s official. You can have too much of a good thing, and the Nottingham Old Boats Weekend had too much wind. Some boats were actually blown over in the compound during a gust of 45 mph on Sunday, so perhaps the hosts were entitled to say it was ‘unusual’.
Apart from the wind, a great time was had by all, apparently including the complete loony who drove up from Wiltshire on Saturday morning with OK 1927, completed one lap of the first race and rather less of the second, enjoyed the social evening and then drove home that night. You know who you are, Colin.
The fleet did the Old Boats (and the CVRDA) proud. It included Solo 93, GP 28, Albacore 197 and Firefly 35, as well as OKs, Enterprises, other Solos, Albacores and GPs. There were also representatives of two ‘lost’ classes, a Turtle and a Sailfish 12. Sadly both the old Solo and the Firefly were damaged on Sunday. We had visitors from seven clubs spread from Calshot to Liverpool and altogether 14 boats took part over the two days.
Saturday started with a pursuit race ‘just for fun’. The wind direction meant that one leg was a dead run which, with the wind gusting up to the high 20s, some found much harder than others. In the end, seven boats out of 12 were led home by Clive Gimson of Melton Mowbray in S1525, pursued by Steve Bailey and Ellie Roberts in A197 and Keith Woodworth in S93.
The afternoon race had a better course, but still a lengthy downwind dead run with if anything slightly more wind. Six boats started, driven by hope rather than experience and four finished. Steve was first, followed by Clive and then Bill Sylvester in OK1984.
After so much adrenalin, the evening social was a quieter affair, but very enjoyable, with the bar at just the right height. The following morning however the bar was raised again (see what I did there?), with the wind blowing between 25 and 45 mph. Several players decided enough was enough, but there was still a fleet willing to trust their skill (and the two safety boats which were put out).
The word ‘bloodbath’ is so overused these days. Suffice to say that, from a fleet of five ‘old boats’ four retired including the damaged Firefly and Solo already mentioned. The sole survivor was Clive in his Solo, proving yet again the master. Overall, Clive was first, Steve Bailey second and Keith Woodworth third. Prizes were also awarded to Nathaniel (aged 7) for being the youngest capsizee and to Colin Page for actually bringing his own home made wetsuit (he claimed he could still get into it, but we have no proof).
Our thanks to the Race Officers and their teams for managing to get anything finished at all, to the safety boat staff who worked their backsides off on both days, to Peter Vinton of Staunton Harold who produced the essential numbers for the Pursuit Race and the handicaps for the main event, to the cooks for all the meals, and finally to all our visitors for contributing so much to a very enjoyable weekend.