Wide blue skies, soft water.

HBSC Punt Open

Snow Goose (Jane Pye and Ian Bray)
Wild Goose (John Parker and James Savage)
Emperor Goose (David Long and Oli Franzen)

The new rule is that the 3rd placed boat has the responsibility of writing the meeting report. That's fine but nobody knows who will be 3rd until its all over so note taking was not a high priority and the report can only be as seen from the 3rd boat – even though at times that view was from the helmsman swimming alongside his capsized punt!

There were 9 entries, 8 from Hickling and a big welcome to Ruth and James Owen who brought Gamecock over from Barton. The fleet were then 7 chine punts, 1 traditional and 1 Morrison.

The wind was far from gentle with a forecast to get somewhat stronger as the day went on. All races started from the clubhouse line with a somewhat lob-sided beat to mark 4 followed by an exciting reach down to mark 2 and then another beat up to mark 3 and a final reach to mark 5 and then a short beat back to the finish line.

4 laps were scheduled for race 1 which got underway with a fairly gusty wind and early leaders included Snowgoose (Jane Pye and Ian Brady), Redwing (Rupert Redington and Steve McKay) Wild Goose (John Parker and James Savage, and Emperor Goose (David Long and Oli Franzen). The reaches were very exciting and the beats quite a battle but eventually Emperor Goose took the lead but thought the race had finished after 3 laps and stopped allowing Snow Goose to pass her. Realising the error Emperor Goose commenced the chase and eventually took the lead again when Snow Goose picked up weed. The first 3 after handicaps were Emperor Goose, Snow Goose, and Gamecock.

Race 2 stared after a brief break ashore and most boats rushed to be ready in time – 3 laps this time. Emperor Goose looked as though she would be first at the first mark but realised she had the mainsheet bridle underneath the tiller giving control problems. She therefore sailed off the course to adjust matters. By the time she returned Wild Goose was well in the lead followed by Snow Goose and Redwing and that was the finishing order with Gamecock 4th on handicap. There had been several capsizes as heavy gusts were still coming in from the South West.

Race 3 commenced after a welcome break for lunch with race 4 planned back to back. These were both to be 2 lap races. Again Wild Goose got the better of the start and was pursued by Snow Goose, Emperor Goose and Redwing. The wind by now had risen still more leading to some really exciting high-speed sailing and several more capsizes. No spinnakers were flown – wisely. Wild Goose was first followed by Emperor Goose and Snow Goose.

The results so far meant that any one of the 3 “Goose” boats could win overall depending on the result of the 4th race. It started with a bit of a crash between Snow Goose and Emperor Goose at the start and the wind had increased still further with many huge gusts and several crews thinking this was the maximum wind strength they could sail a punt in! There was chaos at the first windward mark with several capsized boats littered around. Emperor Goose rounded in mid-fleet but on the reach dropped her mainsheet resulting in a capsize to windward ending her chances, although she continued around and eventually found Wild Goose capsized at mark number 3 from where she retired. Snow Goose had got away and went on to win pursued by Redwing in 2nd and an excellent 3rd place for Cliff and Chris Haslam sailing Grebe . Gamecock came in 4th and Emperor Goose 5th – no one else finished.

The overall result was Snow Goose first, Wild Goose second and Emperor Goose third.

Our thanks are due to the Club members who gave up their time to man the race box and the safety boats, which were kept quite busy and also to Chris who provided all the food and drinks – thank you all.

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19 Jul 2015, 9 a.m.
Hickling Broad Sailing Club
Open Racing