Dinghies Club Racing Race Reports

Dense Weed Bogs Down Pursuit Racers

(Published in the Chichester Observer on Thursday 7th June 2018)

The first 2 races of the DQSC Pursuit series took place in a light breeze with racing conditions that were dominated by dense patches of seaweed. One patch in particular stretched uninterrupted from around the Quay mark all the way past the Crouchers buoy. It was so dense that boats would stop dead when getting entangled in it.

Fred Hilgers (Solo) spotted it during the warmup for race 1 and plotted a route to the first mark to avoid getting near it, which paid of dramatically as he headed into the protected area behind the moored yachts for a clear beat to Crouchers. Mike Shaw (Solo) had opted for the orthodox windward position on the starting line which forced him to constantly tack in order to avoid the weed banks, opening up a gap for both Richard Bridgmont (also Solo) and Hilgers that he had no chance of closing.

With the Pico of Stephen Holcroft soon caught, Hilgers took the lead whilst tacking towards the Bowling mark. Then with the wind picking up a little, Roger Francis (Graduate) made a strong comeback, rounding Heron less than a boat length behind Hilgers to overtake Bridgmont. However an error by Francis on a broad reach to Copperas West allowed Hilgers to slip away and take first place, leaving Bridgmont and Francis to battle it out for second place. In the closing stages of the race Bridgmont edged ahead by a whisker to secure second place, leaving Francis third.

Race two looked very much like a repeat of race one but the wind seemed to have picked up a little. Andrew Buchanan in his Finn seemed the biggest beneficiary of the light breeze as he rolled up the field from his last but one starting position. At the front Hilgers and Bridgmont kept swapping positions for the lead but in the end no amount of tactics by Hilgers could hold off Bridgmont who came in first, narrowly ahead of Hilgers, with Buchanan close behind to secure third place.