Early start can’t faze Dell Quay sailors

The Handicap fleet in action at Dell Quay
The Handicap fleet in action at Dell Quay

RACES three and four in the Dell Quay Early Helm series attracted 11 boats.

Sailors weren’t put off by the early start and forecast wind and rain and they had some really exciting sailing in full sunshine but with quite a few spills.

The third race of the series started in a fairly steady force three to four wind with a long beat to Copperas East. With the fleet staying close to the west shore, a favourable wind shift allowed some trailing boats to catch up. 

The Buzz of Roger Francis and Ranjit Verghese built a commanding lead over from the RS400s and 2000s, who were all enjoying the lively reaches. 

By the second lap the Buzz was a full leg ahead of the following RS400s and 2000s, only to capsize on the last gybe mark. Two of the three RS400s followed suit, leaving the upright and very well-sailed 2000 of Warwick Hoddy and John Denyer to come in first on handicap.

Graham and Lucy Dalton (2000) took second place with Gordon Barclay (Solo) coming third.

A reduced fleet came to the line for race four. With the wind now gusting force five to six there were tricky shifts throughout. 

Once again the Buzz and RS400s blasted off, with the 2000s in close pursuit. Francis and Verghese capsized early, losing what had been a great position. 

There were some screaming reaches throughout, with quite a few capsizes, particularly near the gybe mark.

Approaching Quay mark, a fouled spinnaker halyard caused the sail to go right under Hoddy and Denyer’s 2000, leading to the first of several retirements.

Fastest on the water but sailing conservatively to stay upright were Peter King and Jamie Prescott in the leading 400, dropping to fourth place on handicap.

The Daltons were close behind taking an easy win on handicap, with second going to Barclay followed by Francis and Verghese in third.