The sixth Interfleet Championships at Draycote Water Sailing Club proved to be the windiest yet, with some spectacular capsizes and tough competition.
The event was between six of the main fleets at Draycote and consisted of 18 short races (each with six boats – one for each fleet) in the Club’s singlehanded Pico dinghies, Warwick University’s two-man Fireflies and Onboard’s windsurfers.
At 10am, things looked doubtful for sailing as the wind was averaging 25mph, with some huge gusts flying across the water. While a decision on the sailing was awaited, the competitors were given an Olympic sailing quiz, consisting of 15 multiple choice questions, ranging from the previous Olympics in Beijing to the last one in London in 1948.
This proved to be a family affair, with Alex Filmore (daughter) claiming first place with 14 out of 15 correct, father Tim second and mother Elizabeth third.
By this time it was felt that the wind had abated sufficiently and the 6 Picos were launched.
The first race rather reflected the fortunes of the day, with the Solo fleet captain, Jon Hughes, winning, followed by the Laser’s Serena de Nahlik and then the Fireball fleet. The Lasers won the next race, with Solos second and Fireballs again third.
However, capsizes (and the ensuing compulsory retirement from that race) were affecting the other fleets as the Menagerie fleet capsized in the first two races, and the Miracle fleet in the second.
In the fourth race, the Menagerie fleet bounced back from their two previous capsizes and won the race from the Solos and then the ever consistent Fireballs. This time it was the turn of the Lasers to capsize.
After three races, there was a break for lunch, with the Solo fleet leading, and the Fireballs and Lasers equal second.
After lunch, the Fireflies and Windsurfers were launched as well and the competition got more frenetic. At various stages during the afternoon, the Fireball and Laser fleets levelled their scores with the leading Solo fleet, but they were never able to move ahead.
As the racing was drawing to a close, with two races to go, the Solos had a slender 3 point lead over the Lasers and a four-point lead over the Fireballs. However, the challengers had an appalling last Pico race, coming last and second last, and putting paid to their chances of overtaking the Solos.
The Lasers still had a two point lead over the Fireballs, but the final race of the day allowed Fireball captain, Mike Deane, to show that he has not lost his skill as a windsurfer despite many years away from it. He won the race and bought the Fireballs up to equal second with the Lasers, behind the victorious Solo fleet, who recaptured the Onboard Trophy for the second time in three years.
Picture: Malcolm Lewin