The last chance for a practice under ‘race conditions’ before The Worlds. Zephyrus, in particular, was trying hard.
Race Officer Michael Knox set a course beginning with a beat to B, off Silvers. The outer end of the fixed starting line was favoured, which led to the usual argy bargy on the approach. Thalia was aggressive to begin with, luffing Iris, but she was early and her challenge faded as she was obliged to bear away. Catriona took up the gauntlet and squeezed out Iris at the pin. She too was a few seconds early and had to return. Hermes, Zephyrus and Thalia had the benefit of boat speed. Their start was at the right time, if not quite the right place. They were looking strong. Athene was also premature, but she did not notice and so did not return.
As is their wont, the fleet made down the Shandon shore and into the club moorings before tacking across the loch to B. Catriona, who needed all the help she could get, had noticed the Sonar, Grouse, do well down the middle. The ebb tide a help. She followed and crossed all but Zephyrus. On the tack into the mark, Iris again suffered disturbed air from Catriona and fell back.
Downwind to G, on the Shandon shore, Catriona was clear of the rest and prospered. Zephyrus, Thalia and Iris were close enough to be concerned about taking each other’s air. The consequent manoeuvring slowed them. Zephyrus was the first of that group to harden up at G for the beat across the loch to C at Clynder.
There was time for a second round, shorter than the first. Zephyrus took a long time to emerge from the Club moorings on the second beat to B and lost places. Hermes and Thalia strong too.
On the final leg, there was a deep, deep hole in the wind around the finishing area. Catriona highlighted it for the others. First Iris, then Zephyrus, Thalia, Hermes, Athene sailed past. Ceres had only just begun the last leg when all this unfolded. She came roaring up with her spinnaker full.
1 Thalia, 2 Zephyrus, 3 Iris, 4 Catriona, 5 Ceres, 6 Hermes, 7 Luna. Athene OCS.