19th March 2017 race report

The racing season at Tamar Lake was due to start on 5 March but the weather was too stormy. There was again too much wind on the 12th. So by the 19th there were a few gritty enthusiasts – four in the end, in two Toppers and one two-handed Bosun – who were prepared to ignore forecasts of twenty mile an hour winds with thirty mile an hour gusts. And indeed, on the day, the Lake looked more benign than might have been expected with none of the sinister white horses and evil foamy slicks that the previous Sundays had seen.

Officers of the day Cilla Gilbert and Graham Joyce, counselled by Nicky Buckett, chose a course that kept the fleet away from the further reaches of the Lake; easier, they felt, for the safety boat to get to any trouble quickly. That meant a short course and, with plenty of wind making for fast sailing, five laps were required to give the race a reasonable duration.

Elliot Pomeroy in a Topper had capsized before the start, but that didn’t stop him giving close chase to Nathan Pollard, who had crossed the line first, on the way down to Inlet buoy. Unfortunately Elliot capsized before he got there, leaving the Bosun, with Brian Pollard at the helm and Adam Hilton crewing, to round the buoy a close second. The beat across to Middle buoy was followed by a very broad reach back to Dam Green which the boats took at great speed, the Bosun with a bow wave so high it threatened to fill the boat with water. Fortunately by the time the fleet reached Dam Green the wind had been blanketed by the hill behind and conditions were comparatively moderate for the gybe round the buoy.

Lap 2 saw the boats well spread out, Nathan’s Topper having extended its lead a lot when planing back up the Lake. Lap 3 was more eventful; Elliot went over at the beginning and retired and at the end the Bosun, which had seemed uncertain whether to gybe or granny tack at Dam Green throughout the race, managed to get the rudder one way and the boom the other. A capsize resulted. This was shortly followed by the boat turning turtle and it proved a long and arduous job for the crew and the safety boat team, Paul Anderson and Jane Chadney, to get it upright again and towed, very full of water, to the pontoon.

Not to be left out of all this up-ending, Nathan executed a dry capsize on his 4th lap but went on to cross the finish line after 35 eventful minutes of racing, first, alone and serene.

1st. Nathan Pollard (Topper)

Retired: Eliot Pomeroy (Topper), Brian Pollard, Adam Hilton (Bosun)

Thanks were given to Paul Anderson and Jane Chadney (safety boat) and to Cilla Gilbert and Graham Joyce (Officers of the day)

Many thanks to Mandy Pollard for the pictures.

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