Too much Weed

I awoke in the middle of the night as the wind and rain picked up.  I awoke again at 05:30hrs, this time by the alarm.  It was an early start as I had a three hour drive to a Metropolitan and Southern District IOM Championship Series Event hosted by Reading Sailing Club.

A promising start

As I drove along the M4 East I managed to overtake the rain.  I was one of the first to arrive but soon the Car Park was filling up.  Within an hour of arriving I had made 3 sail changes A, B and back to A and also changed from shorts and Tee shirt to thermal trousers, wooly jumper and Gore Tex jacket.  All the time people were positive and appeared to looking forward to a day of friendly racing amongst the twelve registered competitors.

A squall rolls over

However, as more people were launching their boats to check the tune etc it soon became apparent that there was a crazy amount of weed floating around the racing area.  Even at this early stage I heard mutterings that it would be impossible to race in such conditions. Added to this the rain had also now caught me up.  Although, stubbornly I was still remaining to be upbeat.
The first race did start, I was mid line and on the first run was in 2nd place going around the leeward gate.  During the early stages of the next beat the weed had found me so I had to crawl to the control area.  Once weed free and back on my way I managed to complete the course and finish 6th.  The next race was much the same but this time I was in third place going through the gate.  I chose to stay on Port and the right hand corner as I thought the wind might be more consistent.  I wasn't able to check my theory as the weed got a firm grip of my fin.  I was left to drift away from the bottom  of the course getting ever closer to the shrub jungle lakeside. Eventually the weed freed itself prior to the rescue boats helping hand so I continued the race finishing 7th.
At this point the competition was close to being abandoned.  Although, a cup of tea was called for whilst we waited for the rain to lighten slightly.  A half hour later and we tried again, we aimed for 6 races in total in the light A rig wind conditions but the chop was slightly exaggerated.  Another fairly clean start and staying close to the shore this time!  When I tacked on to Port I was lifted all the way to the mark and sailed over the fleet to first position.  I kept this for exactly one lap as I tacked a little late for the windward mark and another boat squeezed inside.  From then on we just kept safe and simple down the run and back up to the finish line and a comfortable 2nd was scored. I could hear that again there was some collateral damage being caused by the weed but looking around the course it wasn't a pretty sight with boats strewn all over the place.
As the competitors retrieved their IOM's they started to vote with their feet passing the control area and onto the Car Park.  The racing was over.  We tried, it was trying!

They think it's all over.  It is now.