This morning I set off at 06:30 to the last South West District Winter Series race at Sedgemoor, Somerset. Prior to leaving the drive the windscreen required a good scrape to clear the ice, the dash was telling me to beware it was 0 deg C. It only just rose to 2 deg C in the 2 and 1/4 hrs it took to travel to the lake. At the lake it was off with the Sun glasses on with the wet weather gear. Six layers just about kept me warm and dry for the day.
It didn't take long for the organisers to set up the race office and get the kettle and soup brewing. At this time the wind was pretty light and like a seasoned Green Keeper prior to a competition the buoys were layed in some awkward positions with the windward mark/finish line placed in the lee of the trees and leeward mark close to the bank and overhanging branches.
The skippers briefing was short and sweet and the 14 competitors were rigged and ready to race. Although, some were a little hasty and forgot something fairly important! A little warm up and the racing started at 10:00hrs
The racing was close and the left hand side was favoured by the fleet through out the day. Occasionally the centre paid off but you were likely to fall into a hole as you approached the windward mark/finish line which put pay to quite a few races for some skippers (me included) on more than one occasion. It wasn't long and the forecasted rain started and at the same time the wind picked up. After 4-5 races we had a short break for something hot and to put on the wet weather gear if you hadn't already. Then another 4 races in more rain and more frequent strong gusts. At this point all the competitors were on 'A' rig and most of us had a trip or two down the mine.
During the lunch break over half the fleet had had enough and decided to call it a day. I changed down a rig and along with six others enjoyed the afternoon races. One competitor went down to 'C' rig and two remained on 'A'. The 'B' rig served me well and I won the first race. I went on to win a couple more races as the squalls were just a little too frequent for the 'A' riggers. However, they always came back strong as we approached the finish line and the dreaded tree wind shadow. On a couple of occasions I was pipped in the dying moments of a race which, did provide some humour on a day when the weather was so cold and miserable.
Thank you Sedgemoor for a memorable days competition. Can't wait to see the results as there was a bit of an exodus after the racing to get the boats packed up and bodies thawed with the car heaters blasting.