What a weekend of IOM racing! A record breaking 65 entries attended the Northern District IOM Ranking Event. Hosted by Birkenhead and raced at West Kirby's marine lake.
I travelled up on friday, arriving in time for a little tune up against probably best BritPop skippers in the land in next to no wind. Then it was time for a pint or two and a meal.
The following morning the wind had piped up and a few showers passed threw. At the lakeside everything was well planned and the racing commenced on time. I was in the 'B' fleet seeding race and like everyone else had rigged the 'C' rig. Can't quite remember what happened exactly in that race but I didn't do that well and placed myself in 'C' fleet where I stayed for the rest of the day except that I did get demoted in one race following a shroud snapping but won the following race and thus bounced straight back up to 'C' fleet. Although, my overall result wasn't that good the racing and conditions provided excellent entertainment and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. It was a long day but fairly warm and by midday the waterproofs weren't required, in fact by the last round of races we were nearly all rigged on 'B' suits.
After a well deserved meal at the local YC it was time to go and visit Dave Creed who lives just a couple of miles away. We had a good chat about IOM's, designs and boat building in general. Following that it was back to the hotel for another evening of beer and sailing chat.
Sunday dawned even wetter than the previous morning but there was no sign of any wind. In fact the wind didn't make a presence until roughly 10:00hrs and then only just enough to complete one seeding race. It reappeared some time later form another direction and then promptly vanished again. This carried on for almost an hour seemingly just teasing the PRO, mark layer and competitors but finally all the seeding races were completed using 'A' rig. I had a much better seeding race. I did complete one penalty turn during the first leeward mark rounding but was not sure who was in the wrong. Then proceeded to the left hand side of the beat as that is where the most pressure appeared to be and luckily I was right and I managed to gain a few places finishing the race in about 7th place. After a fair wait I finally got to race in 'B' fleet and was still on the 'A' rig. It was a good race for me, didn't get into any trouble and sailed OK again only missing promotion by a couple places finishing in 6th or 7th position. Following that race the 'A' fleet got underway and it was during this race the wind kicked in and all hell was let loose. In the end the race had to be cancelled and re run as the course was like a ten pin bowling alley with masts just getting knocked down all over the course. This 'A' fleet race was then completed under 'C' rig and was to be the last proper race of the day due to the very windy conditions. But what an experience, I thoroughly enjoyed myself despite only completing in a total of 8 races.