West Lancs Winter Series 4

As Sundays go this one was pretty good on the weather front, very chilly with a light NE breeze which was set to increase throughout the day. A somewhat depleted fleet of 7 DF65’s lined up for the first race including series leader John Tushingham and Tim Long who were absent from the last event having been in Germany at the launch of the new DF95.

Tim was quick out of the blocks and took a bullet in the first race from the ever improving Mike Parkington and the seemingly out of sorts JT with Liz Tushingham, Roger Lincoln, Sue Parkington and Mike Lavender completing the board.

The next race saw Mike P and Tim swap places with Roger L in third and Liz in fourth, JT completed the race in fifth place and seemed to be struggling, however he got a trim on and took races 3, 4 and 5 and looked like he had returned to form but another stutter meant that it was another three races until he took another win, those three races were shared between Tim and Roger with Mike P putting up some consistent scores and Liz posting a couple of good scores too.

After lunch JT didn’t score less than a second and looked to be on for the usual win with Tim trying hard to take the pin end of the start with him up the beat on no less than three occasions giving the fleet a good 10m head start. That said he was able to work back up through the fleet and as the wind increased good trim was key to making those tacks first time and Tim did take three of the afternoon races.

Mike P took a string of seconds and thirds through the afternoon session but in his own words “could have done better” having struggled to nail tacks consistently as the wind increased. Roger, Liz and Sue traded places all afternoon and there were some good battles amongst the smaller than usual fleet. Mike L struggled with the standard sails and setup as the wind increased, however he did finish most of the races in only his first time racing.

So at the end of the day it was almost too close to call however Tim took the top spot from JT by a mere 3 points over 14 races with Mike P in third and still in touch on points.

So JT has been beaten, no mean feat, however all is not quite what it seems here. Whilst Tim did indeed put in a great performance it should be noted that JT sailed a completely box fresh DF65 as supplied with no aftermarket sails, no aftermarket radio and no work done on prepping the boat at all. In the end it was the rig that let him down as the wind increased and he was unable to put as much rig tension on as he would have liked and this meant that he wasn’t able to nail the tacks when he wanted.

So it can be done, you can sail a completely boggo boat and be competitive. Here endeth the lesson and we expect to see John back at the next event with his own GBR 100.