Fleetwood Dragon Weekender 18th/19th Sept 2016

Saturday DF65’s

With cerulean blue skies greeting 22 of the finest DF65’s sailors in the land, 16 races, almost no weed and 1 magic kettle… it was one of those halcyon September days for the Last Orders DF65 event at Fleetwood.

The wind was a little unsure of its intentions at the start of proceeding but after a 120 degree wobble decided to blow half arsed from the vague direction of the West for the remainder of the day. Race officers Chris Chatfield & Tim Lanigan drove the fleet hard, throwing in a long distance ‘leg burner’ race mid afternoon and some shorter sprint races at the end to keep the fleet on their toes and their leg muscles weary.

I won’t give a blow by blow account of the racing, the usual suspects were up front and the chasing pack were chasing hard. And besides it’s hard to summarise a full day’s racing… looking at the results sheet is like trying to decode the matrix dipped in vaseline when you’ve had a couple of gins..

We tried to mix things up a bit at the prize giving to stop the familiar faces at the front of the fleet always going home with the wine. The idea was to deploy the ‘magic kettle raffle technique’ whereby winning competitors would draw a sail number out of the kettle and pass on the prize on to another competitor in the fleet… and so 3rd placed Mike Weston  dips his hand in the magic kettle, chortles (as only Mike Weston can) and draws out lucky number 69, his own bloody sail number! Then 2nd placed Buzz Coleman steps up and does the honourable thing, draws Mike Parkington’s sail number, the wine is exchanged and everyone’s happy. And then John “I don’t mind a glass of wine” Tushingham rocks up, swirls his hand in the mystical teapot and you guessed it, draws out his own sail number! As if we weren’t all tired enough of that number 100 after 14 races wins!!! Fix! Fix! God damnit!

And finally to wrap things up for Saturday (I’ve teased you long enough) here are the final scores…


Sunday DF95’s

As Sunday dawned bright and clear, the 65’s were replaced with the 95’s and once again that feckless wind appeared. It was on of those… Ima blow dis way, Ima a blow dat way, Ima lead you all astray kind of a wind.

Despite this aeolian puzzle Chris Chatfield did a wonderful job on Race Officer duties, setting us decent courses and cracking the whip sufficiently to get 14 races finished by 15:30. Cheers Chris.


The key (as always) was somehow buying a clear lane off the start line, avoiding the bunkers, tacking on all the right shifts while dodging weed, powerboats and the local ‘crabbers’. Sounds easy, except when it isn’t!

Thanks to Susan Sharman for the pics.

John Tushingham didn’t have it all his own way today, plenty of races were snatched off him but consistency won the day, no surprises there. Buzz Coleman was on good form for his second place, with less of those salad keels that scuppered his DF65 Nationals earlier in the year. And we discovered Tim Long seems to go much better without a hangover posting a set of solid results to round out the top 3.

The prize giving was again novel, with the top 3 having to shout out random finishing positions (but not their own this time!) and hand over their hard won booty. So at the end of the day Liz Tushingham, Sue Parkington and John Brooks went home with the booze. Well done them!


Some other observations about the DF95’s

There’s real and rapid learning going on across the fleet, we’re all dialling in the tuning and grappling with how to sail these new boats with their masthead rigs. The tweaking and the discussions are all happening in the open too which is super refreshing, with the best skippers tuning and twiddling between races and talking tactics. During the afternoon session there was plenty of ‘tranny swapping’ going on which is an activity normally reserved for that den of iniquity further down the coast but today saw lots of interested parties trying a DF95 for the first time. All in, the playing field is still wide open, the banter light hearted and with the new whacky prize giving scenarios everyone is in with a chance of bottle of plonk to go home with. Great Stuff.

Right I’m off to dunk my sunburnt face in beer and drink a couple more bottles of aftersun lotion 🙂 Cheers All