Weekend at Broxbourne

The British Moth Traveller series continued apace with a two-day Open at Broxbourne Sailing Club. After the interesting conditions at Medley, the ten sailors who competed were eager for some open water and decent winds. They were not disappointed.

After a leisurely start for some (for others, there was tent erection, and for one, a complete rigging assembly), the Moths took to the water. Fresh winds kept the start lively, and the boats got away to a clean start, with Tim Davison making the most of a 30 degree wind shift at the gun to lead the fleet at the first mark, pursued by Abby Freeley, Colin Hall and Toby Cooper. Davison pulled a clear lead downwind and Cooper pulled through to second on the second upwind leg. As the weather warmed, the wind fell away to a gentle breeze, resulting in some frustrating downwind holes and challenging beats. Davison saw his lead eroded when he fell into one of the downwind holes and Cooper was able to slip past on the second lap, only to himself to suffer the same fate, allowing Davison to recapture a lead which he held to the end of the race. Freeley managed to pull clear of the chasing pack and secured a comfortable third.

The second race commenced under caution of a warning of an approaching thunderstorm and competitors were briefed that they may be called off the water should the danger of lightning become imminent. Davison again made the best start, this time much more closely pursued by Cooper around the first windward mark followed by Tompkins and Hall. The downwind legs again saw the fleet compress at times, but Davison was able to maintain his lead unchallenged this time by Cooper. The threatening storm arrived, rain fell and as the lightning approached, the RO shortened course with a finish just 25 minutes into the race, accompanied by a squall of welcome wind. Davison took the win, with Cooper a more distant second and Tompkins getting the better of Hall for Third.

After the storm cleared, race three commenced in much lighter airs of just a few knots. Somerville rookie Jenny Bentley made a top-three start, but soon dropped back as her aged sail failed to handle the pace. Cooper and Davison fought out the two-lap race, with the lead changing several times. Right at the line, a series of tacks saw Cooper and Davison inch towards the line with Cooper taking first place by centimetres. Tompkins completed the placings.

After the results were in, Davison had placed first in the Somerville series, Cooper second, and Tompkins third.

Sunday saw the Moth fleet join Broxbourne’s regular Sunday racing (competing alongside Flying Fifteens, Solos, Lasers and Phantoms) for Somerville part two. Cooler weather conditions, Force 4 to 5 shifting winds, and again the possibility of thunderstorms, meant the Moth sailors had to work hard. Davison again made the best start and pulled well clear, but by the end of lap one Cooper had again closed in on the lead. A very close quarters covering battle ensued for the next two laps, with Davison eventually pulling clear for a win and with it the overall event with Cooper second and again Tompkins third.

The second race of the day and final race of the event started in slightly lighter winds, with Cooper leading, pursued by Davison. The two remained locked in a continuation of the covering match from the first race until Davison hit a mark. Cooper had already brushed a mark earlier on and had decided to sail on and retire. Davison also retired and this saw Tompkins win a very close tussle with Richard Keefe to secure what turned out to be the race win with Colin Hall third.

As for the overall Open results, and despite the last race retirement, Davison’s three firsts made him Broxbourne Open 2016 champion. Despite his local knowledge, Cooper took second overall, with Tompkins’ consistency placing him third. Abby Freeley (6th overall) took the Ladies Honours.
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