So, this was a bit of a blast. Forecast to be a non-mental amount of wind for non-mental people, it did nevertheless get a bit out of hand later on in the day.
Race 1: Force 3-4, Red buoy, OL, P, T, H, S, Gate
We then chased them round whilst the rest of the fleet fought it out for 3rd place. The wind picked up a bit towards the end, and when we came ashore we discovered that the red buoy card on the course had meant 'orange triangle', which would have provided a better beat and a non-hooky OL rounding. Having devoted some time to showing my kids that the circular thing wouldn't go into the triangular hole in their activity centre at age 18mths, I remain convinced that red buoys are not the same as orange triangles. Ho hum.
Race 2: Force 3+, Orange triangle, OL, D, E, P, S, Gate
The orange triangle course card having been duly displayed, nobody had any problem with the course. Once again Bob was near the front, but this time Peter & Dave were ahead, so we set off in pursuit of them. The wind was down a bit, so we were still on 22'7", but a big bank of cloud was heading our way. We didn't make a lot of headway against P&D for the first 25 mins, although they helped us occasionally by losing the guy rope out of the pole end on the reach to D. On lap 2 we got near their transom approaching D, when an almighty chunk of wind hit the boat, which nearly tipped us in.
Surprisingly still vaguely upright, we managed a slicker gybe than P&D and overtook them en-route to E. We then sat on their wind up to P and got a bit more lead on the way to S. Back up the beat, and they were still behind us when we hoisted our kite inside the jib on the titchy leg to OL. Getting it out wasted the entire leg, so it was a quick gybe and settle down for a showdown on the 3-sail reach from OL back to D. Well, their gybe was a bit slower than ours and involved going low in the freshening breeze, so we took off like a scalded Mr Fluffy and were going great guns when the wind made a bit of a comeback in the middle of the lake. Jeez, that was fast, but regrettably not really in the right direction. We gave up on the kite at around 2/3 distance and had a bash at 2-sailing the rest, whereupon it all went properly mental. By this stage I already had the cunningham on and the kicker right off, so there was nothing immediately available to de-power with. The boat rocketed across the lake, boom up, with only the steering keeping the whole thing vaguely vertical. We passed Nick on the way, and thankfully didn't have to go around him as frankly I doubt we'd have done it and stayed upright.
Then past D, bear off, add kicker, gybe fast and hoist kite for the leg to E. Kite had other ideas, liked it better being in the bag, kept trying to come back down. I put my foot on the halyard cleat and we flew it at half-mast until we got there. Thankfully P&D were now well back, so we just had the little beat to P, which we did mainly on the jib alone, and a reach to S where we let the kite sleep in the bag, and then across the line to finish. P&M came in 2nd, Pete & Richard 3rd. There was apparently much overtaking and fun further back too, with Gordon & Bryan losing out to Bob & Paul on the last leg, and Colin & Karen retiring from a good position following a little swim at OL. Great fun, and the fabulous course with the excellent 3-sail reaches really made my day.