Channel Race - Saturday 21st July 2018

The annual tradition of sailing up channel to Denny Island (just off Avonmouth) managed to take place despite a very light wind forecast. This race is a test of the sailors skill at judging the time it takes to round Denny Isalnd as the tide turns therefore taking advantage of the flood tide on the way and ebb tide on the way back, and being able to sail in changing conditions as the race can take between 3 to 4 hours.

With sailors choosing when to start, the RS200 of Mark Elliot and Andy Preston was first away followed 5 minutes later by Martin and Ella Gibson in their Tasar. With the light NE wind building a little they soon disappeared up channel out of sight. The 3 Lasers of Stuart Turner, Trevor Baker and Chris Parry were next away delaying slightly longer and finally the RS Vision helmed by Seamus Ryan with his wife Gill and Nathan Compton on board.

The light winds on the trip to Denny Island meant that little advantage was gained by anyone as all were taken by the tide, and with the wind dying to nothing off Portishead there was a risk that the Lasers would not get to Denny Island before the tide turned. The RS200 rounded Denny first before the tide turned meaning that they had to punch some tide returning for a while in the light winds. So the rounding of Denny was a procession in the same order as started except for the RS Vision which was not able to make it in time and the last Laser of Chris Parry just getting round.

The wind started to pick up and changed direction through 180° to SW and ended up at about F3. This meant that the sailors now could really affect their position as the wind over tide condition produces a short steep wave in the Bristol Channel requiring some skill to keep the boat moving. The Gibson’s Tasar was soon passed The RS200 of Elliot and Preston and was the first boat back through the finish line just on 3 hours duration. The Lasers couldn’t catch either the Tasar or RS200 on the water but did close the gap sufficiently to be quicker on corrected handicap.

The final Result - Stuart Turner (Laser) first; Trevor Baker (Laser) second and Martin & Ella Gibson (Tasar) third.

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