Wind over tide in Portstewart Bay caused difficult conditions for last Sunday’s dinghy racing.
The weather forecast gave reasonable conditions in the bay but conditions deteriorated just before the launch. As the wind increased the seas built and a decision was taken to cancel junior racing much to the disappointment of the many new juniors who had joined the fleet.
The senior sailors launched and prior to the starting gun there were several capsizes with one Laser ending on the rocks when the crew found it impossible to get out of irons.
The rescue services were busy standing by boats which were being driven downwind when capsized.
Only two boats were on the line as the gun went with others well back trying to get up in the big seas. First to start was Bruce and David McFarlane in the Scorpion followed closely by James Campbell in a Laser. Third to start was Duncan Chapman also in a Laser.
The windward mark to the west was a struggle for all competitors as the seas continued to build. The McFarlanes were first to reach the mark having pulled out a considerable lead on the Lasers of Campbell and Chapman.
As the Scorpion rounded the gybe mark they were caught in a big gust which caused them to capsize. Campbell seeing this took his opportunity to close the gap but the experience of the McFarlane boys showed through as they righted the boat in record time. Campbell got right behind the Scorpion frustrating the crew all the way down the run.
Both boats yawed alarmingly in the large following seas as Campbell stuck close to the stern of the Scorpion. At the leeward mark McFarlanes rounded in the lead with Campbell in the Laser a close second and Ivor Paul third in his Laser. Duncan Chapman was sailing a superb race in his Laser 4.7 given his weight and the conditions which prevailed. At the next gybe mark the Scorpion was worn round to avoid the possibility of capsizes and both Campbell and Chapman also decided to take the less risky rounding. Ivor Paul had now retired with an injury to his back.
The Scorpion pulled out a substantial lead on the beat which was increased when James Campbell capsized at the last gybe mark. The seas and wind proved too much for Duncan who had to retire. He was last to do so all other competitors having already gone in. At the finish line The McFarlane Boys crossed first followed by James Campbell in the Laser in second place. These were the only two finishers and both are to be congratulated for braving the elements to the very end in these trying conditions.
1st Bruce and David McFarlane Scorpion
2nd James Campbell Laser