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Xenon Open 24.05.14


The morning of the eagerly awaited Xenon Open dawned wet and breezy as predicted. It was a relief to know that we would not suffer from a lack of wind and the conditions were looking to be both challenging and varied.

It was great to see 8 Xenons, including a very welcome father and son team from a visiting club turn up on the day.

We were very fortunate to have secured the services of an excellent Race Officer who set a highly suitable ‘uppy downy’ course, although I am told the correct nautical term is ‘windward leeward’.

At the start of the 1st race Mr T and I were far too keen on the line and were duly ‘tooted’  and made to turn back but the rest of the fleet got away cleanly.

We caught up a little to the middle of the fleet and when the time for the 1st hoist came discovered that our spinnaker was wrapped around the jib furler. This meant that we were unable to use our spinnaker at all during races 1 and 2 which was rather frustrating and despite my efforts to climb the rigging we had to be content with ‘goose-winging when we should have been flying the kite. This however, did not seem to disadvantage us too much and we were delighted to be in 3rd place when we came in for lunch. All helms and crews had sailed very competitively with everyone having their good and not so good moments and our visitors were certainly giving us a run for our money. There had been quite a few capsizes and close shaves but no-one seemed to let these incidents deter them from quickly getting underway again.

As we launched after lunch we all noticed some very threatening black clouds and it wasn’t long before the heavens opened, the wind picked up, the gusts increased, thunder and lightening rumbled across the reservoir. The 1st leg of the 3rd race was the most challenging of the whole day and tactics and clever sailing went out of the window as we struggled to keep the boats upright through the gusts and could hardly see the windward mark through the driving rain. Later discussions with other crews revealed that I was not the only one suffering from a severe case of ‘hiker’s stomach muscles’. Towards the end of the race, the storm passed and the wind almost died away to nothing, leaving the rear 2 Xenons struggling to get to the finish line.

Our 4th and final start proved to be our best and for a period of 5 minutes or so we were just about in the lead. However this was not to last and we gradually lost our advantage and came in 5th and ended the competition in this place.

Following the completion of the race we all retired to the clubhouse for the prize giving and a very welcome cup of tea and some cake and the inevitable post- race chat.

The weather had thrown just about everything it could at us, gusts, rain, thunder, lightening, glorious sunshine and flat calm but we all agreed that we had thoroughly enjoyed the whole day which had provided us with the rare opportunity to race with fellow Xenon sailors. Most of us had our good and bad moments and the end result was by no means predictable. We were not too disappointed with our performance but will certainly look to move up the rankings next time.

Well done to the organisers and our fellow competitors, we can’t wait for next year. smiley

Use this link to view  the full range of photos of the Xenon Open