Rounds 1&2 of the 2020 TT took place at Birkenhead on 14 & 15 March.
Conditions as the 18 sailors arrived at the club did not seem to match the forecast with a light and fitful SE breeze blowing from the clubhouse and overcast conditions. Race Officer Martin Roberts setup for a Windward Leeward course using a spreader mark and a single leeward mark for the first few races. Alex Cory (minus 10) convincingly took the first race having been in the right place for the breeze off the line. John Tushingham (Scurry) then took the wins for races 2 and 3, with John Brierley (Uno) and Vernon Appleton (Argon) taking podium places in two of those races. After fixing a problem with his boat, Tobias Laux (Nuraghe) then picked up a win in his first race, with Peter Baldwin (Pocket Rocket), taking the win in race 5, before a break in racing took place for a hot drink.
After the break the RO had moved the course around as the breeze moved to more of a Southerly direction, but with large shifts as the gusts came over the houses and down onto the water. It was also time for a light shower dampening everyone’s enthusiasm, although the wind shifts were not making it easy for anyone. In the second session before lunch, Alex took two more wins, with John Brierley and Tobias one each.
After lunch, there was a further course change for the RO to complete as the wind was not settling down in direction and if anything increasing slightly in strength. Alex again made the most of the conditions winning two further races and taking two seconds, with Noel Donaldson (Uno) and Peter one each. The last session of three races, saw wins for John Tushingham, John Brierley and Tobias.
When the scores were totalled up after 16 races, there was a tie on 35 points between Alex Cory and John Tushingham, with Alex taking the overall win with a greater number of wins (5) against John who only had 3. The final podium place went to John Brierley five points behind them. The final results showed seven different designs in the first seven places, although the “Minus 10” is a narrower derivative of the Scurry and seemed suited to the conditions we had during this day.
Thanks to Martin Roberts, Bernie and Judith for running the racing and Chris for running the galley, providing hot drinks and serving up cake for everyone.
Sunday was a new day and a on to the next Round, although the wind was very similar in both strength (4 knots) and direction (SE) to the start of Saturday. This time it was down to John Brierley as RO to find the best course to set for the reduced fleet of only 13 competitors. He managed to get the fleet underway on time after a short briefing and description of the course. At least everyone started the first race unlike the start of Saturday.
Alex Cory started the day with a win as he did on Saturday, followed in race 2 by John Tushingham with Peter Baldwin taking Race 3, Tobias Laux Race 4 followed by John Race 5 before a short drinks break. Meanwhile John Brierley was working hard to change the course and the fleet restarted after the break with a longer course as the breeze picked up and slowly swung more to the West. John Tushingham again took Races 6 and 9 before Graham Elliott had his first wins in races 7 and 8. With the wind increasing even more, all sailors had changed down a rig by Race 10, which was won by Peter Baldwin, before an early break for lunch was taken. The RO moved the course further round during the lunch break and the afternoon was spent with some excellent B Rig racing and a breeze that was almost straight down the lake, with the sun putting in an appearance to warm everyone up.
Peter Baldwin took wins in Races 11, 13 and 16, John Tushingham also had three wins in races 14, 15 and 17, with Graham Elliott the only one to spoil their successes with a win in Race 12.
John Tushingham easily took the overall win with only 25 points, followed by Graham Elliott in second with 41 points and Peter Baldwin one point behind in third.
Thanks must go to John Brierley, Bernie and Judith for running Sundays racing and Chris and Jocelyn for running the galley keeping us all topped up with welcome hot drinks and yet more cake.
Finally, congratulations to everyone in the fleet for sailing competitively yet fairly over the two days. We look forward to welcoming the RG65 fleet back next year.