REPORT BY PETER JACKSON (a touch of spice added by Peter Shepherd)
This was the penultimate open Footy event of the year in which 11 Footy skippers came out to do battle for the Bassett Lowke Trophy, which is annually awarded for this competition, and it took place at the Abington Park model boating pond, constructed by a generous donation in the early the 1900's by local boy & model engineer extraordinaire Mr Bassett Lowke.
The day started with a reasonably steady wind and the occasional gust which encouraged skippers to start with their A sail. The wind got up and most skippers changed down to their B rig with Peter Jackson and John Burgoine carrying on with their A sail, there were however, the usual unpredictable wind shifts on this town centre venue and those that did well managed these conditions most effectively.
Most of the fleet eventually changed down to smaller rigs where the races were all about managing those shifts, on a leg of the course which was set to make the most of the length of the pond, frequently we went from a beat to a run and then back again. It was perhaps no coincidence that the top three skippers on the score card have all amended there swing rigs to include a carbon rod in the luff of the fore sail.
Abington Park skipper Norman Hardy had one of his best days yet sailing in this class, even managing a race win, at the other end of the spectrum David Wilkinson had a torrid day going through two of his own boats through electrical gremlins and also a borrowed boat from Peter Shepherd, who retired early due to ill health, perhaps David shouldn't have gone over to the “dark side” after all.
Two new skippers welcomed to the Footy fleet were Ian MacDonald, Birmingham with his newly acquired ICE 184, anyone recognising this boat should call the Vice squad immediately! And Keith Bell who had his arm bent so far up his back to take part that he found Geoff Raygada's Bermuda rigged Fat Boy Slim difficult to sail.
The R.O. Peter Jackson pushed the event along allowing 16 races to be completed in the available time, which was greatly assisted by the friendly and sportsmanlike sailing of all the skippers. The Novice Award was won by fourth place skipper Keith Parrott, another long trip from Frensham Pond this time rewarded, well done to him. There was a fair amount of attrition towards the end of the event. The eventual winner, after checks at home was Peter Jackson (although it was PJ who did the checking) by one point from John Burgoine.
The next event is but a short time away, the final round of the Extreme Footy Series 1st October at the amended venue of Cotswold, lets hope it's another cracker! The final open series event also has a rearranged venue and now takes place at Hollowell SC, on the 22nd October where we will be competing for the Cadenhead Trophy.