American Cup Day

Post date: 23-Sep-2013 17:07:54

It was particularly busy at Lackford Lake, last week, with Culford School and Mildenhall Scouts back sailing on Monday evening; WASH Sailability and Lakenheath Scouts out sailing on Tuesday; club sailing on Thursday evening; WASH Sailability running their last weekend session of the season alongside an adults’ ‘Learn to Sail’ course on Saturday and club racing for the ‘American Cup’ on Sunday. In addition, the Bury St Edmunds Sea Cadets were undertaking their Duke of Edinburgh awards expedition and were camping in the club grounds over the weekend.

Racing for St Edmundsbury Sailing and Canoeing Association’s ‘American Cup’ may not have been quite as spectacular as the ‘America’s Cup’ series currently taking place in San Francisco but the winds were similarly unpredictable and the competition was equally intense.

A large windshift, just before the start of the first race, allowed the boats at the outer end of the startline to lay the first mark without tacking. This enabled them to secure a significant lead. Mike Steele (Laser) rounded first closely followed Jon Holmefjord (Laser); Carl Day/Alan Shaw (Enterprise) and Tim Perree (Laser). Steele managed to build up a bit of a gap to the pursuing pack but with the wind direction and strength continuing to vary dramatically there were significant gains and losses to be made around the course. Coming onto the last lap, the Enterprise of Day/Shaw looked to well placed to secure the handicap prize but a fortunate puff enabled Steele to pull away to secure line and handicap honours. Day/Shaw Enterprise finished second with Jon Holmefjord’s Laser third.

With the fleet bolstered by a couple more Lasers, Geoff Morris’ Solo and Sam Doye’s Topper, the second race got off to a reaching start in true America’s Cup fashion. The next down wind leg was very light and tricky with large holes in the wind. The Day/Shaw team in the Enterprise managed to work their way through the puffs to lead at the next mark followed by Mike Steele (Laser), who had taken rather a circuitous route to get around the rest of the fleet. At the finish, the line and handicap results were the same as in the first race, with the corrected time difference between the first and second boats cut to only eight seconds.

Steele was unable to sail in the third pursuit race, leaving the Carl/Day Enterprise to battle for the day trophy with the rest of the Laser fleet. Sam Doye headed off first in his Topper and looked to have built up a significant lead before the Enterprise and Lasers started. With a dying breeze, it initially appeared that the faster boats might not be able to make up their time handicap. However, the Enterprise and the Lasers of Tim Perree and Will Harrison eventually managed to overhaul the Topper, with Tim Perree passing the Enterprise team in the closing seconds to secure his first win of the season. Another second place, however, was good enough for Day/Shaw to win SESCA’s ‘American Cup’ – a can of Coca-Cola.