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Ely Four Plank meeting

I would like start this report in a similar style to which some films and books start: with a disclaimer. But instead of distancing the words I'm going to write from events and people which bear some resemblance, I'm going to start by saying I'm going to write the report the best I can so it bears some resemblance to the National 12 event which took place on the 2nd weekend in July.  This is because tut tut I'm writing this event report on the first weekend in August and may have forgotten some key moments.

So here goes!
Those who made the trip to the Isle of Ely were, Starting with Four Plankers:  Paul Turner with Cheshire Cat and crewed by Ely local Ted Peeper keen to prove he could carry on the winning start from the first event at sailing club MK.


Gerald (fashionably late) Copsey with Beggars Maid (Cheshire Cat) crewed by Alayne Salis, yes you have read that right, I would say out to do defend his trophy but really it was going to be everyone's else's job to try and beat them!

Suzie Salis Dynamena (Warlock) crewed by Izzy Duckworth sailing with a jib looking like she could really do with winning the series top prize from HD sails.

Next up we have those not sailing 4P 12's but thought a day's quality puddle sailing sounded just the ticket.
We have Gorge Finch sailing Silver Lining (Feeling Foolish) crewed by  Lucy Horner heading up the A14 from the estuary sailing and static wind of Royal Harwich Yacht Club. Thanks for making the trip and it was good to put a face to a name on the forum.

Jack Knight sailing Sproggit (Feeling Foolish) crewed by Molly Lee. Trying to better his consistent third place at all the Four Plank events he has entered, maybe even try an bag at least one bullet in one race. He's a local so it's odds on he could do just that.

Lastly we have Kez and me (Smilie) sailing Leila (Crusader II) doing our best umm well not to be last.
Oh and those interested in race formats we the organising committee opted for traditional with finishes and signals from the clubhouse with proceedings of day presided over by Graham Tory in the role of Race Officer and Simon Marshal driving the rescue/lead boat and Andy and Karen Knight cooking up a storm in the kitchen with another most awesome chillie.  Wind strength through the day varied between decent to not a lot in the channel and other lake. In other words force 1ish to a solid force 3.

Now for the racing highlights.

First things first all the starts and first beats were very close and the first couple of legs of each race saw close racing throughout the fleet. This being one of the fun things about sailing on restricted water is boats forced into closer more tactical racing and most the time it doesn't matter how new your boat is and the spec it's rocking. Gerald did mention once the racing was done and dusted that that Beggars Maid his Cheshire Cat could compete on level terms in the lighter breeze but once the wind was heading to a force 3 the Foolish's did have the edge on him. Which probably means if are looking to get into 12's you couldn't go far wrong in buying a Feeling Foolish even for river and lake sailing.
Race one highlights

  • Gerald very fashionably late arriving just at the end of the briefing while everyone else is just heading out on the water.
  • Suzie was first off the line but was rapidly overhauled by the fleet with Jack and Molly taking the lead at the first mark.
  • Close battle up channel to the buoy no7 in the other pit with local knowledge and snarggling skills paying dividends. As Ely SC local Jack Knight had consolidated the lead followed by river expert Paul Turner and Ted Pepper pretty much sealing up second place.
  • The top order didn’t change with JK holding first, PT in second and Gorge and Lucy in third. In the bottom order of the fleet Suzie gained fourth when Jonathan ‘n  Kez get lost and  missed a mark. Slightly embarrassing since Ely SC is Jonathan’s former sailing club. (ooops)
  • By the end of race one Jack and Mollie had opened their batting by getting a first on the board, Paul and Ted showing  recent shoulder surgery hadn’t taken Pauls edge away coming in second. Gorge and Lucy adapting quickly to puddle sailing by coming in third.

We all stopped for lunch and a C-O-L-A, coke-co LA.

Race Two

  • Another competitive start which  JG and KW proved sometimes making a good start isn't all about practice given lack of time on the water they spend. (Maybe it was more luck than judgment)
  • First beat was mega close with Jack Knight demonstrating some very sketchy "tack" tics. At the first mark there was no clear leader as we went round pretty much together.
  • Picking the right side of the channel made the biggest difference. Those heading up the left side of the channel coming out all smiles and Suzie Salis and Izzy Duckworth coming off worse.
  • Down the run back into back into main pit the race broke into two groups. Gerald Copsey and Alayne Seymour fighting for first with Jack n’ Mollie while PT and TP were trying to grab third from Gorge and Lucy.
  • The Cheshire Cat super  group of Gearld and Alayne finally take the lead when Jack lucks out up the second beat in a port starboard.
  • Gearld and Alayne head off to take the win, Jack and Mollie get their circles out the way before holding second place till the end. Paul Turner never manages to grab third off Gorge and Lucy.

Like Cricket we all stop for tea before carrying the rest of the afternoon competition
Race Three

  • Once again the last race of the day at a HD Sails Four Plank event comes down the last race with Beggars Maid and Sproggit both having a win each. Looks like it’s down to can the Ely’s new up and coming 12 crew beat the super group formed by two Ely's two 12 Master’s!! Both of which were pretty much born in 12 sailing round Roswell Pit.
  • Spectators are seen getting themselves a cup of tea and settling down to watch Jack Knight and Molly Lee take on Gerald and Alayne  grandstand views of Ely SC lawn. If we were sailing in Australia there would be a book running by now.
  • Sproggit leads off the line closely chased by the rest of the fleet and by the run it’s just Gerald in Beggars Maid keeping the press on.
  • The next couple of laps see Beggars Maid and Sproggit match racing till Sliver Lining starts feeling left out and joins in.
  • There's no fairy tale ending here Team Sproggit is caught when the masters play a them off against Gorge and this lets masters escape leaving the apprentices to fight for second. Better luck next year Jack.    
  • Race three ends with Gerald and Alayne taking the win and the opening meeting overall for the second year. Jack and Molly crossing the line in second after fending off Gorge and Lucy who took third.    

That was it for another year for Ely SC National 12 opening meeting, once again it was good to see a good sized fleet of 12’s sailing on Roswell Pits. We had plenty of breeze (Suzie and Izzy were seen swimming round the boat at one stage), Graham Tory set some great courses, Jacks Mum and Dad did us proud with lunch and the sun shone all day. We could not have wanted much more.
Now looking ahead next year is 70th anniversary of Ely SC and 12’s have been sailed at Ely since it’s very start which probably makes Ely one oldest 12 clubs in the country. It’s too early to say what shape next years event will take but it would good see loads of 12’s sailing from every era. As rough date to stick in your diaries you wouldn’t go far wrong by sticking the 2nd weekend in July down.
 Overall results

1st Gerald Copsey and Alayne Seymour 2 points. Hunts SC/Ely SC (1st 4P)

2nd Jack Knight and Mollie Lee 3 points. Ely SC

3rd Paul Turner and Ted Pepper 6 points Trent Valley SC/Ely SC (2nd 4P)

4. George Finch and Lucy Horner 6 points. RHYC

5. Jonathan Garfitt and Kerry Whitford 8 points. Milton Keynes S.C.

6. Susie Sallis and Izzy Duckworth 11 points Ely S.C. (3rd 4P)



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