Osprey Class Open at Shoreham Sailing Club 4th & 5th July

After a year’s absence the Osprey fleet once again descended on Shoreham for a 2 day open meeting consisting of 4 races. The weather gods were smiling on the first day but the threat of no wind on the following day led to the correct decision to hold 3 of the races on the Saturday.

8 boats made the trip with John and Caz Mills being the sole resident entry, this couple also showed great multi-tasking ability in managing all of the key shore based activities as well as competing, hats off to you both! There was also a surprise appearance from long time Osprey crew Robin Hobson albeit not racing but assisting the race officer on the first day. He was seen in action though leaning his 6ft 8 inch frames out of the little race boat to counter the rolling waves with his 2 colleagues huddled under the cudy on the opposite side, impress stuff.

Shoreham served up the usual proper sea sailing conditions with wind over tide creating short steep waves and a good breeze of around force 4 with a little more at times, the sun was also out making this close to perfect for these big boats. The trapezoidal course worked well with Kevin Francis and Philip Male taking the first race with Terry Curtis and guest crew Peter Frith very close behind. With Peter having dialled himself into this Osprey they were unbeaten for the remaining 2 races, these 2 boats were locked together and trading places for most of the weekend.

Other boats in the fleet were also having a lot of boat on boat racing and some breakages as well with Mike Greenland and crew Jerry Dixon suffering rudder pintle failure early on after heroic efforts by Jerry to make the event on his motorbike from Belgium. Richard Marshal and Andy Edmonds also decided to do a full hull inspection on the course which did take a considerable time thus reducing the amount of racing for them. With the tide now running the inevitable black flag was produced on the 2nd race and would claim a few scalps by the end of the weekend.

Saturday night was a blast with plenty of beer and curry to keep us all fed and watered the last few teams making it back to the tents in the early hours.

Sunday arrived with drizzle and zero wind, don’t you just hate it when wind guru is right. After hours of chatting, drinking coffee and looking around boats the race officer Philip Ayton was growing concerned that nothing would change but after a further postponement the new breeze slowly built and the rain cleared away to leave perfect conditions once again for the final race of the weekend. In this one Terry had his normal crew Peter Grieg back in the front seat and the result rested on this race.

Ken Brown and Chris Butters and Paul Heather and Jonathan Osgood were right there at the start as was the super consistent father and daughter team of Alex and Nick Willis, the Pin end was favoured and the dreaded black flag was again in force, the tide was running and being a bit too keen to cover Terry and Peter, the team of Francis and Male were deemed over the line along with Russ Wheeler and Chris Saunders, this fact unbeknown to them at the time Francis and Male shot into an early lead with Terry and Peter going back behind the line but in true Osprey fashion it’s never over until the gun and by the last leeward rounding these 2 piled on the pressure with great racecourse tactics to force an error by Francis and Male to win the race and the Open by several boat lengths.

Thanks go to John and Caz Mills and all at Shoreham for a great weekend, the fleet will be back and I hope in greater numbers as this is a true Osprey venue.