Leigh Trophy Race – 9/9/2018
This is the Race Officer's perspective.
Three starts at 11, 11:30 and 12 with a high tide at 13:10 and a wind that was a little brisker than the 12 mph that I saw in the forecast. Four Musto Skiffs decided not to bother with the race but go training. This left only 1 Musto, as the Fast Fleet representative and he had a breakdown during the race and retired.
Three boats, a Miracle and 2 Streakers made the Slow Fleet start at 11. A half hour later there were six 2000s, a Blaze, a Fire, a single handed Miracle and two V3000s. I wished I could be amongst them but duty called. I do like a long distance race and with a nice breeze, occasional sun and the warm water we get this time of year it looked perfect.
The course took the boats through Hoo Creek, around a loop in Pinup reach and off on a long reach down South Yantlet Creek to the Otterham Fairway buoy. I was careful with the course to make the navigation easy so for instance on this long leg there were all the South Yantlet Creek safe water marks to lead the way to the Fairway Buoy. None of them were marks of the course - just guidance. Similarly from Otterham Fairway buoy to Mariners there was the prominent Rainham Fairway buoy en route, for guidance. From there back into Gillingham Reach to all the familiar buoys for some more loops to make up the race length.
The total length was 12.5 miles. The fast reach down South Yantlet made the race a little quick and the two V3000s finished back at the club in a little over 90 minutes and the 2000s took about 2 hours. Really it should have been at least an extra half hour for both fleets but they seemed happy, so I'm a happy Race Officer.
Many thanks to the crews of the three safety boats who all handled their duties well and I think probably enjoyed a cruise up some of the creeks in warm weather and little else to do.