The summer series are nearly complete and the results are in. Well done to JT who now has an unassailable lead in the IOM series and to the many winners in the small boat series. With 23 skippers taking part in the Small boat fleet, now mainly DF65s, we have seen a lot of new boats this year and skill levels have improved steadily. The most commonly used sail is undoubtedly the A+ rig closely followed by the A rig. B and C rigs are still a relative rarity and that does limit when many can sail. However, there are a few hardy souls who have put their DF65s to the ultimate test in 35 knot winds gusting to 45 knots. The boat does very well in these extreme conditions and on C rig skips from wave-top to wave-top. Particular mention must go to Rocka, Guy and Edward who have put in the hours and appearances and consequently their performances are getting better with every race and they will be challenging for the top spots in the months ahead.
The IOM’s have had a good season with 13 skippers turning out in all weathers. Racing has been very close throughout the season and this year has seen the age of the boats in the fleet reduced with the addition of another MX16, a Malteser and 2 Sedici’s (wot no BritPops). JT’s 3D printed Ellipsis (in various builds) has proved quick and exciting to sail but has suffered with structural issues on several occasions but the boat is definitely quick and 3D printing means that it’s quick to repair or build a new boat. The future of RC sailing is being shaped by 3D printing and as the technology matures we’ll see very affordable new boats on the water. All good for the sport.
The standard of sailing is continuing to improve with the education slots prior to racing and we intend to do more on this in the coming months. Races are often very closely fought and finishes are so close sometimes we can’t separate the boats. Starting is getting better and we are seeing people make better choices that offer greater tactical freedom.
Friday sailing initially took time to get going but in the middle of September to see 12 boats on the water was a great encouragement. There seems to be an emerging interest in Marblehead boats and we’ll just have to watch this space as to how that develops. We have a small band of scale sailing enthusiasts with some beautiful models and I suspect we may see more Thames barges and scale boats on the water in coming months. It is also possible that we may have a visit from the Vintage Sailing Association and the Thames Barge Association but details are still in discussion. We are playing host again to the local U3A sailing group later in the year and welcome them with open arms
The growing number of MicroMagic and DF95 (now 5 strong) boats are sitting in the background for the moment but poised to begin regular sailing when the opportunity presents. We have at least 3 skippers talking about entering the DF Racing TT series for 2020.