Light winds for pennant races

In uncommonly light conditions, two pennant races were held at the Lake Fyans headquarters of the Stawell Yacht Club.

A good field of 10 dinghies made up the entry list, which included regular visitor Peter Mulligan, an accomplished Impulse sailor from Ballarat.

The appearance of a couple of new names in the handicap winners list saw a dilution of the dominance of title favourite Johno Knight, but even at this early stage of the season it would still be a brave punter who would take odds against this determined competitor.

In the flukey southerly, expected to be more favourable to lighter jockeys, Johno opened his account with a sound tactical performance by heading towards the clubhouse end of the lake on the first beat while the rest of the fleet headed west.

Opposition sailors sceptical of this manoeuvre were proven wrong when Johno rounded the windward mark in the lead, having picked up some wind that he had been eyeing off from the caravan park end.

However, he was soon caught by Halls Gap based sailor Andrew Pearce aboard his faster Laser and the pair staged an extremely close contest all the way to the finish.

In doing so, they managed to open up a convincing gap on the field, but not without an anxious moment as they found themselves becalmed when their breeze died at the start of the final leg and the rest of the field bunched up behind them in a concertina effect.

Luckily for these leaders a fresh 'puff' soon sent them on their way again, with Pearce crossing the line narrowly in front of Knight, followed by Grellet and Ibs von Seht, but a strong solo sail by trailer sailer skipper Leigh Edwards gained him well-deserved honours on corrected time.

Handicap Results: 1st Leigh Edwards (Sorcerer); 2nd Johno Knight (Impulse); 3rd George Grellet (Impulse)

The wind freshened to about five to 10 knots for the second race and was less fickle in direction, which reduced the luck factor and aided the bigger skippers in the gusts.

New member Phil Chaplin skippered a club 125 and with Roger Spratt as crew sailed a very creditable race.

In what was either a lapse of concentration or a deliberate act of tanking for the Titanic award, club commodore and aquatic photographer Tony Hillier managed to turn his Impulse totally upside down during the start countdown, but did well to restore equilibrium before the gun.

The event itself was very closely fought, with visitor Peter Mulligan improving on his earlier performance to take the outright honours from a consistent Andrew Pearce.

They were followed by a gaggle of Impulses which had sailed very closely and swapped positions for the previous hour, led at the finish by the indomitable Johno Knight, from Jan Ibs von Seht, George Grellet, Peter Knight and Tony Hillier.

Handicap Results: 1st Peter Knight (Impulse); 2nd Andrew Pearce (Laser); 3rd Johno Knight (Impulse).

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