Musto Skiff UK Series Event Thorpe BayYacht Club 3/4th Sept
Report by Ben Schooling
Eight boats travelled to join the 2 local boats for round 7 of the UK Series. The fleet launched into a fresh 14-18kt SW with sunshine and enjoyed 4 quick fire races alongside Southend-on-Sea pier.
Race 1 and Andy "Turbo" Tarboton led round the windward mark but came a cropper on the first gybe handing the lead to Dan Dixon. Ben Schooling chased hard but Dixon held off to finish with Andrew Gould taking 3rd. Race two and Dixon led around the windward mark from Tarboton and Serega Samus. Dixon showed great pace and held off the chasing pack for another bullet with Tarboton 2nd and Webber 3rd. The race officer lengthened the course for races 3 and 4 which allowed the fleet to stretch their legs after two 25 minute gut-busters. Again Dixon showed blistering upwind speed to lead round the windward from the chasing pack. Webber was closest but capsized at the leeward gate leaving Tarboton and Schooling to take up the pursuit. Schooling managed to overhaul Tarboton into second but there was no catching Dixon who notched up his 3rd bullet of the day. The Race officer shortened the final race to 2 laps to give some weary sailors a reprieve. It looked like Dixon was going to round out the perfect day leading round the windward mark but Tarboton had a trick up his sleeve and headed out to sea up the last beat to make the most of the turning tide. The tactic paid off and he crossed Dixon up the last beat and held on to the finish with Schooling in 3rd.
Ashore the fleet enjoyed a great curry in the warm hospitality and beautiful club house overlooking the Essex boy racers cruising the strip. Sunday dawned grey and breezy with the overnight front still kicking on. The fleet watched the Kite surfers blasting around on the rising tide over a hearty breakfast. By 12 noon the tide was in but the wind was still a little too spicy so the fleet decided to call it quits and head home with boats intact.
Congratulations to Dan Dixon on winning his first open after a 5 year sabbatical from the fleet and a huge thanks to Thorpe Bay Yacht Club for running and Dave Ayre and Ron Barnes for co-ordinating. The fleet move up the Essex Sailing Club coast to Stone for round 8 of the UK series in a months time.
The UK Series also now has a new leader! Rookie Andy Tarboton who has a self confessed love of the Musto Skiff class (and all who sail in her) now has a slender 2 point lead over Ben Schooling. The series is wide open with any of the top 7 still with a chance of winning so with two events left to go it's all still to play for!
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