It was a bright and shiny morning last Saturday when 22 Bytes turned up at Bowmoor Sailing Club, supported by 17 Lasers, for the first Byte open of the season. A brisk wind blew across the clear blue tinged water from the clubhouse promising a tricky but exciting day of highly competitive sailing.

As ever the Byte fleet was made up of both male and female and is not age specific because the beauty of the Byte is that the only limitation is not to be overweight!

The fleet rigged and launched sailing across to the far side of the lake for a committee boat start but only when they attained the far side did they realise just how windy and shifty the conditions actually were. So it was to be a day of fast planning reaches, tricky beats and a nasty "To gybe or not to gybe" downwind leg.

Race one started in a frantic fashion as helms explored the first beat which offered several tactical choices. A breakaway group consisting of Stu Moore (Weston), Mike Radford (West Oxford) and Charlie Sanson (Bowmoor) taking charge. Racing was close throughout the fleet particularly at the gybe mark where masts were at all angles including horizontal! It was very close at the front but at the flag it was Stu Moore from experienced Mike Radford and junior Matt Banbrook (Bowmoor) in his C1.

After a hearty lunch where Byte sailors consumed huge quantities of food, as is their habit, they sailed out for race two.

Again conditions were blustery with gusts in the high 20's and lots of spray sparkling in the sunshine. Once again the front runners were Charlie, Stu and this time a very fleet Matt Banbrook making good progress bearing in mind his C1 handicap. Veteran Rick Whitehouse (Combs) impeded Stu at one mark and was subsequently penalised dropping him down the order. Charlie won with Mike second and Stu third.

Race three was sailed back to back with all to play for at the front. However Zoe was the star of this show! After a poor start she took an alternative line up the first beat and emerged at the front. Once there she was not going to lose it and she sailed like a demon to keep her lead and in fact increased it throughout the race crossing the line in front with a whoop of delight! Charlie and Stuart followed home with young Matt in fourth.

So, after discards Charlie Sanson emerged as winner by one point from Stuart Moore in second with Mike Radford third. Zoe Bazen was placed fourth and first Lady with Matt Banbrook in fifth and first junior. Rick Whitehouse took sixth and fastest grey haired competitor!

It was a truly great day at Bowmoor with excellent weather and the best turnout of the modern era. There were as many ladies sailing as men and the competitors spanned from the early teens to the late fifties. What other class can boast that? The C1 rig is now coming into its own with some lighter weight adults choosing to use it in windier conditions. Above all the mix of sailors creates a fun but competitive atmosphere with talented young sailors and older experienced helms all revelling in these dynamic little boats.

Overall Results:

Pos Sail No Helm Club R1 R2 R3 Pts
1st 3593 Charlie Sansom BSC ‑4 1 2 3
2nd 867 Stu Moore Weston 1 ‑3 3 4
3rd 3562 Mike Radford West Oxfordshire 2 2 ‑7 4
4th 3588 Zoe Bazen BSC 5 ‑7 1 6
5th 3584 Matt Banbrook BSC 3 ‑4 4 7
6th 3561 Rick Whitehouse Combs 6 ‑10 5 11
7th 485 Alan Roberts Leigh on Sea ‑13 6 6 12
8th 3583 Emily Watson BSC 8 5 ‑9 13
9th 3577 Rachel Moore Weston 7 8 ‑10 15
10th 2943 Chris Conlan BSC 9 ‑11 8 17
11th 3591 Olly Cooke BSC 11 9 ‑12 20
12th 2709 Charlotte Hitchmough BSC 10 ‑12 11 21
13th 3606 Maisie Harkness BSC 12 ‑14 13 25
14th 2623 Gary Hogan Emberton Park (DNS) 13 15 28
15th 3568 Tom Cooke BSC 14 ‑16 14 28
16th 2957 Teresa Doran BSC 16 15 (DNS) 31
17th 3613 Lucy Haydon BSC 15 (Rtd) DNS 38
18th 3132 Callum Combe BSC 17 (Rtd) DNS 40
19th 811 James Rose BSC 18 (Rtd) DNS 41
20th 3568 Darcy Lynall BSC (DNS) DNS DNS 46
20th 1637 Tasha Tustin BSC (Rtd) Rtd DNS 46
20th 457 Caroline Doran BSC (Rtd) Rtd DNS 46

The next event is at West Oxford on April 8th but attention is also focussed on the Weymouth Nationals in July where if an entry of 50 boats is achieved Hartley, the builder, will pay half the entry fee. To take advantage of this offer enter before April 28th. Details on the Home page