The first two races in the Dell Quay SC Late Helm series almost didn’t happen. After considerable delays, because of heavier-than-usual holiday traffic, competitors arrived at Dell Quay to find they were without a race officer. Jean Buchanan and Charlotte Dawber, both with husbands taking part in the racing, stepped in to act as joint race officers.
With the wind blowing force three to four from the south-west, the race officers set a course taking in the Quay, Crouchers, Heron, Marina, Copperas East and Copperas West racing marks.
In the first race Malcolm Buchanan (Solo), fresh from several days of competition in the Harbour Regatta, was first off the start line and rapidly established a strong lead. Bill Dawber, also in a Solo, struggled to catch up but there was no holding Buchanan back and he stormed around the course, never relinquishing his lead, to come in first both on the water and on handicap.
The fleet quickly split into two, with the five leading boats soon leaving the remaining eight boats well behind to fight it out for positions at the back.
A battle for second place developed between Dawber and the 2000 team of Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer but it was Dawber who eventually took second place, leaving Fitzgerald and Dormer third. The Solos dominated the racing overall with John Purdy and Mike Shaw respectively taking fourth and fifth.
For the second race, with the wind beginning to drop, the competition at the front was every bit as lively but Buchanan once again established a clear lead which was never really in contention, despite considerable efforts by Dawber to catch up. With the first two positions unchanged from race one, Fitzgerald and Dormer were pushed into fourth by Purdy with Shaw once again coming fifth.
Series leader after the first two races is Malcolm Buchanan, with Bill Dawber second and John Purdy third.
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