The final racing of the Watling Streetworks Winter Series took place at West Baldwin Reservoir on Sunday morning.   

The conditions were mostly sunny and with a not so common northerly breeze blowing down the valley - perhaps spring has finally sprung. 

Although the breeze may not have been as steady as it would usually be from the north, it was good enough to bring a fleet of 11, including Jim Whitelegg (Gull) to the start. 

A starboard (clockwise) course was set by the race officer using the full length of the lake.  A crowded start saw Andrew Dean (Radial) first away and sadly first to find the patch near the first mark with no wind. The majority of the fleet got ahead, with Dave Batchelor (Hadron) taking the lead on the water. 

During the race the breeze picked up a little, too much for the Gull and crew but not enough for Batchelor to get far enough ahead of the chasing group of Aero 5s and Radials.  

After correction James Penn (Radial) was first, one second ahead of junior Thomas Watterson (Aero 5) who was in turn one second ahead of third-placed Batchelor. 

This is cause for celebration in the Penn household -  as far as your correspondent can see, it’s his win on the lake. 

For race two the wind was increasing, sunshine and no rain, spring still holding over the same course.  

Dean was not only first at the first mark but held it until the second before being overtaken by Batchelor.   

This time it was junior Thomas who took up the chase and managed to keep the margin down to only 10 seconds on the water. With the wind increasing, the Hyetts - Jason and Roo - moved up the fleet. 

Yet again, Batchelor was not far enough ahead at the finish and took fourth place on correction, the win going to Thomas, with Dean second and first woman was junior Roo Hyett in third.   

Although this may not have been the best winter series for racing, with many cancellations for both too much wind or too little, the racing has been very close and fully inclusive with competitors from pre-teens to septuagenarians! 

Only the race officer knows who has claimed overall victory for the 2023-24 Watling Streetworks Winter Series. The prizegiving will be held after the IOM Copiers Easter Regatta which is being hosted by Manx Sailing and Cruising Club this Saturday in Ramsey Bay, the first regatta of the 2024 season. 

MS&CC would like to thank Doug Watling of Watling Streetworks for continuing to support winter sailing, Keith Poole for race officer duties and all the patrol boat crews who have volunteered their time.