Results :: Draycote Water S.C. Nautilus Inland Championships
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With almost 50 teams attending the last of the 'big four' class events (the Nationals, Salcombe Week and Hampton Open Meeting) all the top guns were in attendance with the unfortunate absence of Nick Craig, Tom Stewart, and recently crowned National Champion Ben Saxton, who were all still recovering from the Endeavour just one week prior.
Racing format was 3 races on Saturday and 2 on Sunday, traditional triangle sausage courses with elapsed time of circa 50 minutes for the leaders.
Saturdays forecast was a North Westerly force 3 blowing straight off the tree lined shore opposite the club, providing some fruity gusts, cataclysmic holes and moderate shifts; perfect Inland conditions.
After the obligatory general recall we started under black flag with all competitors behaving. Those who peeled off early and worked the right hand side of the course found themselves hitting the pressure first and gained an advantage in to the windward mark.
It was to be a Blithfield affair with Matt Biggs closely followed by Andy Davis who battled throughout the race, the places remained unchanged while further back Chris Gould had worked his way to third and almost caught the leading pair. Simon and Ally Potts showed good form following a fantastic season in their RS200 to finish fourth.
Conditions as per race 1. With a small shift moments before the start, those at the pin end were favoured. Most teams tried to tack on to port while those with heads out the boat hung on a little further and took the man's shift as the wind went further left. Twinned with good boat speed Tim Fells, Chris Gould and Roger Gilbert were early front runners.
Mat Biggs and previous multiple Inlands winner Richard Whitworth both challenged but faded on the penultimate run having gybed off early. Roger took the bullet with Tim crossing the line only a few boat lengths back. Chris Gould and crew Chris Kilsby recorded another counter with a third and Richard Whitworth snatched a fourth.
The wind swung slightly to the North leading the race officer to quickly and efficiently adjust the course. Those who started at the pin were rewarded with increased pressure up the left hand shore, effectively splitting the pack with those coming in from the right not looking very racey. The Chris' lead from start to finish, largely unchallenged. Jenny and Chris Dodds found the fast string and sizzled upwind to pass Andy Davis and Dave Winder to snatch second place.
Sunday dawned and analysis during launching suggested that Draycote Water Reservoir was not as warm as the Downham's hot-tub from the previous night antics, however, it had far fewer lemons and limes floating on the surface so that was at least a plus. Wind had swung further North and was more moderate with spinnakers only just filling.
With all to pay for still it was interesting to see none of the front runners in the top ten at the first mark, in fact only one of the leading three teams made it in to the top twenty. Duncan Salmon sailing with daughter Harriet, won the committee end of the start and pinged the right hand corner, the wind went further right and they came in smelling of roses along with Julian Harms and James Wells also picking the shift.
As the race progressed some of the faster pairings starting to eat in to the leading pack, most noticeably David Winder crewed by Pippa Taylor and the ever wily Dan Alsop made the most of the patchy and shifty conditions. Duncan and Harriet held on to the lead by a mere boat length over David and Dan one further back in third.
With Mat Biggs, Chris Gould and Andy Davis all having a shocker in the penultimate race (24th,20th and 19th respectively), it was all down to the final race. Mat reached the windward mark ahead of the pack to extend to the finish, rather crucially Chris Gould recovered from a moderate first beat to work his way to third, sufficient to take the overall win.
Further down the ranks Jenny and Chris Dodds scored their third top six of the day, thus raising them to fourth overall having put together an consistent second half of the series.
Our thanks go out to the club and all those who volunteered their time to put on a great weekends racing.
The class racing for 2015 culminates with the final Silver Tiller event at Blithfield this coming weekend (25th October) before the star studded prize-giving at Ranelagh SC on Saturday 7th November. For further info on tickets please email Frances Gifford on francesgifford(at)hotmail.com
By Alex Jackson