Results :: Blithfield S.C. Inland Championship
|Blithfield SC hosted the Merlin Rocket Inland Championships, sponsored by Nautilus Yachting, over last weekend. 48 boats made the trip for what the various meteorological models were indicating to be a fresh weekend. |
The first race on Saturday was a benign affair in terms of wind strength, but with an oscillating pattern that tried the patience of the committee boat team as it swung around. After several postponements - some fleet inflicted - the race got away. What had seemed to be a port biased line was turned totally inside out by a huge swing to the left bringing the starboard side of the course into play very late. One or two of us were breathing a sigh of relief at this point, though the violence of the shift caught out an unfortunate blue boat who capsized on the windward mark! Race 1 Windward mark carnage
A pack of around 12 boats broke away at this point, not to be caught by the bulk of the fleet. Within these groups places were changing, being on the wrong side of the larger wind shifts was not the place to be!
The race was won by Chris Jennings and Pete Horn, with Caroline Croft and Beka Jones second and Matt Biggs and John Hackett third.
Towards the end of the first race the ferocity of the gusts had been increasing with each squall. After another big shift to the left and back again along with the inevitable restarts the race got underway in what were now strong conditions. Once again playing the shifts correctly was all important, and you could lose huge amounts of ground by being on the wrong side.
This race was won by Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor, with Richard Whitworth and Tom Pygall second and Simon Potts and Ally Martin in third.
A number of teams (Correspondant included!) had had enough after this race which peaked at 28kts. However the conditions in the third race looked to be more like the first race, the gusts being both less frequent and less meaty.
Another new team - Chris' Gould and Killsby - took the bullet in this race with William Warren and Chris Robinson second and Dave Winder and Pippa Taylor third.
So ended the first day. This must have been the most open the Inlands have been at this stage for quite some time, with top 5 places in each race occupied by almost totally different people. Now however was pig roast, party and beer o'clock as the weary fleet took to the clubhouse. Blithfield SC being in the back of beyond there are no neighbours to annoy which has upsides and downsides. The body language from some of the fleet indicated that the upsides had been exploited fully and the downsides were only now becoming apparent!
However this was serious business and there were two more races to get in on Sunday. If Saturday had proven shifty, Sunday promised to be if anything more challenging and with the forecast straight off the far shore short beats would be the order of the day - how wrong this was!
Race four got underway after one postponement, the breeze still being reluctant to settle with sizeable gusts. The right hand side of the course was again the place to be, though at least with the wind straight off the shore it was feasible to come into the windward marks on starboard this time. Race four was won by Simon Potts and Ally Martin, second were ageing rockstars Jon Turner and Richard Parslow, and third were Richard Whitworth and Tom Pygall. Overnight leaders Chris Gould and Chris Killsby were caught by the flag of doom.
Race five saw the whole series wide open with four different race winners and nine different teams recording top three places; this is one seriously strong fleet! The wind gods had not finished with us yet as an unforecasted swing to the west once again set the cat amongst the pigeons on the start line. Once reset the race got underway, a very long corner to corner first beat with what turned out to be more than a shade of left bias as the wind swung back towards what was forecast.
Andy Davies and Alex Warren - till now luckless having won one race but being black flagged - made no mistake this time and did a horizon job to take the win. Simon Potts and Ally Martin clinched the title with a second place and defending champions Chris Gould and Chris Killsby third.
So well done to Simon and Ally whip put together a fairly consistent series in what were anything other than consistent conditions.
Thank yous are due to Gareth Cauldwell and his team in the committee boat, who must have worn themselves out pulling that anchor up and down! Thanks also to everyone at the club who contributed to making the champs the event it was, especially to Steve and Gill Leney who did all the co ordinating work behind the scenes.
|Overall Results: |