Inland Championships 2009Hosted by Northampton S.C. - 9 & 10 May
A strong fleet of Merlin Rockets arrived at Pitsford Reservoir , many for the first time, to be warmly welcomed by a low calorie fry up………oh yes we are athletes!
For the first race, a ‘P’ course was set in a freshening south westerly breeze. The first beat saw Willam Warren lead from Matt Biggs, having opted for the left hand side of the course, taking a lift on the port lay line. The chasing group of Richard Whitworth, Mike Calvert, Alex Jackson and Tom Stewart closed the gap slightly on the second beat. Unfortunately, Alex had a minor capsizing issue at the gybe mark causing a major pile up (sorry Tom). For the next two laps Richard, and crew Sally Townend, reeled in the leading pair to overhaul them both. Matt was second and William held third.
Race two and the relatively new pairing of Mike Calvert and Chris Downham were set to show the fleet a clean pair of heels. William proved consistent with a second place and Andy Davis was back on the pace finishing third in the now challenging conditions.
The final race of the day saw a change in the course to a traditional triangle sausage formation. It paid to hit the right hand corner and take the lift off the bank. Simon Blake was first to clock this and first to tack off the line on to port. Carving his way through the starboard boats he was quick to get in to clear air and was off. The only boat to fly the kite down the first leg, Simon and Phil established an early lead. However, with such a shifty wind direction, now blowing from the club, they lost their lead to 2008 Inlands and Silver Tiller winners Matt Biggs and crew Rob Kennaugh. Glen Truswell showed excellent form and boat handling to snatch second and Richard Whitworth banked a third.
After a hard day on the water everyone tucked in to a hearty meal. In fact quite a few people tucked in to quite a few meals (didn’t we Mr Dodds). An intense fussball table competition and master class in dancing from Lawrence Tosh followed. The bar then sadly ran out of gin, and London Pride, and rum………………. In hindsight our over-indulgence was a good thing for it helped all those deciding to camp to sleep through Dave Winder’s car alarm that proceeded to go off every 15 minutes during the night. Normally not such an unusual occurrence, was it not for the fact that Dave was asleep in the car at the time.
Sunday morning saw the forecast came true, unfortunately. A light zephyr from the north east was just stable enough to get the two races in.
With a pin bias, but lift from the starboard lay line, it was a toss up between ends to start from. At the gun, pressure over angle paid, and those opting for the committee boat end were first to the bank, first in to the pressure and first to the windward mark. Newcomer Richard Adams and crew Martin Weatherstone led for the majority, only losing to Richard Whitworth and crew Sally Townend who pipped them to the line. Mike Stephens, sailing a vintage design ‘Passing Cloud’, revelled in the light airs to score a third with Glen Truswell fourth.
The final race, and Richard Whitworth needed a top four to secure victory, and Matt Biggs needed a win and for Whitworth to be less than fourth. With a dropping breeze it was a case of ‘eyes out of the boat’ looking up the reservoir for those pressure patches. Duncan Salmon made a charge for the centre of the course while the majority headed for the right hand most windward corner. With a port lift Duncan was rewarded with an early lead which he converted to a second place. Richard Whitworth was persistent as ever and displayed an excellent lesson in tactics winning the last race of the weekend and with it the Inland Champion title for the seventh time.
Overall a very testing weekend’s sailing, boat handling on Saturday, headaches Sunday morning and a brain tease Sunday. Northampton Sailing Club and P&B excelled themselves, a huge thanks to them for their help, we shall definitely return!!
Photos: Anthony York - ChunkyPics