Trent Valley Open 2004 - LENEYS CONTINUE WINNING WAYS

Whilst the TVSC turnout was only half that of the previous year (you know who you are!), the visitors more than made up for this, giving a total of 16 boats. The forecast was not good, with a large high pressure promising light and variable winds. An ideal early morning breeze from the south west quickly disappeared and was replaced by a 0 to 8 knot north westerly; not one of the better directions for Trent Valley. Knowledge of river sailing, an ability to make maximum use of the shifts and riverbank ‘water’ calls looked like pre-requisites for a good result. Patience could also play a major part.

The Race Officer set a long first race away from the club to try and make the best use of the wind and keep the boats out of the ‘doldrums’. Unfortunately the wind direction and recent tree growth (they’ve got to go!) meant that the downstream mark was still a considerable challenge. The first fleet was lead away by Matt Biggs and Dave Crocket in Nearly All Over and despite some yo-yoing in the extent of that lead, never seriously looked like being caught. In the second flight things were a little closer to begin with but Steve and Gill Leney soon got the Carbonator into a commanding lead, finally finishing amongst the middle of the first fleet.

With lunchtime an immovable feast, the Race Officer was left with a challenge for the second race; a short course with lots of laps near the club or a trip to the top of the river and back where the timing could all go horribly wrong? It was wisely decided that two fleets racing in close proximity could prove a little too interesting and, as a wind lane had appeared through the doldrums, the second race was sent off for an ambitious two full laps of the course. Almost inevitably, the race was shortened at the end of the first lap, with the Leneys winning the first fleet and Mike Anslow and Rob Kennaugh in Prologue winning the second fleet.

Having mellowed out, and possibly over-indulged, in the roast pork lunch, a number of competitors decided that a third race presented just too much of a challenge. The 11 remaining boats set out to see if they could influence the final result.

In the first fleet, George Dalby and Rob Sloane in Roaring Forties finally managed to be somewhere near the start line at the gun and, within the first few tacks, had managed to break free of the pack to establish the lead. Richard Dee and Chris Martin in Armed Forces had been a little over-enthusiastic on the start and had to re-cross the line, leaving them a lot of work to do. Amazingly, they managed to work their way back through the fleet and, despite some obvious frustration in the crew’s quarters at the variability of the wind, managed to overtake Roaring Forties on the final run back down to the club.

The important action was in the second fleet, with Biggs and Crocket having one win under their belts and the Leneys two. Biggs and Crocket needed to win this encounter, with the Leneys lower than third, to take the meeting. Whilst they did indeed manage the win, the Leneys took second place and the meeting. Merlin newcomer Mike Trzcinski, crewed by Jim Hopton, took the old boats’ prize.

With such close racing and the places evenly distributed, the results took a bit of calculation.


Stop Press!
      Sorry it's been a long time, but we had to go to the rule book over the
      Trent Valley results, which ended up in the first 2 places being
      reversed under the silver tiller scoring Giving Matt Biggs the bullet.
      But Steve Leney did walk away with the trophy on the day.


Rob Sloane


See also:
full results (revised)
report on 'Club Sailors' Champs (the day before)