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Blaze Nationals at Warsash Sailing Club

By Paul Taylor on 13 Jun 2007 8-10 June 2007
Action from the Blaze nationals at Warsash
Action from the Blaze nationals at Warsash
Photos © Eddie Mays / www.eddiemays.com
Action from the Blaze nationals at Warsash

The forecast did not look inviting with next to no wind forecast for the championships of a class that revels in real wind over the 3 day event. However the Blaze class got lucky and on each day sea breezes built up and ensured the entire 8 race programme was run intact in warm sunshine and moderate breezes, and under RO Peter Knight very efficiently.

The high number of pre-entries suggested class records would again be broken but the forecast did keep a few away keeping the numbers competing down to a more modest 45 from 18 clubs on the water. Of the total entries, there were 9 Grand Masters (55+) and 14 Masters (45 – 54) demonstrating the attraction of the Blaze to the mature club racer.

Race one got away in light winds with last years champion Mike Lyons (Burghfield SC) and runner up Christian Smart (Pembrokeshire) leading the pack away. Lyons just got around the windward mark but Smart fell back on the tide allowing Lyons to build a margin for the rest of the race. Simon Beddows (Burghfield) got past Smart who was 3rd and the 4th position was taken by Tim Powell (Warsash) in a borrowed boat. Friday’s second race was led by Tim Davison and Lyons in a much improved sea breeze chased by David Angwin (Burghfield) and Nick Miller (Glasson SC). After about 40 minutes the wind suddenly died away making the tide the determining factor for many. Peter Knight quickly shortened the race to the relief of all. It ended a lake sailors benefit with the first four all coming from Burghfield with Lyons followed by Peter Barlow, Angwin, and Beddows. Miller came in 5th followed by Davison and in 7th Smart.

Day 2 – R3. With the RO running shorter races it became critical to get the first beat right. Lyons and Smart got it correct by starting in the middle of the line. They were followed by Martin Preston (QMSC) in the moderate sea breeze but it was Miller who worked through to 2nd followed by Preston and Roger Williams (Burghfield). Smart slipped back to 6th on a couple of headers.

R4. This time it was Davison followed by Lyons who made the first mark first. The pack then got held back by a large cruising yacht that followed a direct path from the windward mark to the wing mark. They could see no apparent reason to alter course for anyone despite ‘helpful’ hints from several of the competitors and the yachts name later became an abusive term in the Warsash bar. When the pack extricated themselves Smart and Beddows eventually got past Davison who was followed by Miller but they could not get to Lyons.

R5. Lyons and Davison bet on the pin end of the line but it was Miller, Preston and Smart at the committee boat end that got the assessment right. Those on the left were halfway down the fleet at the windward mark. Miller won followed by his fellow ‘rightists’ Preston and Smart. Lyons had by now scrambled back up to 4th but was some way off the lead group.

Day 3 – R6. More sea breeze races but with time pressure Peter Knight informed the fleet that he would run on time with shorter races on a smaller course. Even more emphasis on perfect starts and with final positions also being considered the pressure was on !. It was therefore predictable that the first start would be recalled as the tide helped the keenest over the line. Student Jonathan Saunders will remember this with regret as he had performed a perfect port end flyer to cross the entire fleet ! The restart saw another newcomer Andrew Hill drive away from the port end, ducking a few sterns but flying up the beat to reach the windward mark with a considerable lead that was never seriously challenged. Behind him Lyons, Smart, Miller and Davison were fighting it out closely followed by Beddows and Preston. The boat on boat contest put Smart in 2nd, Lyons 3rd followed by Davison and Miller.

R.7 – This was very similar to the previous race and yet again Hill struck out to the right very early into clean air and a more favourable tide to pull away. The battle behind put Miller into 2nd, Beddows into 3rd and Lyons and Davison into 4th and 5th

R.8 – The line and windward mark was reset. This time Lyons was the one to head off right away from the fleet chasing after another newcomer, Mark Bamber, in his brand new boat. This got them to the windward mark with a very useful margin and Lyons quickly pulled through Bamber on the downwind leg. The real contest now for other championship positions was between Miller, Smart and Beddows. Smart won through to finish second with Beddows 3rd and a notable 4th position by Bamber who was followed by Miller.

So ended the10th Blaze Nationals in brilliant sunshine. It will be remembered for the weather that came good despite a dire forecast, good race organisation, the generous sponsors (free beer, breakfast and the Championship shirts) the standard of racing across the fleet and the good humour plus the now traditional ‘dancing’ by some unnamed competitors to the music of Warsash house band ‘Too Drunk to Dance’ – some clearly did not take the hint contained in the name seriously. It also marked the arrival of the first Cirrus / Rondar built boats with two of them finishing in the top three.

Overall Results: (8 races, 2 discards)

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1st720Mike LyonsBurghfield SC1111-43-418
2nd741Christian SmartPembrokeshire3-76232-8218
3rd740Nick MillerGlasson SC-27-525152520
4th570Simon BeddowsBurghfield SC24-73-863321
5th693Andrew HillRondar Raceboats6-1487511-1328
6th731Tim Davison -11694745-1235
7th722Martin PrestonQueen Mary-12-133112791042
8th710David AngwinBurghfield SC7346-12.5-12121143
9th745Mark BamberGleeson10-20-161261015457
10th733Peter BarlowBurghfield SC1421114(46 OCS)1310-1664
11th743Bob CowanWarsash SC21(28 M18)141010-247668
12th669Tim PowellWarsash SC4151217(46 OCS)816-2072
13th684Roger WilliamsBurghfield SC5125209-2722-2573
14th713Stuart BrownBurghfield SC89-2615-191761974
15th654Paul TaylorBurghfield SC-1711-2016141514878
16th613Andy ConwayChichester YC2316188159(46 DNF)(DNC)89
17th696Tim HeatonBala SC24-3615-2812.51911990.5
18th668Robert JohnstonBlackpool & Fleetwood YC9819212114-28-2392
19th611Jonathon SaundersDovey YC-26-26232511111815103
20th711Jon ThompsonWaveney & Oulton Broad SC-2922(36 M5)181820207105
21st618Giles StothertGlasson SC1328-3292621-3014111
22nd656John AinsworthWeaver-3129171316(DNC)2922126
23rd670David PyeBala SC22232119-301823(DNC)126
24th690Andy BuchananWarsash SC15-303022-32161926128
25th575Richard HillWarsash SC191925-322830-3518139
26th546David BrownFelpham SC2825-343120-342721152
27th574John AbbottOxford SC303213-33232533(46 DNF)156
28th700Mark AstburyWSC(DNC)(DNC)10302246 OCS2129158
29th512Paul ReidBlackpool & Fleetwood YC-36182427-34283430161
30th5Sandy Baillie-StrongWarsash SC(DNC)(DNC)22262546 DSQ1728164
31st717Bob YatesBurghfied SC-3833-362327233227165
32nd519Richard EllingtonBurghfield SC(DNC)(DNC)282924292433167
33rd533Alistair BarbrookBurghfield SC(DNC)(DNC)273546 OCS222517172
34th655Paul JefferiesHunts SC18(46 DNF)(DNC)DNCDNC261324173
35th606Tom HardingGurnard SC1617293431(DNC)(DNC)DNC173
36th73Chris WatsonBurghfield33-3533-3717322634175
37th614Michael BealeKing George SC-37243524-37313632182
38th629James Dyson 34(46 DNF)3838293337(DNC)209
39th692Chris GilliesGurnard SC2531373936(DNC)(DNC)DNC214
40th725Chris MossBurghfield SC(DNC)(DNC)39363346 OCS3131216
41st627Andy ParkhouseGurnard SC3527404035(DNC)(DNC)DNC223
42nd7Simon WardLymington Town SC2033 M12(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC237
43rd744Peter DaviesWarsash SC3234(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC250
44th601Ivor BarbrookBurghfied SC(DNC)(DNC)414138DNCDNCDNC258
45th695Martin HutchinsWSC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC276
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