Photos © Eddie Mays / www.eddiemays.com
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)
|1st||720||Mike Lyons||Burghfield SC||1||1||1||1||-4||3||-4||1||8|
|3rd||740||Nick Miller||Glasson SC||-27||-5||2||5||1||5||2||5||20|
|4th||570||Simon Beddows||Burghfield SC||2||4||-7||3||-8||6||3||3||21|
|5th||693||Andrew Hill||Rondar Raceboats||6||-14||8||7||5||1||1||-13||28|
|6th||731||Tim Davison|| ||-11||6||9||4||7||4||5||-12||35|
|7th||722||Martin Preston||Queen Mary||-12||-13||3||11||2||7||9||10||42|
|8th||710||David Angwin||Burghfield SC||7||3||4||6||-12.5||-12||12||11||43|
|10th||733||Peter Barlow||Burghfield SC||14||2||11||14||(46 OCS)||13||10||-16||64|
|11th||743||Bob Cowan||Warsash SC||21||(28 M18)||14||10||10||-24||7||6||68|
|12th||669||Tim Powell||Warsash SC||4||15||12||17||(46 OCS)||8||16||-20||72|
|13th||684||Roger Williams||Burghfield SC||5||12||5||20||9||-27||22||-25||73|
|14th||713||Stuart Brown||Burghfield SC||8||9||-26||15||-19||17||6||19||74|
|15th||654||Paul Taylor||Burghfield SC||-17||11||-20||16||14||15||14||8||78|
|16th||613||Andy Conway||Chichester YC||23||16||18||8||15||9||(46 DNF)||(DNC)||89|
|17th||696||Tim Heaton||Bala SC||24||-36||15||-28||12.5||19||11||9||90.5|
|18th||668||Robert Johnston||Blackpool & Fleetwood YC||9||8||19||21||21||14||-28||-23||92|
|19th||611||Jonathon Saunders||Dovey YC||-26||-26||23||25||11||11||18||15||103|
|20th||711||Jon Thompson||Waveney & Oulton Broad SC||-29||22||(36 M5)||18||18||20||20||7||105|
|21st||618||Giles Stothert||Glasson SC||13||28||-32||9||26||21||-30||14||111|
|23rd||670||David Pye||Bala SC||22||23||21||19||-30||18||23||(DNC)||126|
|24th||690||Andy Buchanan||Warsash SC||15||-30||30||22||-32||16||19||26||128|
|25th||575||Richard Hill||Warsash SC||19||19||25||-32||28||30||-35||18||139|
|26th||546||David Brown||Felpham SC||28||25||-34||31||20||-34||27||21||152|
|27th||574||John Abbott||Oxford SC||30||32||13||-33||23||25||33||(46 DNF)||156|
|28th||700||Mark Astbury||WSC||(DNC)||(DNC)||10||30||22||46 OCS||21||29||158|
|29th||512||Paul Reid||Blackpool & Fleetwood YC||-36||18||24||27||-34||28||34||30||161|
|30th||5||Sandy Baillie-Strong||Warsash SC||(DNC)||(DNC)||22||26||25||46 DSQ||17||28||164|
|31st||717||Bob Yates||Burghfied SC||-38||33||-36||23||27||23||32||27||165|
|32nd||519||Richard Ellington||Burghfield SC||(DNC)||(DNC)||28||29||24||29||24||33||167|
|33rd||533||Alistair Barbrook||Burghfield SC||(DNC)||(DNC)||27||35||46 OCS||22||25||17||172|
|34th||655||Paul Jefferies||Hunts SC||18||(46 DNF)||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||26||13||24||173|
|35th||606||Tom Harding||Gurnard SC||16||17||29||34||31||(DNC)||(DNC)||DNC||173|
|37th||614||Michael Beale||King George SC||-37||24||35||24||-37||31||36||32||182|
|38th||629||James Dyson|| ||34||(46 DNF)||38||38||29||33||37||(DNC)||209|
|39th||692||Chris Gillies||Gurnard SC||25||31||37||39||36||(DNC)||(DNC)||DNC||214|
|40th||725||Chris Moss||Burghfield SC||(DNC)||(DNC)||39||36||33||46 OCS||31||31||216|
|41st||627||Andy Parkhouse||Gurnard SC||35||27||40||40||35||(DNC)||(DNC)||DNC||223|
|42nd||7||Simon Ward||Lymington Town SC||20||33 M12||(DNC)||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||237|
|43rd||744||Peter Davies||Warsash SC||32||34||(DNC)||(DNC)||DNC||DNC||DNC||DNC||250|
|44th||601||Ivor Barbrook||Burghfied SC||(DNC)||(DNC)||41||41||38||DNC||DNC||DNC||258|