This weekend sees the first ever Winter Championships for the UK 29er Class with the fleet gathering at Chew Valley Lake SC for the Noble Marine sponsored event.
With spring feeling in the air, and a reasonable forecast, this event kicks off the 2012 racing calendar for the class, and it has attracted boats from across the whole of the UK; most notably mention must go to two boats (Hunter brothers and Kitson Jones brothers) making the journey from Scotland to take part, with them representing the growing interest and fleet in Scotland.
Most of the top boats are entered, including the vast majority of the RYA Volvo National Youth Squad who spent last week at a Squad Training Camp in Spain, where they combined two days of training with competition at the first Eurocup Travellers Series Event of 2012; their boats being delivered direct to Chew Valley by “boat delivery” straight from Spain, but hopefully the weather at Chew Valley will bring a bit more breeze, and sun, as was seen there.
Boats to watch out for will include Ben Batten and Tim Gratton fresh from success in Spain as top British boat in 3rd (out of 44), Ian Payne and Chris Berry (2011 UK Inland Champs and 4th in Spain), top female boat, Vicki Payne and Stephi Orton (12th in Spain), Phil Walker and John Mather (2011 National Champs, with Phil being Class Coach). Others hoping for some breeze will include Ollie Cooper and James Poyner (2nd at 2011 Inlands, but grabbing black flags in Spain to finish 15th!), and 2011 Grand Prix Winners Jack Hawkins and Chris Thomas (9th in Spain). That said, the 29er fleet is growing to be a very hot fleet indeed, and there are many boats that will be in contention come the end of the weekend.
Noble Marine is sole sponsors for this inaugural event, and the UK 29er Class Association is very pleased to be able to have them alongside, in recognition of the strong and mutually beneficial relationship between the well-known dinghy insurance company and the class.
It is a while since the class visited Chew Valley too, and we are pleased to be able to have this event hosted there alongside their 2012 Asymmetric Open Meeting involving RS800’s and Musto Skiffs alongside the 29ers.
For more information on the UK 29er Class Association, go to www.29er.org.uk
For more information about Noble Marine, go to www.noblemarine.co.uk