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Marblehead Ranking Event 1 at Radio Sailing Woking

by Roger Stollery 7 Apr 16:37 BST 26 March 2017

Radio Sailing Woking put on a very good event for Marbleheads in beautiful sunny and windy conditions with 26 entries from 17 clubs and 11 races were sailed.

Although the forecast was for strong east north-easterly wind blowing over and around a bank of trees behind the control area, wind became more easterly blowing more down the lake yet still giving swirling gusts and leaving holes on the windward leeward course set by Race Officer, Terry Rensch. The first race started promptly at 10 o'clock for what would turn out to be a marvellous day's racing. After a couple of races the course required a bit of re-alignment to match the wind veering east, but after this the racing flowed well with skippers behaving themselves with few raised voices. Indeed often heard above this, or the silence, were the shrieks of delight of competitor's young children enjoying playing games by the lakeside.

Tony Edwards sailing a GRUNGE started well by winning Race 1 and then going on to win Race 3. Peter Stollery sailing an UPROAR also won his first race and then had a series of second places and a win in Race 5. Darin Ballington sailing a GRUNGE was also consistent gaining 4 fourth places after a win in Race 2. The lunchtime leaderboard features these three skippers with Peter 7, Darin 12 and Tony 15 points.

During a short break for lunch the breeze built with almost all sporting B rigs. There was even more spectacular planing on the off wind legs in the vicious gusts at the beginning of the run to the leeward gate where the wind suddenly died in the lee of the trees allowing boats to bunch up and make the gate rounding difficult and bringing in an element of chance. The race victories were split amongst the fleet and a large number of the fleet going up and down between the two heats. The increased breeze allowed the increasingly large number of spectators to see the boats at their speedy best, as the afternoon's racing was a fantastic way to start the season.

Tony kicked off the afternoon with a win and then Rob Vice sailing an UPROAR took Race 7, before letting Darin win Races 8 and 9. Colin Goodman, who had been very consistent all day sailing his QUARK, took Race 10 and the final race was won by a welcome newcomer to the Marblehead fleet, Nick Ennion sailing a QUARK. Special mention to others included Tracey sailing her STARKERS for a well-deserved trip in to A heat, despite all attempts to throw it away on the finishing line; Hugh McAdoo on return to the rankings after recent race team duties sailing his PRIME NUMBER and Duncan Ellis who is starting to show glimpses of form with his STARKERS CUBED.

Although those close to the top were starting their campaign for 2017 with a clear intention to gain points for selection for the British team for the 2018 World Championship in Biblis, Germany, it was good to see the enduring nature of this class and boats to be able to report some notable races for the lower positions. The final reckoning saw the overall result being decided on the last race; Darin needed to beat Peter by two places or more to win and he did so by finishing second allowing him to tie with Peter and win on count back, with 3 as opposed to 2 wins.

Colin Goodman and Tony Edwards pushed both of the top two all day, but couldn't quite match the consistency, with a small gap back to the rest of the top ten, Roger Stollery, John "Shozza" Shorrock, Hugh McAdoo and James Edwards all being within 8 points of each other.

There were five different designs in the top ten, proving again that good race skills are as important as boat design in this closely fought class. Thanks to Terry Rensch for running the event, Simon Jeffs, Peter Dunne and the Radio Sailing Woking Club for their efforts and the class skippers for making this a great start to the 2017 season. All in all another fantastic day for the Marblehead class with more to come in a 2017 season packed full of good events, which apart from the Nationals and Ranking events include the GAMES series run in the Met and Southern district especially for Marblehead club sailors.

Overall Results: (top ten)

1st Darin Ballington (Manor Park) GRUNGE 21pts
2nd Peter Stollery (Guildford) UPROAR 21pts
3rd Colin Goodman (Coalhouse Fort) QUARK 34pts
4th Tony Edwards (Yeovil) GRUNGE 41pts
5th Roger Stollery (Guildford) UPROAR 57pts
6th John Shorrock (Datchet Water) QUARK 61pts
7th Hugh McAdoo (Datchet Water) PRIME NUMBER 62pts
8th James Edwards (Yeovil) GRUNGE 65pts
9th Vinnie Zammit (Norwich) STARKERS CUBED 76pts
10th Rob Vice (Clapham) UPROAR 81pts

Ladies prize Tracey Ballington, Manor Park
Furthest travelled, Damian Ackroyd, Leeds and Bradford