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Ovington Boats - VX One

Byte Inland Championship at Bowmoor Sailing Club

by John Saunders 5 Oct 16:10 BST 30 September - 1 October 2017
Byte Inlands at Bowmoor © John Saunders

The weekend of September 30/October 1st saw the final event in the Byte Class calendar, the Inland Championships at Bowmoor Sailing Club and what a great end to a very successful season it was. There was an entry of 24 boats including male and female with both teenagers and sailors further in to their senior years!

A brisk, shifty and gusty wind covered the lake making sailing fast and challenging for all competitors on a somewhat complicated course.

In race one Louis Saunders (Combs) and Oliver Dumbleton (Nantwich and Borders) were quick off the line and rounded the windward mark together before Louis established a good lead and was never really challenged throughout the remainder of the race. He was followed home by fellow Combs sailor Rick Whitehouse. Newcomer Oliver was third. Stu Moore (Weston) after an excellent race failed to pass through the line on one lap and suffered a DSQ forcing him to take his discard early.

In race two Louis put in a similar commanding performance with Oliver in second and Rick in third.

Race three saw another convincing win from Louis but only after passing Stu and Oliver engaged in a fierce battle of their own. Stu taking second with Rick following home in third. Oliver dropped back to 6th.

At the end of the days racing Louis with three wins had a clear but not unassailable lead however at this point the remaining podium positions were far from decided so all to fight for on the Sunday.

The Byte fleet were lucky enough to gate crash a joint 40th/50th birthday party at Bowmoor on the Saturday night with an excellent barbecue and a happy hour at the bar. The more mature members of the fleet took full advantage of this, some more than others, while the teenage members thrashed away to the disco with an abandon exhausting to behold and presumably without the aid of alcohol? Later in the evening the Bowmoor speciality "Boom of Doom" was introduced its precise form is best left to the imagination!

So, Sunday dawned and the Byte fleet emerged blinking into the morning gloom ready to do battle.

Race four started badly for Louis being stuck back in the pack as they left the short line. Huw Nunn (Bowmoor) tried a port end flyer then tacked off half way across the fleet reaching the mark in first place followed round by Oliver. The fleet quickly divided into three groups the leading group consisting of Huw, Oliver, Rick and Zoe Bazen (Bowmoor). Louis was stuck back in the bulk of the fleet but quickly cleared them and set off in pursuit catching and passed Zoe as the race was coming to an end. It looked as if the places would be Huw from Oliver from Louis, but no! Emma Pearson (Weston) sailing with her C1 rig and appropriate handicap had after a sparkling performance won and demoted those behind her to 2,3 and 4.

Race 5 saw Louis make a clean start and lead by a long distance at the bell. Stu Moore had by now shaken off the effects of the previous nights indulgence and took second after a race long fight with Huw and Rick.

Now for the final race six. Louis had won by this point but the places were still very close between Huw, Rick, Oliver and Stu. At the end Huw was victorious beating Stu into second with Louis third and Rick fourth.

The final result was Louis, Huw, Rick, Oliver and Stu. But what amazing close racing on a lake where spectators could easily watch the action whilst drinking tea!

So the season has drawn to a close after a year of excellent turnouts and massive enthusiasm. Hartley have shown themselves to be an excellent manufacturer always willing to help and support the class. Class chairman John Banbrook has seen and recognised the important characteristics of the boat and by his promotion at Bowmoor Sailing Club he has created critical mass which ensures future growth. There is no other boat which embraces all ages and both genders where the only limitation is to not be particularly heavy. This is born out by the numbers of ladies sailing, why struggle in a boat not designed for your weight or demote yourself to a craft designed for children. Bytes are sophisticated boats with sophisticated de-powering rigs and proper modern sail controls. The new C1 rig retains the sophistication but with a smaller sail is proving very popular amongst the even lighter sailor. Above all racing Bytes is fun, competitive but fun.

We do have to talk about the competitors. My son Louis has been dominant this year winning every event he entered. This gave him both Nationals and Inland trophies as well as winning the traveller series in his spectacular black boat. But he has rivals in Rick Whitehouse, Stuart Moore and others. Rick has been around for a very long time....a very long time as his elegant grey hair shows! Rick is a past multiple champion second in this years Nationals and is always there, accurate and never flustered in spite of the teenage assault! Stuart ex squaddie and very experienced despite his relatively tender years is an aggressive sailor who just loves it when the wind is up. We have ever improving young teenager Matt Banbrook coming into form and newcomers Huw Nunn another ex-squaddie who finds himself too light for lasers and is loving his Byte, hence his second in the Inlands! So many great sailors, Emma Pearson another former squaddie and really making the C1 rig work. Zoe Bazen always there... so many young helms snapping at the heels of the more experienced competitors. This young talent is now joined by less young Oliver Dumbleton a former Solo sailor. Perhaps this defection will increase as we move towards next years World Championships at WPNSA and sailors forsake Olympic classes in favour of a boat more suited to their weight.

For anyone keen to join the class Hartley Boats supply them new and also sell reconditioned part exchange boats offering great value. Second hand boats also appear on the open market but be quick as they are soon snapped up. We also know that there are many boats out there just being club raced and it would be great to get some of these on the circuit where you would be given a warm welcome.

Best for information is the Byte Facebook Group where you will see photographs read reports and gain information.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubClassPYR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st3573Louis SaundersCombs SCBYTE CII1147111‑4137
2nd3606Huw NunnBowmoorBYTE CII1147‑73523114
3rd3561Rick WhitehouseCombs SCBYTE CII1147243‑74417
4th2709Oliver DumbeltonNantwich and Border Counties SCBYTE CII114732‑635619
5th3608Stu MoorWeston SCBYTE CII1147‑216292221
6th3584Matt BanbrookBowmoor SCBYTE CII1147‑205486528
7th3078Emma PearsonWeston SCBYTE C111806781‑9729
8th2943Chris ConlanBowmoor SCBYTE CII114748‑12681036
9th3577Rachel MackinderWeston SCBYTE C111808910.5‑15101249.5
10th3685Alexandria BowdenCombs SCBYTE CII1147511‑1612131152
11th3568Tom CookeBowmoor SCBYTE CII11471212.571111‑1453.5
12th2957Teresa DoranBowmoor SCBYTE CII114710‑16913151562
13th3611Celia RushtonWeymouth SCBYTE C11180141410.5‑19121363.5
14th3588Zoe BazenBowmoor SCBYTE CII1147(DNS)DNSDNS57870
15th867Kevin MooreWeston SCBYTE CII11471310‑1916161671
16th3591Olly CookeBowmoor SCBYTE CII114791517.5‑21141873.5
17th3132Callum CombeBowmoor SCBYTE CII11471712.51317 1776.5
18th3684Toby BanbrookBowmoor SCBYTE C111801118141818‑1979
19th3613Lucy HaydonBowmoor SCBYTE CII11471519151417(Rtd)80
20th1473Will MorrisBowmoor SCBYTE CII1147161717.5‑20192089.5
21st3562Mike RadfordWest Oxfordshire SCBYTE CII1147   1022991
22nd485Caroline DoranBowmoor SCBYTE CII11471820(RET)222021101
23rd1640Rhys WalkerBowmoor SCBYTE C11180   232122116
24th1640Darcy LynallBowmoor SCBYTE CII114719 DNS   119