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Ocean Elements 2016

OK End of Season Championship at Northampton Sailing Club

by Tony Woods on 7 Nov 4-5 November 2017
OK End of Season Championship at Northampton © Karen Robertson

A healthy fleet of 23 gathered at Northamton Sailing Club for the End of Season Championship, sharing the event with the National 12s on 4th & 5th November. The fleet was very competitive with Kiwi Luke Gower hoping to complete a fine season both Internationally and on the domestic front with a win.

Jamie Harris, the Cadet World Champion, joined the fleet hoping to show his experienced father Ian how it was done.

Conditions on the Saturday were ideal with winds of 10-18mph with some big shifts to keep it interesting.

Race 1 set the tone for the weekend with Fergus Burnham taking the win from Gower. Tony Woods made a late charge to gain 3rd from a pack of 5-6 boats. You could have thrown a blanket over the first 7 boats.

Race 2 was the only race of the weekend where the leaders got away, with Woods and Gower having a 4 lap match race, Gower just getting the better of it. The consistent Dave Bourne gaining 3rd.

In race 3 the start suffered from recalls, meaning that when the fleet eventually got away the leading National 12 was coming though the OK start line. The poor chap really didn't know where to go. He needn't have worried as Ian Hopwood told him exactly.

Hopwood led the fleet with a chasing pack of 8 boats all within seconds. Confusion took hold after a couple of laps as the fleet came through the line with the 12 fleet. Half of the fleet thought the race had finished as the OK class flag was flying. The other half of the fleet continued the race.

Ashore much discussion took place and there was no choice but to throw race 3 out. Hats off to the race officer who held his hands up and bought Hopwood a bottle of wine to make up for his mistake. There were plenty of 'if only' stories at the bar with sympathy for Iain Horlock in the association boat showing real form in the race that never was.

On Saturday night Northamton S.C showed what great hosts they are with fireworks, a bonfire, disco, and plenty of beer. Well done N.S.C.

Sunday dawned with a chilly building breeze.

In race 4 Gower took the win from Andy Rushworth who was going very fast. Rushworth had been looking for form all year and found it just as the season is finishing! Inland champion Ed Bradburn took 3rd to get on the podium at last.

Gower lined up for the final race knowing he had done enough to win the event. He raced around in 17th place showing that he is human and the OK fleet is the place to be for competitive sailing. Simon Cowood looked like he may have found his way to a win but unfortunately capsized on a tack half way up the penultimate upwind. One passing OK was heard to mutter unkindly "you can't bend an orange".

In the end the improving Bradburn took the win with Burnham 2nd and Hopwood 3rd. A fantastic weekend of close racing with 2 points covering 2nd to 5th overall positions.

Overall Results: (top five)

1st Luke Gower
2nd Ed Bradburn
3rd Fergus Burnham
4th Tony Woods
5th Dave Bourne

At the prize giving the draw was made for a new mainsail kindly sponsored by North Sails. Yes, you've guessed it, Luke Gower won that too!

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