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Zhik Laser Masters Nationals at Pevensey Bay Sailing Club

by Glyn Purnell 7 Jul 2009 09:14 BST 3-5 July 2009

The 2009 event sponsored by Zhik took place over the extended weekend of 3rd – 5th July at Pevensey Bay Sailing Club, near Eastbourne. The event was the first of three qualifying events for the World Masters Championships to be held in the UK in 2010 and this no doubt encouraged an entry of 123 boats. The fleet was split into 73 Standards and 50 Radials sailing the same triangle, sausage, triangle course but with separate starts. Many competitors were able to camp at the club resulting in a tented village and a Glastonbury atmosphere but with a limited number of musicians, Tony Woods and Lesley Hotchin but still as good! However, there were a couple of storms on Friday and Saturday nights just to complete the touch.

Friday’s Southwesterly wind averaged between 22 - 25 knots with a maximum gust recorded on the committee boat of 31 knots. The three scheduled races were sailed in these testing, or was it exciting, conditions. In the Standard fleet Orlando Gledhill demonstrated fast upwind speed to take three wins with Steve Cockerill three 2nd places and Alan Davis two 3rds and one 4th place. Davis’s flow being interrupted by Simon Barrington in the 2nd race. The front of the Radial fleet saw a battle between Rob Cage and Ian Jones. Cage scored two wins and a 4th while Jones scored two 2nds and a first, giving him the lead at the end of the day by one point with third position shared between Mike Kinnear and Phil Bevan, a consistent performance by Ian Escritt having been interrupted by gear failure in Race 2. More photographs from Friday’s sailing can be seen at www.eddiemays.com

Following the racing competitors adjourned to the clubhouse for some top class food prepared by the club’s in house chef. The evening was rounded off by the 'Zhik' general knowledge and triva quiz, prepared by Phil Beed of Stokes Bay. Prizes of toe straps, gloves, base ball caps were provided by 'Zhik' and the winning team was the ‘Hungeries’, a loose conglomeration of Stokes Bay and Leigh & Lowton Sailing Clubs.

The wind forecast for Saturday was not very inspiring and, in total contrast, to Friday the strength was only slightly over the minimum requirement of 5 knots. After a short delay the fleet was preparing to go afloat afloat in a reasonable wind when the fog appeared and it was not possible to set a course. The race office flew the postponement flag with flags 'F' 'O' 'G' below. This caused a bit of puzzlement amongst the sailors who were only familiar with the basic flags until they were told it was stating the obvious! Soon afterwards the fog lifted and two races were sailed in a light westerly breeze that suited the lighter weight ladies.

In the Standard fleet Gledhill was not quite as quick as the previous day, scoring two 2nd places to Cockerill’s two wins. Davis picked up a 12th and a 4th to remain in contention. The minor places went to Mac Court (Race 4) & Paul Proctor (Race 5). The Radial fleet saw greater variation in the race winners in the light conditions with Nigel Thomas winning Race 4, Jason Belben 2nd and Escritt 3rd. Henk Wittenburg, the current European Grandmaster champion, won Race 5 ahead of Thomas & Belben 3rd. Following the end of Race 5 the wind started to drop further, making it difficult to set a course and met the minimum wind requirements. Consequently the postponement ashore flags were flown and the fleet returned to the shore to enjoy an ice cream in the pleasant sunshine. By 16:30 the wind had not returned and the day was abandoned.

On Saturday night the club provided a hot buffet for the sailors, partners and friends to the same high standard as the food on Friday. The club was packed as sailors took the opportunity to catch up with old friends and adversaries! Such was the pace that the bar ran out of the local specialist beer as the discussions and reminiscing went on into the night to some jazz from Tony Woods and Lesley Hotchin.

Sunday’s local wind forecast indicated 8 knots of westerly wind and as the fleet went afloat to sail the final three races this had increased to 10 knots. The sailing turned out to be the best of the event with the skies brightening and the wind increasing further to 15 knots giving superb reaches and runs. Race 6 for the Standards saw Gledhill slip to 5th with Cockerill winning but Gledhill returned to winning ways in Races 7 and 8. Cockerill scored a 2nd & 5th in the last two races. Davis was consistently at the front with a 2nd, 5th & 3rd. At the end of the event, Gledhill finished on 7 points, Cockerill 9 and Davis 20 points. In the Radial fleet Belben had two wins and then a 23rd; Cage two 2nds and a 6th: Escritt a 3rd & 5th and then he finished in fine style by taking the last gun of the weekend and Jones returned a scoreline of 4, 3 & DNC. The overall result was that Cage was 1st on 15 points, Jones 2nd on 16 points and Escritt 3rd on 21 points.

The Masters' would like to thank the sponsors 'Zhik' for their generous support, Pevensey Bay S.C. and all their members for their welcome and the excellent race management, Ken Falcon, the UKLA Chairman, for being P.R.O. for the weekend. It was generally felt to be the best Nationals for some years. The main prizewinners are listed below and a full set of results can be found on the UKLA website, www.laser.org.uk

Following the prize giving on Sunday the 'Zhik' sailing gear provided by the sponsor was raffled off amongst the sailors who had stayed on with the following winners:

Best capsize, Brenda Hoult, Zhik ladies rash top
Furthest travelled, Ruud Van Hal (NED), Zhik travel shirt
Zhik Skin titanium top, Nigel Blake
Zhik buoyancy aid, Neil Dunkley
Zhik Spandrex Vest, Ian Jones
Zhik Skin Super Warm Hikers, Ninian Eddie
Zhik Skin Microfleece Hikers, John Reay

Overall Results (Figures in brackets show the overall places in fleet):

Overall Results:

CategoryPosStandard RigRadial Rig
Apprentice 1st Orlando Gledhill (1st) Queen MaryIan Jones (2nd) Dovestone
(35 – 44 yrs)2nd Paul Procter (4th) PaigntonJason Belben (3rd) Stokes Bay
 3rd Andrew Le Grice (8th) Stokes BayMark Hodge (17th) Walringfield
Master 1st Steve Cockerill (2nd) Stokes BayRobert Cage (1st) Bewl Valley
(45 – 54 yrs)2nd Alan Davis (3rd) OxfordIan Escritt (3rd) Yorkshire Dales
 3rd Nick Harrison (5th) Stokes BayJohn Reay (6th) Island Barn
Grandmaster 1st Peter Sherwin (11th) Chew ValleyRichard Major (10th) Grafham
(55 – 64 yrs)2nd Keith Wilkins (13th) ChelmarshHenk Wittenburg (13th) Netherlands
 3rd David Binding (22nd) WeirwoodGlyn Purnell (16th) Leigh & Lowton
Great Grandmaster1st Mike Kinnear (5th) Starcross
(65 yrs & over)2nd Ian Rawet (12th) Grafham
 3rd Ninian Eadie (25th) Queen Mary

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