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Shadow National Championships at Minnis Bay Sailing Club

by Paul Tanner 12 Oct 2009 15:01 BST 9-11 October 2009

With a windy forecast for the 3 days of the Shadow National Championships this was going to be challenging conditions for all competitors.

Race one started in 20 knots with gusts over 25 Knots. Olly Harris made the best start but it was David Lowe who had tacked off early and headed inshore that rounded the windward mark first closely followed by Harris, Paul Tanner and Rob Forrester. Lowe capsized hoisting his kite allowing Harris, Tanner and Forrester to break through. At the leeward mark Forrester capsized on the gybe and Phil Neal moved into third. After another lap Harris won followed by Tanner and Neal.

Race Two stared in better conditions with the gusts decreasing slightly. Tanner made the best start and in clear air started to build a lead from Harris and Robin Leather. Harris and Leather continued a very close battle with Neal closing in on the pair. At the finish it was Tanner First followed by Harris and Leather. Further down the field David Lowe and Mike Martin had a close battle for 5th.

Race Three stated in 18 to 20 knots which was a relief to the now tired helms. Tanner made the best of a pin end start and built a lead up the first beat with Neal in second, Leather in Third and Harris fourth. The wind again increased as the rain came in on the finally run and Phil Neal had a huge wipe-out downwind trying to do a samba with a twist and 5.9 difficulty whilst traipsing with the kite up. Leather and Harris again had a close battle with Harris getting through on the final leeward leg. At the finish it was Tanner first , Harris second and Leather a close third. Further down the fleet Tony Wyeth and Chas Bedford continued to slug it out with some very close racing.

The fleet returned to shore to for a rest and held their AGM.

Day 2 Dawned with a change in wind direction to the NW but a similar 16 to 18 knots of breeze.

With the wind now against the tide big waves started to form which made the conditions even more challenging for Race Four. Harris made an excellent start fully powered up at the gun and lead away from Neal, Forrester and Tanner. Harris maintained his lead as the waves built throughout the race. Tanner managed to pass Neal on the final run and Leather was closing in on Forrester close to the finish. Harris comfortably won from Tanner, Neal and the fast finishing Leather.

For the start of Race Five the tide was now in full flood and the waves built even more making conditions even more challenging. Harris again managed a powered up start to lead at the windward mark from Tanner and Neal. Carl Blenkinsop who had suffered from toxic leak syndrome on day one found his feet and powered away in the conditions and managed to avoid a collision with a capsizing Tanner at the leeward mark. At the end it was Harris from Rob Forrester, Neal in third and proving there that age does stop talent Mike Martin pushed his way through to fourth.

Race 6 and now most of helms understood the wave and wind conditions and this proved to be the closest fleet finish of the day. Harris and Tanner continued there one on one battle with Harris taking an early lead. Forrester and Neal continued their series battle and Martin and Blenkinsop changed places many times through out the race. Graham Tomlin continued to battle on with Wyeth and Bedford. Tanner managed to break through Harris at the last leeward rounding to take a small lead to win. Rob Forrester held on for third from Martin in fourth.

Day two ended with some much appreciated help from the Minnis Bay Juniors provided trolleys and a helpful pull up the beach. Tired helms discussed the newly created pro am series and helm weights at the evening Hogg Roast.

With the top four boats having helm weights from 90 Kgs at the heaviest and 65 Kgs at the lightest it proved how well the Shadow does accommodated a variety of sailing weights.

The final day dawned without the very strong breeze that was forecast. With 2 races to go Olly Harris and Paul Tanner were tired on points with an equal number of first and seconds and either could win the championship.

Race 7 was started in a 12 to 14 knots NW and Robin Leather took a flyer on port tack and crossed the fleet to round the windward mark first followed by Blenkinsop, Forrester and Harris. Leather increased his lead over the pursuing pack with Harris making gains on the downwind legs. At the finish it was Leather first, Harris Second and Forrester third.

Race 8 and the wind had increased to 16 to 18 knots and start was a very close with Tanner ultimately OCS. At the windward mark Harris led just from Tanner with Leather and Blenkinsop close behind. At the first gybe Tanner went for swim ending his title chances. Harris continued to lead from Leather and the fast finishing Neal. At the finish it was Harris, Leather and Neal. Bruce Vigar over came his earlier boat problems to complete races 7 & 8 and join in the fun.

So 2009 Shadow Class National Champion was Olly Harris who sailed a faultless series with no score worse that a second so is the worthy championship for 2009.

The Shadow Class association would like to sincerely thank Minnis Bay Sailing Club for an excellent event with everything well planned and supported by its members.

The final event for the Shadow fleet is the final TT series at the Grafham Water Cat Open on 25 / 25th October 2009.


1. Olly Harris Weston SC
2. Paul Tanner Gurnard SC
3. Robin Leather Gurnard SC
4. Rob Forrester Weston SC
5. Phil Neal Rutland SC

Pro AM Challenge Cup Winners – Carl Blenkinsopp and Robin Leather

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