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Kestrel Nationals at Royal Tay Yacht Club

by Stewart Murdoch 3 Aug 2010 07:22 BST 26-30 July 2010

Royal Tay Yacht Club welcomed 28 crews from the length and breadth of Britain to their 2010 Kestrel National Championship, which formed part of the club’s 125th anniversary celebrations. It was in 2007 that the club first hosted this event and after a week of unbroken sunshine and superb sailing winds there was some doubt that coming back so soon was pushing our luck.

The 2010 event sailed between the 24th and 30th July was not all sunshine and wind but there were plenty of both with the added benefit of a full range of wind strengths to challenge crews, the consensus was that this had been a great event both on and off the water.

The practice race was sailed in 17 to 22 knots of wind. A windward leeward course was set and there was enough excitement and a little swimming but no boat damage. Ignoring superstition Stewart and David Murdoch sailing Seathing finished first.

One feature of RTYC, which has become something of a hallmark over its 125year history, is good social functions and this championship certainly lived up to that reputation. Proceedings ashore started on Sunday evening with a welcome briefing from Principal Race Officer Ron Lorimer, followed by the Commodore’s Reception.

Race one of the Championship started towards the end of the ebb off Broughty Ferry lifeboat pier. The course set was triangle/sausage. The fleet got off to a perfect start with one half taking the south side of the beat and the other half heading for the north shore to avoid the end of the ebb – a mistake as it happened and several top boats found themselves with an impossible position to recover from at the windward mark. Not so Stewart and David who repeated their practice race performance and pulled out a significant lead by the end of the race. Past champions Paul and James Jarvey sailing Fat boy and Slim finished second with John and Olive Glasspool sailing a borrowed Tay boat third. Dusty Miller and John Ellingham Back in Black who were well down at the first mark pulled back up to fourth by the finish making the greatest gains throughout the race.

Race two was intended to be a long distance race up through the Tay road bridge with a circuit off RSS Discovery, but the wind failed and it was initially postponed then a smaller course set before finally being rescheduled to be sailed later in the week.

Monday evening’s barbecue followed the class AGM at which it was decided to proceed with proposals for the development of a drop foot spinnaker and a longer spinnaker pole.

Race three started to the west of the club in 15 knots of wind with a windward/leeward course set. Beating against the end of the ebb with the Tay still in spate was a real test of the boat and crews. With its powerful conventional rig and ability to point high the Kestrel is better suited to the demands of estuary sailing than many newer designs. Having a lifting alloy centreplate encouraged all crews to dice with the shore in a way few would have risked with a dagger board. The close tacking against the tide made great spectator sport and led to frequent place changes. Early leaders Liam Pike and Alistair Luxford were passed down-wind by Dusty Miller and John Ellingham and the Jarvey brothers. On the final short reach to the finish of round four the Murdoch brothers were able to climb high and snatched third place.

Race two (rescheduled) was sailed back to back, but this time on a large triangle/sausage course with each leg over a mile in length. After one general recall and a threatened airing of the black flag, the fleet got cleanly away. The bright sunshine, freshening wind and flooding tide kicked up big waves creating spectacular sailing – even those who went swimming came ashore with broad grins. Miller led at the windward mark and was never headed, followed initially by Pike and then Jarvey but it was the Murdochs who came up the fleet with good downwind speed. This set the scene for several tacking duals which Miller and Ellingham controlled well to finish first.

After lunch most of the fleet went back out for more fun on the same big triangular course with a few boats opting to sit this one out and enjoy the spectator sport. Pike, Miller, Murdoch and Jarvey rounded onto the first reach in close company but Murdoch sailing low and fast off the waves came out ahead at the gybe and led for the rest of the race followed by Miller, Pike, and the Worsleys in Farty Pants who had also made significant gains downwind. At the half way stage the championship was tied between the two leading boats Back in Black and Seathing.

RTYC club member and supporter of the Kestrel class, Jean Elvidge, hosted a reception in her splendid home by the yacht club for helms, crews, event officials and helpers. The perfect way to revisit the day’s events on the water and consider what might have been.

The crew’s race attracted 17 entries and was as competitive as any of the championship races. Sailed to the west there was a clear inshore tidal advantage, which led to some very close tacking up the shore in 15 knots of wind. With a windward leeward course set there was plenty of opportunity for crews to close up on each other down wind and some tricky tactical calls on the long beats against the tide. David Murdoch won after a close dual with Gareth Fay throughout the race, Chris Richards finished third.

The sixth championship race was set mid river on a big triangular course. Arguably this was this race on which the event hung. Going into the race Miller and Murdoch were tied on equal points. Miller got an excellent start and were fastest to windward– holding off the challenge to win the race and go into the last day with the advantage. The Worsleys again worked their way up the fleet with great downwind speed to finish third.

Wednesday evenings social was memorable. The city’s Lord Provost, John Letford, who had sponsored the day and been afloat for the afternoon watching the racing from a RIB, made a speech of welcome. The ceilidh and haggis supper were punctuated by malt whisky and smoked salmon tasting and some recitals of Burns by club member Boyd Baird.

The last day of the championship dawned grey with the wind from the southeast. The course set off Tentsmuir forest took the fleet down river on a windward/leeward course, which provided the opportunity to run back west up the south shore against the tide, which was still ebbing strongly. There have been few closer championship races in recent years, Miller and Murdoch changed places on four of the 5 legs sailed and were never more than 10 seconds apart. At the shortened course finish Miller crossed less than a boat length ahead at the opposite end of the line to take a decisive lead into the last race. Third home demonstrating the performance enhancing characteristics of malt whisky, were Ian Hunter and Trevor MacDonald.

The final race of the championship was sailed off Broughty Ferry with an easterly sea breeze and idyllic conditions. There was a distinct advantage to short tacking up the shore, round features such as the RNLI pier, the old ferry pier and the castle rock before striking out into the tide for the windward mark. The triangle took the fleet right across the river to a bouy off the Old Light, followed by a very tight reach back to the leeward mark off the north shore at West Ferry. The Murdochs led for the first round but were passed by Miller and Ellingham on the run and could not break back on the second triangle. The Jarveys held onto their third place giving them third overall and were followed home by Pike and Luxford who also finished the race and their championship in fourth place.

The RTYC race management had been faultless, with great courses, which used the estuary to best advantage; good start lines and attentive rescue teams. The full programme of seven championship races, a practice race and the crews’ race had been sailed and the support ashore had been excellent.

Following the prize-giving which was held outside in bright evening sunshine on the terrace overlooking the estuary, RTYC hosted the championship dinner and fancy dress party which picked up the theme of the club’s 125 Anniversary “A blast from the past!” the less said about that the better! Champion and KOA Chairman Dusty Miller received unanimous support from the fleet in dedicating the 2010 championship to Joan Richmond, a stalwart supporter of the Kestrel fleet, who had died earlier in the year.

Having completed the championship on schedule, Friday was a spare day and, as planned, crews were able to enjoy the spectacular setting of the Tay estuary. Ten boats with two rescue craft sailed downriver in company using the end of the ebb tide to get down to the Abertay sands where the fleet picnicked and relaxed on the sand before taking the flood tide back up river to the Royal Tay Yacht Clubs base at Grassy Beach. Although they kept a fairly low profile the dolphins put the gold seal on the day by their presence for the first time during the week.

Altogether a great event, excellent competition, a worthy winner, a superb showcase for the Kestrel dinghy, real camaraderie in the fleet which contained many family combinations and a tribute to the volunteer commitment and organising capacity of one of the best sailing clubs in Britain.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Kestrel nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosBoat NameSail NoClubHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1stBack in Black II1558Lakeside Sailing ClubDusty MillerJohnn Ellingham-42111117
2ndSeathing1610Royal Tay Yacht ClubStewart MurdochDavid Murdoch112-322210
3rdFat Boy Slim1548Hickling Broad Sailing ClubPaul JarveyJames Jarvey25425-6321
4th 668Lakeside Sailing ClubLiam PikeAlistair Luxford-833548427
5thFartypants1621Royal Tay Yacht ClubMalcolm WorsleyDanielle Worsley-1246437832
6thBreakin Wind1574Alton Water Sailing ClubDavid HearsumGareth Fay5657-95735
7thSecond Fiddle1559Royal Tay Yacht ClubIan HunterTrevor MacDonald71210-1363947
8thJiggerypokery1563Goldhanger Sailing ClubHenry RichardsChris Richards1111767-12648
9thReflex1537Royal Harwich Yacht ClubJohn GlasspoolOlive Glasspool3(DNC)891413552
10thWindhover1511Calshot Sailing clubSteve WorfIsobel Fay107988-161153
11thUgly Betty1091Goldhanger Sailing ClubDuncan WilsonCalum Wilson68-14141141356
12thBlooburd1535Royal Tay Yacht ClubAngus FlemingJohn Thow-169131015101269
13thAlchemy1592Royal Tay Yacht ClubGordon ForbesSteven Forbes910-171113171070
14th 1510Wilsonian Sailing ClubJeremy DrummondIan Drummond14-19111617141688
15thMiss Nomer1545Marconi Sailing Club / Maldon Yacht ClubJohn WeedonBen Flack15(DNC)12DNF12111594
16thShearling1488Filey Sailing ClubPhilip TrevelaynSusannah Trevelayn131515191822(DNF)102
17thVenus Air1576Tayvallich Sailing ClubDonald CarmichaelOliver Baker201416152021-24106
18thFooster1573Goldhanger Sailing ClubRod Brown-LeeJenny Brown-Lee2313181219-2422107
19thRed October1594Sutton Bingham Sailing ClubMike BurkeJo Mahy-24162017212020114
20thGaa Sands1579Royal Tay Yacht ClubAngus Broadhurst (DNC)DNCDNCDNC10914120
21stdoilooklikeigiveadamn1615Royal Tay Yacht ClubSandy BremnerLesley Bremner18(DNC)21DNF161918121
22ndAlison Jane1606Royal Tay Yacht ClubRory BroadhurstDaniel Shaw221823(DNF)251817123
23rdHakuna Matata1591Royal Tay Yacht ClubFiona MoirChris Duncan19(DNC)22DNF231521129
24thTickled Pink1575Deben Yacht ClubTony WilmanPeter Haffendon2117(DNF)182223DNF130
25thMis Behave1546Netley Sailing ClubJo GlasspoolSue Glasspool17(DNC)19DNF242619134
26thCarpe Diem1567Royal Tay Yacht ClubDavid GavineVarious25(DNC)DNFDNF262523157
27thRare Bird1601Royal Tay Yacht ClubAlistair HoodCampbell Morrison(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC174
27thSecond Chance1561Blithfield Sailing ClubMark HartleyRichard Hartley(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC174

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