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Comet National Championships at Fishers Green Sailing Club

by Godfrey Clark 2 Sep 2013 15:58 BST 24-26 August 2013

The Comet class National Championship was hosted by Fishers Green SC over the Bank Holiday weekend of 24-26 August.

The Saturday forecast of rain later did nothing to deter the 33 entries from racing in a light wind and increasing drizzle from the northwest. Two beats were set at slightly different angles with the aim of accommodating the backing breeze and the first two races were both won by Ian Stone who wisely defended the left side of the beat to secure victory from defending champion, Guy Wilkins in the first race, and then from FGSC club member Mathew Aldous-Horne in the second race.

After racing, the fleet and supporters deferred to the clubhouse for an indoor BBQ and quiz evening as the rain and wind increased. Those visitors with soggy camping kit were invited to spend the night in the comfort of the clubhouse.

Sunday morning brought a much better day with bright sunshine and a light northerly breeze blowing straight down the 'fairway'. A long beat the full length of the lake was followed by a long run back, broken by a beam reach and further run. This time it was Mathew who was the man on the march, breaking away early on and extending his lead throughout the race, while Ian Stone could only fight through to third with Alan Bennett leading the pack for second place.

The afternoon course had to be re-set as the forecast wind veer to the east set in. This allowed for two shorter beats with substitute windward marks deployed to avoid the wind shadows. Mathew took his second win after overtaking Ian as the two of them fought it out ahead of the chasing pack, making the series level on points between the two juniors! The third race of the day followed a similar pattern with enough wind to see occasional planing on the reach. Ian and Mathew again showed their prowess, Ian initially pulling clear but Mathew fighting back to take the lead by a narrow margin. 100metres from the finish Mathew was in control but tacked too early to avoid floating debris in the water, allowing Ian to take the win by half a boat-length.

The class AGM was followed by an evening dinner in the clubhouse while bets were taken on which of the juniors would win on the final day.

Monday brought brilliant sunshine and a perfect northerly 10 knots during breakfast but by the start time the wind had veered 30 degrees and the intended course had to be re-set. This time, three beats were used to achieve true upwind legs although the wind remained shifty. This time the leader after one full lap was Steve Lemmon who promptly fell out of his boat at the windward mark. Nigel Austin inherited the lead but again it was Ian and Mathew in that order who found a way through the shifts to win. The course remained for the final race with the event decided, with Ian and Mathew again leading home Guy Wilkins, who secured third overall and Annette Walker in fourth, to convincingly secure the ladies prize.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st152Ian StoneMaidenhead SC11‑3‑21115
2nd560Matthew Aldous‑HorneFishers Green SC‑5‑2112228
3rd806Guy WilkinsChipstead SC24‑53‑55317
4th168Steve LemmonLittleton SC43(DNF)464‑721
5th126Alan BennettStaunton Harold SC652‑737‑1023
6th875Nigel AustinCransley SC974‑12‑113629
7th869Bob DoddsCrawley Mariners‑11‑1561046834
8th788Andy DaleEyott SC78957‑15‑1136
9th361Joe WilkinsChipstead SC1010‑1469‑12540
10th323Annette WalterWelwyn Garden City SC‑25‑26813108443
11th867Chris RobinsonBurghfield SC8‑1679‑13101246
12th532John CoppenhallHunts SC12910‑17‑1491353
13th597Benjamin PalmerBaltic Wharf SC‑13‑141281213954
14th800Henry JaggersBeer SC31115‑16‑17141659
15th844Paul HindeSevern SC‑201311118‑191962
16th711Brian WelhamMaidenhead SC14616‑1918‑201569
17th84Michael EttershankUp River SC1512131415‑18‑1769
18th518Michael ThompsonCrawley Mariners18‑221918‑24111480
19th857Helen LeviersSevern SC171717‑20‑19171886
20th178Karen O'BrienFishers Green SC2119181516‑22(DNF)89
21st821Clive ChapmanShearwater SC16182021(DNF)‑232095
22nd701Izac DoddsCrawley Mariners‑26‑252322221624107
23rd614Carol ButcherHawley Lake SC(DNC)(DNC)2223212121108
24th400John SturgeonHawley Lake SC2223(DNF)‑27252423117
25th812Roger LemmonSevern SC(DNF)24242423‑2722117
26th611Phil WalterWelwyn Garden City SC24‑27‑2525202525119
27th654Brian WeatherleyCotswold SC232021(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNC132
28th169Angus KirkCrawley Mariners‑29‑292728262626133
29th843Dee WeatherleyCotswold SC192126(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNC134
30th41Mark SmithFishers Green SC(DNC)(DNC)2826272827136
31st549Caroline WhittleCrawley Mariners‑3028‑3029282928142
32nd649Diana ThompsonCrawley Mariners27DNF29(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNC155
33rd660Jenny ColcloughFishers Green SC28(DNC)(DNF)DNFDNFDNCDNC158