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September Open Meeting at Kielder Water Sailing Club

by John Scullion 18 Sep 2013 21:19 BST 14-15 September 2013

The Kielder Open meeting took place on 14-15th September, two consecutive days with widely differing sailing conditions.

Saturday was a fine, sunny day with a F3 breeze. 42 boats went out to race, including participants in the Laser and the Tempest nationals. Three races were planned, with four separate starts for Tempests, Ospreys, Lasers and the handicap fleet. Race Officer Peter Hawkin set up a triangle-sausage course for all except the handicap boats, which raced a simple triangle. After laying the marks, the patrol crews stayed decoratively on the sidelines for most of the time, sunbathing.

Sunday was a different matter altogether. The day opened with low cloud and constant drizzle. The wind started off reasonably light, tempting most of the previous day's competitors in the Tempest, Osprey and handicap fleets out onto the water again. However, with an impending forecast of gale-force gusts, sailors were keeping a sharp eye out for the weather worsening.

It was near the end of the first race when the wind suddenly increased... and continued to increase. The three patrol boats earned their keep this time, attending capsize after capsize and counting heads before dashing off to stand by the next victim of a sudden gust.

Even one or two of the Tempests, whose heavy keels should have stood them in good stead, found themselves taking a swim. Young Ben Russell, on the other hand, managed to keep his Optimist upright in winds approaching 40 knots whilst dodging keelboats and planing Ospreys.

The second race of the day was written off by general consensus, the Race Officer declaring racing abandoned while most of the boats were already heading for the shore.

The Laser contest, comprising three races on the Saturday, was won by Jonathan Nicoll of Ullswater, Tim Luke of Killington took second place, and Stuart Belfield of Leigh and Lowton came third.

In the Tempest fleet, the honours went to three crews from Ullswater Yacht Club: first were Jon Modral-Gibbons and Colin Meadows, followed by Ian Modral and Robin Higgins, and in third place John Robinson and Lindsey Whitehead.

The Osprey winners were Alan Henderson and Alastair Barrie of Prestwick, beating Rob Shaw and Ian Little of Kielder Water Sailing Club into a very closely-fought second place, with Mark Weston and Tim Keighley of West Riding coming in third.

The handicap race was won by Robbie Langford and James Nohl of KWSC in a Laser 3000. Second was Colin Murray of RMSC, in a Finn, and third Richard Purdy of Sunderland, in a Rooster 8.1. Ben Russell, in his Optimist, placed a very respectable fourth.

Many thanks to all who made it such a good weekend: Race Officer Peter Hawkin and his team of helpers, the patrol boat crews, the galley team who kept everybody fed and watered, Alec Vallance for providing the rather excellent Great Heck beer at the bar (though I fear he underestimated the capacity of such a large fleet of sailors), Kielder Yacht Club for allowing the Tempests to use their moorings, all the other club members who helped out in one way or another, and last but definitely not least, the visiting sailors who travelled long distances to be there. We hope to see them again soon.

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