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Challenger Welsh Championship at Llyn Brenig Sailing Club

by Marion Edwards 26 Jul 2017 16:57 BST 22-23 July 2017
Challenger Welsh Championship 2017 at Llyn Brenig © Dennise Shepherd

A small, select group of Challenger sailors gathered at Llyn Brenig Sailing Club for the Welsh Open Challenger Championships held over the weekend 22-23 July. For the first time in some years, we were pleased to welcome a Scottish sailor (Stephen Thomas Bate) to the event.

On Saturday morning there was a fitful SSWly breeze which was forecast to drop during the day, so the fleet headed straight out for two back to back races. In Race 1 Graham Hall (270) started well but Val Millward (257) reeled him on the second lap and overtook him at the leeward mark. The wind promptly vanished leaving them drifting.

After a while the race officer took pity on the fleet and decided to shorten the course, whereupon Graham found a gust, which eluded Val, and won by about a yard. Jack Alderdice (281) read the start of Race 2 perfectly and executed a beautiful port tack flier but his joy was short lived as Val and Graham hunted him down leaving him in third. The race was again shortened as the wind swung Nly and then vanished (again), leaving Stephen (58) stranded at the leeward (now windward) mark.

After an excellent lunch from the galley the fleet re-launched. The wind had remained Nly during lunch but a huge shift meant the first start to Race 3 was abandoned and the course changed. Val led from start to finish, while Graham gifted Jack second place with a navigational error.

In Race 4 Val led for the first lap but on the second beat Graham went hard left and came out ahead at the windward mark and led to the finish. Having completed four races the discard had kicked in, leaving Val and Graham on equal points and all to play for on Sunday. Once the boats had been retrieved and put to bed, the heavens opened, the thunder rumbled and lightening flashed over the hills. We were very grateful it did not happen an hour earlier.

Sunday morning dawned windless but the wind filled in from the NW and the fleet was sent out for the final two races. In race 5 Graham sailed into a hole close to the windward mark leaving him in last place. He managed to work his way back second by overtaking Jack on the short beat to the finish, but Val was left unchallenged to take a straightforward win.

While Val now had the advantage, Graham could still win the championship provided he won the last race. The wind had swung more northerly so the course was changed and this caused some confusion at the start and allowed Val to take the win and the championship leaving Graham second overall.

We would like to thank the Peter Davies for organising the event, and to him and commodore, Andrew Roberts, for acting as race officers under difficult conditions. Above all we would like to thank Llyn Brenig Sailing Club for their usual warm welcome and willingness to host our small fleet.

The next event is the RYA Sailability Multiclass regatta at Rutland Sailing Club (4-6 August).

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stVal Millward257Rutland Sailing Club‑2112116
2ndGraham Hall270Rutland Sailing Club12‑31228
3rdJack Alderdice281Rutland Sailing Club‑33233314
4thStephen Thomas Bate58Annandale Sailing Club‑44444420

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