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RS Sailing Feva Europeans 2018 728x90

Challengers at the RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta

by Marion Edwards 8 Aug 2017 18:48 BST 4-6 August 2017
RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta at Rutland Sailing Club © RYA / OnEdition

Ten challengers competed at the RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta held at Rutland Sailing Club over the weekend 5-6 August. The fleet welcomed two new sailors from Grafham Water Sailability who sailed boats kindly loaned by Rutland Sailability.

RYA Sailability had organised class-specific training sessions on the Friday. The challenger training was led by Richard Johnson and Val Millward from the rib, with Graham Hall giving practical demonstrations in his challenger (including both dos and unintentional don'ts!). The session focussed on starting, mark rounding and sail trim. The wind was gusting to 24 knots but all the sailors coped well in the breeze and significant improvements were seen during the session. It has been suggested that the catastrophic gear failure suffered by one boat should not be reported, suffice it to say the required spare part was found and the boat ready for action the next day!

So on to the regatta proper. On Saturday morning the fleet launched in a light, westerly F2-3. The challengers shared the course, in the southern arm of the lake, with the asymmetric classes (RS Venture, Skud 18 and Weta). The challengers had the first start and sailed a trapezoidal course with the asymmetrics on the inner loop. In race 1 Val Millward (257) led from the first beat and remained unchallenged to the finish. Julia Winters (297) sailed brilliantly in her first solo race to come fourth.

There was a delay while the course was reset in the shifting wind. Race 2 was held in rain (though there were claims of sleet!) which killed the wind, what there was of it shifted wildly with gusts coming from north through west to south. There was some relief, but also confusion, when the race was shortened. Val and Graham Hall (270) had a close battle throughout with Val again emerging the victor.

The fleet returned to shore to dry out, warm up, have lunch and prepare for the 90 minute Ken Ellis pursuit race. The race used a long windward-leeward course which in the shifting winds included some broad and fine reaches! A solitary Hansa 2.3 started first followed by the rest of the Hansa classes with the challengers starting after 36 minutes. Unfortunately the stronger winds enjoyed by the early classes had dropped by the challenger start and they were significantly disadvantaged, particularly on the first beat. Fortunately the wind picked up as the challengers reached the leeward mark, which helped them move up the fleet picking off the slower boats and kept the faster asymmetrics at bay. After 90 minutes Val had worked her way to fourth place behind Megan Pascoe in her 2.4, Allan Smith and Neville Rose were second in a Skud 18 and Paul Philips won in his Liberty.

The fleet came in for the day and many sailors and helpers stayed for the regatta dinner held in the clubhouse.

On Sunday Pauline Shaw (261) was keen to continue her battle with Mark Fletcher (298) as they were lying fourth and fifth on equal on points, but unfortunately Mark was unwell and unable to sail. The wind was a shifty westerly F3 gusting F4 and the challengers were sent down to the "main pond". This time the challengers and asymmetric classes were joined by the 2.4s, with the fleets sailing trapezoidal, inner loop and outer loop courses respectively - it all worked remarkably well.

In Race 3 Val, and most of the fleet, went left on the first beat while Graham made the mistake of going up the middle which left him in fifth place at the windward mark and having to play catch up. He eventually overhauled Jack Alderdice (281) on the beat of the third lap, but was unable to catch Val who took the win by 10 seconds. Alan Bradley (290) was getting into his stride to take fourth, and newcomer Jack Ginn (301) was definitely getting the hang of the challenger as he was fifth.

Race 4 saw Jack Alderdice tack early and go hard right while the rest of the fleet went left. Right was the way to go as he led at the windward mark and continued to lead until the leeward mark when Val sneaked passed, with Graham achieving the same towards the end of the second beat. Graham eventually managed to overtake Val on the final beat to take the win and deny Val a perfect set of results.

As first challenger Val took the Millar Management trophy home, Graham was second and Jack Alderdice came an ever consistent third.

Thanks to RYA Sailability, Rutland Sailability and Rutland Sailing Club for organising and hosting the event.

The next event is the UK Challenger Championships, again at Rutland Sailing Club, from 15-17 September.

Ken Ellis Pursuit race positions: (34 finished)

4th Val Millward
8th Graham Hall
9th Jack Alderdice
12th Mark Fletcher
13th Alan Bradley
18th Pauline Shaw
19th Jack Ginn
24th Dean Abra
25th Julia Winters
DNF Mark Ashley

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st257Val MillwardRutland Sailing Club111‑23
2nd270Graham HallRutland Sailing Club‑22215
3rd281Jack AlderdiceRutland Sailing Club‑33339
4th290Alan BradleyRutland Sailability‑764414
5th261Pauline ShawGrafham Water Sailability556‑716
6th297Julia WintersGrafham Water Sailability4‑87617
7th301Jack GinnGrafham Water Sailability‑875517
8th298Mark FletcherRutland Sailability64(DNC)DNC21
9th218Dean AbraIsle of Sheppey SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC33
9th303Mark AshleyRutland Sailability(DNC)DNCDNCDNC33