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Kielder Water Sailing Club Bank Holiday Events

by Judy & John Scullion 1 Sep 2017 08:24 BST 26-28 August 2017
Archie Dodd and Dave Watt on the final straight during the August Bank Holiday weekend at Kielder Water © Annabelle Scullion

Over the August Bank Holiday weekend Kielder Water Sailing Club held both windsurfing and sailing events.

The windsurfing freestyle competition took place on the Sunday afternoon, in light winds. Three groups of competitors took turns to demonstrate moves such as beach starts, sailing kneeling down (or in the case of Archie Nixey-Godfrey, lying flat on his board), sail 360's, some unnamed and indescribable antics, and by Nick Pike, a successful "strimmer". Amy Holley earned diversity points by luring her dog Max onto the board with the promise of a tennis ball, and Max managed a couple of nice dismounts while Amy wasn't looking. First prize went to Nick Pike, second to Brian Coates, and third to Richard Longbone.

The freestyle competition was followed by a jousting event where each jouster, standing on a windsurf board paddled by a team-mate, had to attempt to knock their opponent off the board using a large foam pole. This was followed by "whale racing"; a relay event with competitors sitting on inflatable whales.

As is traditional, the Little America's Cup event was held on the Bank Holiday Monday. As is also traditional, the weather was damp and extremely windy. The anemometer on the club roof showed force 5 – 6 as people signed up for the racing, building even further as preparations got under way.

The Little America's Cup is a match racing event – like the America's Cup itself. Unlike the original, however, the vessels of choice this year were Toppers for the adults (or adult-sized), and Optimists for the juniors.

The first race, indeed, suggested that Toppers of indeterminate age and variable condition were not ideally suited to force 6 winds. The first pair to race didn't even cross the start line; following several capsizes one ended up on a rocky lee shore and the other managed to fight her way back to the slipway. The second pair managed to start, and one actually finished the course. The next race, with juniors in Optimists, was slightly more successful, but racing was then postponed in hopes of a moderating wind, and everyone went in for lunch.

After lunch the wind was much more friendly; force 4 gusting 5. Each race was keenly contested and within the junior fleet, George Stewart won all of his races to take first place, with Abi Cowley second with two wins and Pete Cowley third with one. Poppy Nixey-Godfrey put up a good fight but sadly was not placed this year.

The adults were divided into two groups for the initial heats, and in the final Archie Dodd and Dave Watt, first in their respective groups, battled it out in the best of three races. Archie managed to beat Dave twice running to become the Little Americas Champion. Dave was hard on his heels; an impressive achievement for someone who has only been sailing for two years, but Archie's skill ensured him first place.

All had great fun and got very wet; we look forward to next year's challenge!

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