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K1 National Championships at Datchet Water Sailing Club

by Mike Commander 15 Sep 2017 18:05 BST 8-10 September 2017
Jeff Vander Borght wins the K1 National Championships at Datchet © K1 Class

Datchet Water SC hosted the K1 National Championships between September 8 & 10. London must have been pretty thirsty as the water level was a good 30 metres below the rim of the concrete bowl. Looking out on Friday morning it seemed the wind must be going straight over the top of the bowl but once you got down and on the water you soon realised there was plenty of wind. So although it felt you were sailing in a concrete bowl there was some good racing to be had and you had to be on guard for the tricky wind shifts caused by the height differential between the rim and water level. Other distractions were the constant supply of aircraft taking off from Heathrow airport and the shadow outline of aircraft flashing across the water.

Ant Davey of DWSC did a great job as race officer for the weekend. On Friday afternoon we had the water to ourselves and a good sized triangular course was set for the F3-4 WNW wind.

Race 1 got underway with a double sound signal indicating somebody was over the line but the fleet sailed on so somebody was going to be disappointed come the end of the race. Some close racing ensued but come the finish Jeff Vander Borght was greeted with silence and it was David Hume who took line honours with Dave Guthrie in second place.

Race 2 saw some equally close racing but eventually Vander Borght got a 50 metre lead at the windward mark with Mike Commander just getting inside a whole bunch coming across on starboard. Behind this there was a coming together between Guthrie and Mike Deane which saw Guthrie later penalised during protest. By the wing mark the chasing pack was getting closer to Commander and on the final leg there was a white water broad reach to the finish line with Commander having to decide whether to go low and fend off Paul Handley or sail high to stop Hume and Julian Leggett rolling over the top. At the end, this group of four all crossed the line within seconds of one another. Fabulous drag race.

So at the end of day 1 the leader board was headed by Hume, Commander and Handley

Day 2 dawned with a F4-5 westerly breeze and day belonged to Vander Borght who recorded another two bullets in races 3 and 4 before allowing somebody else to join the party at the top. Race 5 saw Handley and Vander Borght changing lead until the last leeward mark when Commander played the shifts best and came out on top by the windward mark. You're never safe though with Handley and Vander Borght chasing hard but Commander managed to hang in and record his first win of the series.

With 2 discards now kicking in the leader board at end of day 2 saw Vander Borght sitting atop, 2 points clear of Hume and a further 2 points to Commander in third. Once off the water, Dave Pritchett chaired a lively AGM with some great discussion about ladies participation, sail quality, sail trim, boat tuning, venues for open meetings and nationals, and surveying class membership to get a broad perspective of views. Most came away thinking of Jane Telford's lonely voice as the only woman participant and how we might encourage more females into the class.

Sunday, day 3, saw the wind move left toward the south west and at first it was a gentle F2-3. Race 6 got underway with new boy, Andy Ritchie claiming the committee boat end just upwind of Commander who played the shifts best to round windward mark first with Ritchie a close second who had taken note of the sail trim discussion at the AGM and tightened his main leech control to stop it fluttering. Ritchie held this till the wing mark before the chasing pack closed in. Commander lost the plot two thirds up the next beat and relinquished the lead to Vander Borght and a bunch of others at the windward mark. Deane got his act together and claimed second spot behind Vander Borght. With Hume and Commander only claiming third and fifth respectively Vander Borght was clear to sail home knowing he'd got the championship in the bag.

Race 7 saw the breeze freshen and although Commander again led throughout the first lap, it was Guthrie who had seen several race leads evaporate earlier in the series, come home in first place.

Congratulations must go to Jeff Vander Borght for claiming his first ever national championship. From second to sixth only 6 points separated the helms, testimony to the close racing. North Sails did the class proud with some great prizes which were ably distributed by DWSC Commodore and K1 sailor, Mike Beckett. Everyone that took part including new boys to the fleet, Guy Woodhouse and Ritchie, enjoyed some really close racing up and down the fleet as well as forging new friendships. Congratulations to all prize winners and to all those sailors that came to Datchet and to the race team at DWSC.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st127Jeff Vander BorghtLyme Regis(OCS)111‑31(DNC)7
2nd111David Hume 1‑322‑73511
3rd103Mike CommanderTein Corinthian SC‑524‑515214
4th53Paul HandleyChipstead34‑5‑824316
5th69Dave GurtisLyme Regis2(RAF)3‑656117
6th106Mike DeanSouth Windermere SC4‑7‑9342417
7th123Julian LeggettWeir Wood SC‑75746‑9628
8th130Guy WoodhouseLyme Regis SC686‑109‑10836
9th132Andy RitchieWOBYC‑8‑98787737
10th105David PritchettRutland SC1010‑119‑118945
11th131Ian KlyneDWSC9‑12101110(DNC)  51
12th33Jane TelfordSouth Windermere SC1111‑121212(DNC)  57

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