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Blaze East Coast Championship Round 1 at Blackwater Sailing Club

by Ben Harden 16 Apr 15:04 BST 14-15 April 2018
Blaze line-up at Blackwater SC for the East Coast Champ © Ben Fullalove

It was a great weekend for the first round of the East Coast Championship. Five Blazes travelled from as far as Wilsonian to join the fleet of 4 at the Blackwater Sailing Club.

After all the travellers had stepped their masts it then became very apparent that we wouldn't be starting at the scheduled start time of 1045. After a 30-minute postponement the wind finally showed up and everyone was on the water sharpish. The first race soon set the tone for the weekend, a hotly contested starboard end start line with several OCS. The wind continued to disappoint throughout the first race with local knowledge being key to the foul tide beat, thankfully it stayed long enough to allow the course to be completed with Andy McIvor taking the win.

The wind then started to build to a solid 7-10Knts for the start of race two and another eagerly battled start line caused more OCS starters. Andy McIvor again led the fleet around his home waters only to find he was OCS so the race win was then handed to a fellow local sailor, Terri Crook. Once all had finished we returned to shore and were welcomed in with beer and cake by second race non-starter Alex Williams (due to a mast foot breakage) we were even treated to some early summer sun. It wasn't long before the chat turned to the plans for the evening, it was soon decided that Chinese and beer was next on the agenda!

Day two and the forecast promised more breeze and clear skies but while uncovering boats with a cold fog and faint breath of air, it wasn't looking truthful. Again the race committee put a 30-minute postponement on the race, which gave some a few extra moments to recover from the night before. Once on the water and first race away we were treated to a holey breeze, which made for an interesting first few legs. Terri decided to cross the tide early, it paid off as he led the fleet for the rest of the race. After a shorten course was called by the race committee the wind started to build ready for race two.

The final start of the weekend and all was still to play for. Everyone pushed the start line hard, a little too hard as the race committee called for a general recall. This then led to confusion among the fleet, no one knowing when the next start was. What was thought to be the 3-minute turned out to be the starting signal, those lucky enough to be near the line got a pretty good start! The wind was now blowing a steady 10-12knts making for much more exciting racing. With Andy and Terri battling it out for the win, the rest of the fleet just tried to stay within arm's length of the two leaders. Eventually, Andy seemed to disappear and sailed off to victory just as the wind started to slowly drop again.

Once ashore the leftover cake and beer was consumed and prize giving took place. With some really tight racing in a variety of wind, the results couldn't have been much closer.

Overall Results:

1st Andy McIvor (Blackwater SC) 4pts
2nd Terri Crook (Blackwater SC) 4pts
3rd Chris Saunders (Wilsonian SC) 11pts
4th Ben Harden (Burnham SC) 11pts
5th Ben Fullalove (Blackwater SC) 11pts
6th Malc Hutchins (Royal Corinthian YC) 16pts
7th Stewart Robertson (Wilsonian SC) 19pts
8th Alex Williams (Blackwater SC) 20pts
9th Charles West (Wilsonian SC) 23pts

Thanks to all who helped organize the weekend and to Blackwater Sailing Club for having us. See you all at Royal Corinthian Yacht Club – Burnham for the next one!

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