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UK Marblehead 2018 Ranking Event 2 at Norwich Model Yacht Club

by UK Marblehead Class 30 Apr 2018 10:56 BST 28-29 April 2018
Mud... Marblehead Ranking Event at Norwich © @WildBill

The past weekend of April 28 & 29 will be remembered as one that showed the best of the UK Marblehead class with its committed supporters toughing out and being rewarded with a great weekend's close racing.

Norwich Model Yacht Club and its dedicated large team of member helpers triumphed over the 2 days in conditions that would see many a pretender looking for an early shower but not for this hardy group. Why you might ask? Well, the answer is simple for this was a UK Marblehead class ranking event and those that committed to travel what was (for some), a significant distance were rewarded with some good quality racing at the highest level. Sure it was muddy under foot, sure it was wet (real wet) and cold with the wind direction testing for everyone but we got on with the job with enthusiasm.

With the fleet littered with a number of UK representatives soon heading to Biblis in Germany for the Worlds, the tricky conditions proved an ideal way to fine tune rigs, designs and minds for what is sure to be one of the toughest events on record with a maximum 84 boat entry locked in from across the globe.

The racing

Saturday presented a swinging breeze through the North that had 23 skippers sailing largely away from themselves. Shift management was key where those that went the safe route up the middle often found themselves stranded in no mans land. It paid to be bold which often required some outside of the box thinking in sailing further than an obvious layline to make best use of the course.

To this end it was the skills of past National champion Peter Stollery who showed the way racing his new boat with a near flawless display of shift reading and downwind technique. Pushing Stollery hard over the day was current World and National Champion Brad Gibson who never quite hit his stride in second and a tight group that included Tony Edwards, Darin Ballington, James Edwards and Roger Stollery who after a flying start faded as the day wore on.

Day 1 Scores: (after 8 races and 2 discards)

At the end of racing skippers gathered at the Kings Head in Acle for a fine meal arranged by our Norwich hosts led by Vinnie and Valerie Zammit. A presentation of impressive MYA team wear was made to our UK representing skippers off to Germany and sufficient drink was taken to either drown the sorrows of celebrate a tough but enjoyable day.

Sunday dawned with the expectation of stronger winds and true to word B and C suits were donned for the seeding races in this 21 boat entry. The dilemma was did you rig for the light spots of the fresh gusts. Many chose the former with their taller B rigs and this proved to largely be the rig of the day with the odd nose down squall thrown into the mix to keep all on their toes.

From the get go it was again the Stollerys enjoying wins in the seeding races but it was there that any hold over the day fell away. As the racing settled into its rhythm it was Gibson who took it by the throat with a string of consistent one two finishes only blipped by hooking a finishing bouy while leading heat 10 showing his timing still a little out after a decent layoff. Peter Stollery hung on to second place after a valuable day of testing his lower rigs with eyes on the Worlds ahead, with the fast a consistent James Edwards only a point adrift in third.

Both Darin Ballington and Tony Edwards had some good races but found consistency hard to come by at times. Standout performer of the day went to local skipper Duncan Ellis who grew into the event with his newly launched boat for a well earned sixth overall.

Day 2 Scores: (after 12 races and 2 discards)

In all and in spite of the cold and heavy conditions, our fearless race team led by Vinnie kept the racing moving over the weekend in a manner that had skippers content that the event was a big success. In the end under wet skies prizes were presented with our hosts duly thanked and eyes looking forward to the next event.

Once again, a weekend of Marbleheads at their best.

Attention now moves to the final opportunity for tuning a practice with the Birkenhead club hosting an open event at West Kirby on Saturday the 12th of May and the Guildford club hosting the Mermaid Trophy on Sunday the 13th. Look back for details in the coming days on the UK class website at marbleheadsailing.wordpress.com

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