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Hansa TT at Whitefriars Sailing Club

by David Durston 3 May 17:37 BST 28 April 2018
Whitefriars Hansa TT © Nicola Durston

It was a cold "Spring" day at Whitefriars on the 28th of April, and the forecast during the preceding week had been appalling; varying between boat breaking winds with torrential rain or mill pond conditions, with nothing much in between. Undeterred, 36 sailors with 28 boats ventured to Whitefriars Sailing Club in the Cotswold Water Park. This was a record attendance at a Hansa Traveller Trophy event.

As it happened, the conditions weren't as bad as the forecast suggested, but is was still bitterly cold. A contributing factor for the increased attendance was that Steve Kitson from the Hansa Class UK had organised a "blue fleet" training day at Whitefriars in conjunction with Leon Ward from RYA Sailability. "Blue fleet" training simply means race training for sailors who are inexperienced or who lack confidence. Five sailors from the club, and three from other clubs, came a day before the regatta to learn more about racing. Leon also provided on-water support for them during the regatta. Another factor was the availability of spare boats for people who could get themselves to the event but were unable to bring a boat; Jessica Campbell made the journey all the way from south west Scotland.

The Liberty fleet were the first to start on the trapezoid course, with Paul Phillips from Frensham Pond taking a convincing victory. However, it was Pat Crowley from Rutland who dominated the following three races, achieving first places in them all. Tessa Watkiss, also from Frensham, was always in the mix at the front of the fleet for all four of the races, and was rewarded with an overall second place, pushing Paul into third. There were nine Libertys competing.

Because of the number of entries in both the Hansa 303 single-handed and two person fleets, it was decided that they should be given separate starts. The 303 singles went first, with the two-person fleet sharing the start line with the three Hansa 2.3's. There was a similar pattern to the Liberty fleet in terms of the results; James Woosnam from Frensham Pond won the first race, but Jessica Campbell took top honours in the subsequent three races. Another Frensham sailor, Mike Everitt, had consistent results in the three races to count, which pushed James into third place.

In the 303 two-person fleet it was newcomers to the circuit, Alan Hillman and his daughter Natalie from New Forest Sailability, who had three firsts and a second place to win overall, as they did in Frampton at the first event of the season. With only one point between them, Peter and Peta Etherton from Frensham Pond crept into second place ahead of Ian Clements and Callum Farden from Chew Valley. The 2.3 fleet was much more clear-cut, with Lindsay Burns's experience proving too strong against two new sailors; her fellow Frensham Pond sailor Harry Kennington, and a volunteer from Sailability @ Whitefriars, David Blake.

The volunteers who helped to get everybody in and out of their boats did a fantastic job to keep to the schedule for the day for that many people. The north-westerly wind made the race team's job difficult to set a long enough course to avoid the different fleet's interfering, but they did very well to make the races go smoothly. Catering for so many people is no mean feat, but Ben and Jan Jefferis supplied superb bacon butties to kick start the day, and a well needed warming sausage and bean casserole for lunch. Many thanks to all involved.

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