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Challenger Open at Burghfield Sailing Club

by Marion Edwards 7 May 2018 07:02 BST 4-5 May 2018

The M25 and M4 conspired to make life difficult for Challenger sailors travelling to Burghfield Sailing Club on Friday 4 May for their first open meeting of the year. However, seven visiting boats and five local boats (two of which were kindly loaned to visiting sailors) were ready and rigged for the start of the first race at 13:00.

In view of the very light winds the race officer set a small triangular course towards the far side of the lake. Val Millward (257) and Graham Hall (270) were neck and neck as they headed towards the windward mark but a significant wind shift stopped them 10 m short of it allowing John Draper (277), Jack Alderdice (281) and Mark Fletcher (168) through. Graham took the lead at the leeward mark but he over stood the windward mark (he was actually sailing to the wrong one!) allowing Val through. Just beyond the wing mark Val sailed into a hole while Graham found sufficient wind to retake the lead and hold it to the finish.

Lunch provided much needed respite from the trying conditions. The afternoon races followed the same course but the windward mark was moved closer to club house. There was a certain amount of chaos at the start of race 2 as a late wind shift meant the fleet struggled to make the line. Alex Hovden (188) made the best start but soon sailed into a hole. Jack sailed freer and faster to lead at windward mark. He held the lead to the finish but it was a close thing as Val and John Draper were fast closing the gap. This race saw Michele Winch (251) finish 8th, her best position in the regatta and only her second ever race.

Neil Bartlett and Murray Palmer (272) had had enough of struggling in the light winds and decided to sit out the last race of the day secure in the knowledge that they had done enough to win the (one boat) bronze fleet!

At the start of race 3, John Draper, Alex, Diana Faulks (288) and Mark gained an initial advantage by starting at the port end of the line but then lost out by sailing into header and they were caught by Val and Graham by the windward mark. On the downwind leg Val managed to draw ahead and held the lead to the finish. At the final leeward mark Jack and Graham were too busy racing each other to notice John Draper round the leeward mark and tack for the line. John managed to overtake Graham but not Jack. This was Martin Stone's (255) best race in fifth.

At the end of the day only three points separated the top four boats with Jack having made the best of the conditions. Most of the fleet stayed at the club for the regatta dinner which was up to its usual high standard.

Saturday dawned sunny and windless but the fleet was launched after a short postponement into a light and patchy breeze. There some muddle and confusion at the start when the line became heavily port biased but Jack made a clean start and led at the windward mark, followed by Mark and Dean Abra (218). As the fleet crept towards the leeward mark the wind filled in from behind causing more muddle and confusion at the mark: John Draper and Graham made significant gains but Val and Dean suffered heavily. However, Jack sailed to his second win with Mark holding on to second.

By general consensus racing was abandoned after lunch. Much to everyone's delight, Jack won his first Challenger regatta and added just the fourth name to the thirteen year old trophy. Val was second and John Draper third. The Silver fleet was won by Martin and the Bronze fleet by Neil and Murray.

Thanks are due to Burghfield Sailing Club and Burghfield Sailability for hosting the event and to race officer, Andy Leigh, and his team who made the best of some very trying conditions.

Overall Results:

PosFleetHelmBuddySail NoClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1stGoldJack Alderdice 281RSC-31214
2ndGoldVal Millward 257Rutland SC421-77
3rdGoldJohn Draper 277Burghfield SC2-3338
4thGoldGraham Hall 270Rutland SC1-4449
5thGoldMark Fletcher 168Rutland SC75-8214
6thGoldAlex Hovden 188Papercourt SC5-76516
7thSilverMartin Stone 255Burghfield SC665-817
8thGoldDiana Faulks 288Rutland SC-1097622
9thSilverDean Abra 218Isle of Sheppey SC8(DNC)9926
10thSilverMichele Winch 251Burghfield SC-118101028
11thBronzeNeil BartlettMurray Palmer272Oxford Sailability1210(DNC)1133
12thSilverJohn Roberts 25 9(DNC)DNCDNF35

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