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Noble Marine Supernova Open at Hunts Sailing Club

by Jon Pebody 7 May 2018 18:45 BST 28 April 2018

The fifth Hunts Supernova Open was held on an unseasonably cold and wet April Saturday. Despite the conditions an excellent 27 sailors attended from all parts of the county, comprising 21 visitors and 6 home sailors.

Many had attended the previous days' Class Association Training Day, where 18 sailors shrugged off incessant rain to practice the expert advice of professional coach Andy Kerr, ex-Hunts member. His training drills on upwind speed, blind sailing and boat trim, start tactics and mark rounding somehow distracted everyone from the rain and the cold, and it turned into a very enjoyable and beneficial training day. With the knowledge consolidated over an evening meal and further time in the bar all 18 returned to apply the knowledge gained, joined by 9 newcomers.

Race Officer Colin Hall and his experienced team set a course to make full use of the Northerly breeze. As the fleet set off on the first race, Bartley SC sailor Steve Hawley made his trademark committee boat end fast start, closely followed by defending champion Tim Hand from Swarkestone SC. Another regular Hunts Open visitor, Paul Undrell from Cotswolds SC was not far back, along with local sailor Jon Pebody who started at the pin end. The committee boat end was slightly favoured and Hawley & Hands headed into the lead and quickly developed a commanding gap on the rest of the field. Behind them Pebody threatened to move into 3rd after benefiting from a good lift only to get knocked down by a squall, allowing Undrell to escape and Richard Lambert of Bough Beech SC to move through before he benefited from another lift to regain 4th. Despite some close sailing Hawley succeeded in holding off the ever-chasing Hand, with Undrell 3rd, Pebody 4th and fast improving Matt Seaton from Olton Mere 5th.

Fuelled by a hearty lunch the fleet set out for the second race. Hand aimed to beat Hawley at his own game but was over the line early so Hawley shot away while Hand doubled back around the committee boat. There was some confusion amongst the fleet as to whether it was a general or individual recall but the flag was clear and the race was on. Hand managed to claw his way back to second, followed by Lambert, Garry Butterfield of Bartley SC and the ever consistent Undrell.

The third and final race started cleanly, with Hand getting a good start this time and squeezing into the lead ahead of Hawley after some close sailing. Distracted by their duel they fell back into the following pack. Undrell and Butterfield threatened to separate them at times but ultimately Hand and Hawley managed to move clear, with Hand this time beating Hawley to the line. Pebody appeared to be back in contention but retired after a misjudged luffing manoeuvre and an informal protest hearing after the race.

Throughout the fleet there were similar tales of close racing and frequent position changes as the healthy fleet gave everyone something to compete for. The overall winner was Hawley, followed by Hand, Undrell, Butterfield and Lambert. Undrell was first Master and Dana Church of Notts SC was first Veteran. Tony Bleasdale from Girton SC was first Mk1 in 7th place and Birthday girl Serena Stewardson of Emberton SC was first Lady and celebrated with birthday cakes presented by class members back at the club house to cap a very enjoyable day.

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