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Ocean Elements 2018

Flying 15 Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Tim O'Brien 13 Jun 09:11 BST 9-10 June 2018
Winners of the 2018 Flying Fifteen Inland Championships: Graham Vials & Chris Turner © GWSC

The 2018 Flying Fifteen Inland Championships were sailed on the weekend of June 9th-10th at Grafham Water Sailing Club. The event was designated a qualifier for the next World Championships (to be held at the National Yacht Club, Dun Laoghaire from 2nd-13th September, 2019), which undoubtedly contributed to the strength of the entry list: 33 boats from all the most active English clubs, together with crews from Wales and Belgium.

The forecast (warm with winds of 5-6 knots from the NNE) proved accurate and the racing provided mostly cerebral, rather than physical challenges. Conditions were especially demanding for the race team, led by PRO John Aston, who did well to start proceedings on schedule and to complete three races on the first afternoon. Sunday was another story, of which more later!

The Sailing Instructions made provision for three courses – Triangle-Sausage, Sausage-Triangle and Windward-Leeward, all featuring a leeward gate. In the event – and wisely, given the conditions - all races were sailed over the Windward-Leeward course.

Race 1 began with the customary general recalls, at which point, the PRO deployed his magic black flag and imposed order on proceedings. There is surely a case for avoiding this ritual by use of the black flag from the outset?

Steve Goacher (4021) led off at the favoured pin end, closely followed by Graham Vialls (4035) and Greg Wells (4030). It was then a case of playing the shifts and avoiding the holes: those who went left, led by Greg Wells (4030) benefited from a big starboard-tack lift into the mark and Greg held a lead of perhaps 5 – 8 lengths at the windward mark. Brett Dingwall, sailing a 1960-vintage wooden classic (397) was also showing good speed and was well in the mix.

Downwind, it proved slower to follow the direct (port-gybe) course than to stay high on starboard and gybe later. Greg preserved his apparently dominant position and began the second, and final, lap with an impressive lead. However, Graham persevered, chipping away to good effect and was finally rewarded to take race 1, followed by Greg and, In 3rd place, Pip Hudson (3889). Brett Dingwall completed an impressive race in 4th place.

For the remainder of the afternoon it was more of the same, though the breeze tended to weaken progressively. In Race 2, local heroes Simon Kneller & Dave Lucas (4024) roused themselves from their earlier siesta to deploy years of experience of Grafham conditions and take the race from Ian Cadwallader (4055) in second place and the ever-present Greg Wells in 3rd.

The third race start was a bump and nudge affair – several crews at the front of the fleet, having extricated themselves well from the chaos, chose the left side of the beat and, this time, found that, by the windward mark, they had lost out. It was notable how well the top crews were able to put such misfortunes behind them, to 'Shut Up and Move On' and to focus on minimising the damage. Perhaps unsurprisingly, therefore, the results sheet began to take on a familiar appearance, with Graham Vialls once again leading the fleet, followed this time by Ian Pinnell (4060) and the evergreen Brett Dingwall.

And so, overnight, the top spots were occupied by:
First: Graham Vialls (1,6,1)
Second: Greg Wells (2,3,9)
Third: Pip Hudson (3,10,6)
Fourth: Brett Dingwall (4,13,3)
Fifth: Steve Goacher (8,7,5)

Sunday morning's race was started (after yet another general recall) in a slightly fresher breeze, still from the NNE and still full of holes and shifts.

The downwind leg, in particular, became a lottery, with no rhyme or reason as to which way was the best way to go. As boats sought pressure, the fleet spread far and wide. After the now customary two laps, there were some new names at the front: Hamish Mackay (4059) led the fleet home, followed by Ian Cadwallader (4055) and David Tabb (4052).

A significant wind shift during the start of Race 5 led to postponement, followed by a 45 minute wait. By this time, several boats decided to vote with their paddle and head back to shore and the PRO eventually bowed to the inevitable and, around 14.30, signalled the end of the weekend's procedures.

See the photo gallery at www.grafham.org/flying-fifteen-inland-championships-2018.html

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewSailing ClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st4035Graham VialsChris TurnerLRSC161‑118
2nd397Brett DingwallBen DingwallAldenham SC4‑133512
3rd4030Greg WellsAndrew JamesonHayling Island239‑1514
4th4055Ian CadwalladerSteve GrahamChew Valley Lake112‑19215
5th4059Hamish MackayAndrew Lawson ‑14124117
6th3889Pip HudsonMick Musgrove / Alice HudsonBroxbourne SC3‑1061019
7th4002Richard LoveringMatt AlvaradoHISC and WYC74‑14920
8th4021Steve GoacherTim HarperRWYC875‑1920
9th3760Jeremy DavyMartin HuettDraycote Water SC6512(RAF)23
10th4060Ian PinnellJez WhiteHISC‑20142824
11th4033Justin WaplesJackie MckellarRCYC‑191610430
12th4024Simon KnellerDave LucasGrafham Water Sailing Club91‑252131
13th4005Andy McKeeRichard JonesLlandudno SC1597‑1831
14th3957Charles ApthorpAdrian SimpsonHISC12813‑1733
15th3641Mike PrestonDavid ManifoldB&FYC51811‑2834
16th4052David TabbChewey SherrellParkstone YC18‑2415336
17th3914A TattersallR PopperPYC1015‑271237
18th3953Robert HogbenGlyn MorganBewl Sailing Association26‑288640
19th4016David HeronChris DuckerRoyal Windermere YC1619‑24742
20th4044Simon PattersonSimon ThompsonDraycote Water SC13‑31181445
21st4041Bill ChardJosh PreaterChew Valley Lake SC171121‑2549
22nd3591Mark WestonAndy WeatherspoonWest Riding232017‑2760
23rd3902Richard HopeMike StensonDraycote Water Sailing Club2121‑312062
24th3794David PhilpottPippaGrafham Water Sailing Club24‑29281365
25th3517Craig RobinsonHannah RobinsonUllswater YC222716‑3165
26th3827Geoff FloydColin GilbertGrafham Water Sailing Club‑2923222267
27th3915DesantoinePapasokratisSNEH‑2726261668
28th3563Alastair StevensonJeremy ValentineDatchet Water SC‑3117302370
29th3936Jeremy ArnoldAngus WrightNotts County SC28‑30202472
30th3583Mike WilczynskiJean WilczynskiRORC3022‑323082
31st4042Tim O'BrienColin FerraGrafham Water Sailing Club3225‑332683
32nd3849Grafham WadeleyAngela TaskerGrafham Water Sailing Club(DNC)33232985
33rd3789Allen CaveJulian ClarkeGrafham Water Sailing Club253229(DNC)86
34th3996Mike MooreKayla SheardBassenthwaite(DNC)DNCDNCDNC108
34th4012Jonathan KnightTrish KnightGrafham Water Sailing Club(DNC)DNCDNCDNC108

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