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Blaze National Championship at North Devon Yacht Club

by Chase Sailing Club 16 Jun 2018 06:19 BST 8-10 June 2018
Charlie Chandler wins the Blaze Nationals at Instow 2018 © Sailing Southwest

For 2018 the Blaze class visited the sunny Cornish town of Instow and its lovely sandy beach. 54 boats registered for the event that was kindly sponsored by Hartley Boats, Allen Brothers and Ocean Elements, with Sailing Southwest organising and running the event, including race tracking.

Day 1

The first day started overcast with an 8 to 12 mph breeze blowing offshore over Instow – nice and shifty! The first race started with the tide racing, resulting in the inevitable general recall. Many were thankful of the general recall as a couple of boats had clocked how port biased it had become in the final minutes leaving Martin Hattersley the opportunity of a beautiful port flyer. The restart got away cleanly under the 'u flag'. After two laps around a triangle course Chase Sailing Club looked good for a club 1,2, 3 finish with Charlie Chandler winning, Eden Hyland second and Josh Hyland third... only for Eden to have been 'u flagged' and on the whiteboard of doom along with several others – but it's always good to get your discard out of the way early on!

The second race was around a trapezium course, with the start being a bit easier to judge as the tide started to ease. Nick Ripley managed to escape the fleet and won the race with a huge lead followed home by Hugh Kingdom and Alex Walton.

As the water started to disappear with the tide rushing out to sea, the final race was held over a windward leeward course. This time Mike Lyons and Simon Beddows had a close race around the course, only for Simon to throw it away on the final beat to the finish when he sailed too close to the bank and hit the bottom. Eden managed to squeeze into second place at the end with Simon eventually third after his picnic stop up the bank.

At the end of day 1 it was a day of big scores and the need for consistency. Charlie lead overall followed by Alex and then Hugh. That evening North Devon Yatch Club put on a fantastic platter of food, and sponsored prizes were handed out as spot prizes throughout the fleet.

Day 2

The fleet was treated to a lovely tour around the harbour as the race team chased the breeze for two hours before finally settled enough to get one race in, probably sailed in a whole 5 mph of breeze.

The fleet can report that the water is very clear at Instow, you could see the bottom for most of the top half of the beat - which was slightly unnerving!

The race was around a windward leeward course which made the leeward gate very challenging with the tide flowing across the course at speed. Charlie took the win followed by Mike Lyons and Bob Cowan. Bob sailed a very brave second beat, splitting from most of the fleet and finding a way out of the tide allowing him to lead at the second windward mark having sailed around most of the fleet.

This left Charlie still in the overall lead at the end of day 2, with pulled Mike Lyons up to second overall and Simon Burrows third. Food that evening was a BBQ put on by the North Devon Yacht Club – team Chase left full, so there must have been a lot of food! Plus what a beautiful sunset we were treated to closeout the day - wow!

Day 3

Day 3 dawned with it all to play for, Charlie had been gradually edging into a commanding lead but the points were very close from second place onwards and with two races scheduled there was plenty of points up for grab.

The race team took the fleet out to the mouth of the estuary to race in a gentle sea breeze and a very fast flowing tide as it squeezed into the estuary. The question was which way to go up the beat, the majority of the fleet went right and there was a very close tacking battle up the bank with boats constantly crossing. 50 tacks just about got you to the windward mark. As the fleet closed in on the windward mark the fleet looked left and saw the lone boat out on the left bank sailed by Eric Evans who took a commanding lead round the windward – on the second beat most went left! At the finish line Andy McIvor led across the line followed by Eric and Ben Harden. Ben had sailed a very consistent weekend of top ten results with no big scores or letters and was starting to find real speed. Mike Lyons had pulled out during the second race and had returned ashore leaving the battle for second overall wide open.

In the final race it was team Birmingham Vs team Essex as Eden, Josh and Charlie (team Birmingham) raced Ben and Andy (team Essex) round the windward leeward course. It all came down to the final leeward mark where Charlie sailed round the earlier leaders to take the final race win followed by Eden and then Andy.

Overall Results: (top six)

1 – Charlie Chandler, 13pts
2 – Ben Harden, 24pts
3 – Andy McIvor, 26pts
4 – Eden Hyland, 34pts
5 – Josh Hyland, 36pts
6 – Hugh Kingdon, 39pts

Full results can be found here.

Thanks to all the sponsors and the organising team who put on a fantastic event, and we look forward to returning to the North Devon Yatch Club at Instow in future years.

Full racing tracking can be seen at www.tracace.co.uk

Further videos and photos can be seen on both the Sailing Southwest facebook group and the Blaze facebook group.

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