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Hadron H2 National Championship at Herne Bay Sailing Club - Day 1

by Richard Leftley & Keith Callaghan 8 Sep 09:04 BST 7-9 September 2018
Day 1 of the Hadron H2 National Championship at Herne Bay © Keith Callaghan

Seventeen Hadron H2s and a special guest Hadron H1 were welcomed to Herne Bay SC today for the start of their three day National Championship. The conditions were almost ideal - a brilliantly clear sunny day with a 14 to 17 knot breeze which kicked up an interesting sea state over the shallow waters of the race area.

The overnight breeze shifting from North-west to West through the day made port tack hard work sailing into a steep chop with the heavier sailors having an advantage in being able to keep the H2 powered up. Race officer David Henshall set a smallish trapezoid course for the two races, with the intention of completing each race within 50 minutes.

Last year's runner-up, Ian Sanderson, in H2 #111 'Shifty Fades Away' led the fleet off the line in the first start, but in soon became apparent that Richard Leftley, in #115 was going to be a strong challenger as he powered ahead in the choppy conditions and rounded the weather mark first, with Ian second and a much improved Adrian Williams in #114 'Tangerine Dream' third.

It soon became clear that the tables were turned offwind as Ian using his experience sailing at his home club of Keyhaven closed rapidly on Richard who lacked experience of sailing downwind in waves. With hindsight Richard perhaps tried a little too hard to stay ahead of Ian resulting in a spectacular capsize near the end of the run as a result of too little kicker.

Ian duly took advantage but it was not going all his way as Adrian was on his tail - that is until his rudder decided to detach itself as he tacked for the windward mark. Alistair Glen in #126 'Lily' and Simon Hipkin in #131 took advantage of Richard's and Adrian's misadventures and powered into second and third, but it was a clear win for Ian.

Richard Leftley made no mistake up the first beat of the second race to round in first place, with Ian second and Alistair third. But once again Ian showed his offwind speed, overtaking Richard. Alistair also closed up and Simon was not far behind. The second beat saw Richard demonstrating his upwind speed to devastating effect and he once again took the lead.

Alistair grabbed second place from Ian and the supercharged Adrian Williams kept his rudder on the boat this time to also drive past Ian. However, Alistair had now got into top gear and nibbled away at Richard's lead assisted by a significant shift up the last beat, finally overtaking him to take the winning gun. Adrian held on to take a well-deserved third place, ahead of Ian.

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