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UK Challenger Championship at Rutland Sailing Club

by Marion Edwards 11 Sep 2018 07:51 BST 7-9 September 2018

Twenty-seven Challenger sailors gathered at Rutland Sailing Club on Friday for their UK Championships. This was the biggest fleet since 2008 and included 12 Challengers based at the home club, four making the long trip from Scotland and three from each from Ogston and Grafham Water Sailability.

After lunch and the briefing the first Challengers were launched for the first two races but out on the course the westerly wind was a solid F5 and considerably more in the gusts. The race officer made the prudent decision to postpone and sent the six sailors on the water home. As the wind was not forecast to drop, racing was abandoned for the day and attention turned to the AGM and Open Forum.

With the loss of Friday's two races the championships were in catch-up mode but Saturday's forecast was not very promising. However, the fleet was launched with a view to completing three back to back races before lunch. On reaching the course area down by the church the sailors found the wind to be about south westerly and a perfectly manageable F4. The race officer made the races slightly shorter than normal and turned them round quickly so three races took the time originally allocated to two; even so some very tired sailors came in for lunch. Graham Hall (270) had done the most consistent morning's work with two firsts and a second, whereas John Draper (277) was definitely least consistent as he gave everything to win Race 2 but dropped his mainsheet at the leeward mark of Race 3 and in the time he took to recover it went from fifth to last!

From the shore it was difficult to see what was happening on the water but the following high and low points were gleaned from the sailors:

  • Jack Alderdice (281) and David Driffill (179) shared the same highpoint, albeit in different races: a port tack flier leading to a second place (Race 1 for David and Race 3 for Jack).

  • In Race 2 Dean Abra's (218) highpoint was gaining five places at the leeward mark by neatly sailing between two groups of Challengers (both of which had managed to entwine themselves together!).

  • Chris Keats-Hannan (229) had won the Bronze fleet by lunchtime (there was only one Bronze fleet boat) and she had recorded three finishes including a remarkable 7th place in Race 3.

  • Val Millward's (257) low point was definitely an 11th in Race 2. She learnt she needed to avoid traffic but also learnt that it follows her!

  • For Stephen Thomas Bate (237) the low point was finding he had rigged his mainsheet the wrong way through a ratchet block and wasn't able to sort it until Race 3.

  • Mick Brown's (239) low point was in Race 2 when he was lapped for the first time ever.

Steve Laycock's (300) low point came over lunch: he needed to fix his mast collar (which had only just survived the morning's races) and when using to use his sailing knife for the first time found it ideal for slicing his thumb.

As the weather was still holding, the fleet went out for a further three back to back races. The wind had increase to F4/5 and as the afternoon progressed breakages and exhaustion led to some retirements. However, Val got into her stride and took three firsts whereas Graham had to settle for two seconds and a fourth and an increasingly consistent Chris Atkin (263) got three thirds.

During the afternoon:

  • Diana Faulk's (288) highpoint was managing to hold on to eighth place in Race 5 despite breaking her kicker at the windward mark of the last lap. John Bentley (171) had suffered the same fate just after Race 1 and it cost him two races.

  • Nick Bett's (261) low point was slightly undercutting the windward mark and receiving no consideration from his fellow sailors!

  • Jack Ginn (264) made the mistake of pottering around before the last race sorting things on his boat and then realised the sequence had started and he was last over the line.

  • Inattention between Races 4 and 5 led to Mark Fletcher (298) and Dean "embracing" each other. On the plus side, at some point during the day Mark recorded what is probably his highest speed ever in a Challenger of 12.7 knots.
Other sailors had more general comments on their performance (or lack of it) during the day:
  • Although Duncan Greenhalgh (295) said there had been great sailing in a grand wind, he also claimed a world record number of mistakes and was having problems with the nut on the end of the tiller!

  • Pauline Shaw's (266) highlight was going out and doing six races in one day which she (rightly) said was a challenge for some of the sailors.

  • Peter Lawrence (87) found it exhilarating to sail in such a big fleet in a decent wind but he was also very grateful to the safety boat crews for their assistance. So by the end of Saturday the championships was back on track and Graham had a narrow lead over Val. There was everything to play for on Sunday.

    As in previous years the plan was to have two "medal races" on Sunday. The fleet was split in two with the top thirteen sailors in the A fleet and the remainder the B fleet, with the two fleets having separate starts. However, during the first race the conditions deteriorated and some of the sailors became disorientated in the washing machine like conditions and eventually the decision was made to declare the race void. So the results of the championship were based solely on the six races held on Saturday.

    Reversing the results of last year, Graham is the 2018 UK Champion with Val in second. Chris Atkin is a new name on the Prentice Pot for third place. The Silver fleet was won by Jack Ginn with Julia Winter (256) second and Dean Abra third.

    At the prize giving thanks were given to all those who helped make the event happen including the race officer (and event organiser) Richard Johnson, the mark layer and safety boat crews, and all those on the shore who helped get the boats on and off the water.

    Trophies awarded:

    • Curtis Cup (1st overall) Graham Hall
    • Judi Figgures Trophy (2nd overall) Val Millward
    • Prentice Pot (3rd overall) Chris Atkin
    • Ayrshire Yeomanry Cup (1st Silver) Jack Ginn
    • Clyde Cruising Club Quaich (1st Bronze) Chris Keats-Hannan
    • Thames Water Shield (winner of last race) Val Millward
    • Silver Piccollo (highest placed sailor previously unplaced at a UK Championships) Jessica Campbell (304)
    • Jock Campbell Trophy (best under 30 or over 75) Jack Alderdice
    • Dan Newton Cup (best improved in 2018) Jack Ginn

    Overall Results:

    PosFleetSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
    1stGold270Hall GrahamRutland SC121-4228
    2ndGold257Millward, ValRutland SC3-11411110
    3rdGold263Atkin, ChrisHanningfield-83533317
    4thGold179Driffill, DavidOgston26-957424
    5thGold281Alderdice, JackRutland SC-2410225625
    6thGold304Campbell, JessicaScotland Sailability-94366726
    7thGold261Bett, NickRutland SC756-154830
    8thGold188Hovden, AlexPapercourt48-1099535
    9thGold298Fletcher, MarkRutland Sailability612-131010947
    10thSilver264Ginn, JackGrafham117-1413111254
    11thGold290Bradley, AlanRutland Sailability12-13127121154
    12thGold288Faulks, DianaRutland Sailability10178128(DNS)55
    13thGold295Greenhalgh, DuncanScotland Sailability149118-161355
    14thSilver256Winter, JuliaGrafham13-181511131062
    15thGold301Spray, ChristineRutland Sailability1614-1814171576
    16thGold266Shaw, PaulineGrafham18-201716151884
    17thGold226Flanagan, DeclanRutland SC(RET)161919141785
    18thGold277Draper, JohnBurghfield5124(DNC)DNCDNC86
    19thGold300Laycock, StephenScotland Sailability201523(DNC)201694
    20thGold237Bate, Stephen ThomasScotland Sailability22-232022181496
    21stGold239Brown, MickOgston19-222118221999
    22ndSilver218Abra, DeanIsle of Sheppey21211617(DNC)DNC103
    23rdGold87Lawrence, PeterHanningfield17(RET)222021DNF108
    24thBronze229Keats-Hannan, ChrisOgston23247(DNC)DNCDNC110
    25thSilver171Bentley, JohnPeterborough15(RET)DNCDNC1920110
    26thSilver122Rainbow, MarkHanningfield Sailability(DNC)19RET21RETRET124
    27thSilver297Roberts, JohnRutland Sailability(RET)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC140
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