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Kielder Water Sailing Club September Open 2018

by Judy & John Scullion 12 Sep 07:42 BST 8-9 September 2018
George Stewart, winner of the handicap fleet during the Kielder Water Sailing Club September Open © Judy Scullion

Kielder Water Reservoir was slightly depleted after the hot summer, but with around 40m depth still to play with, the only consequence was the queue on the slipway as cautious boat owners avoided the newly-revealed rocky landscape.

The meeting was well-attended, with 16 Lasers, 9 Ospreys and 7 handicap boats on Saturday. Race Officer Geoff Brown set a triangular course for the Lasers and handicap fleet, with the Ospreys doing an additional sausage on each lap. The wind was mainly westerly, with enough southerly in it to provide a change of angle on the second leg of the race, as the wind split around Bull Crag, giving a broad reach before the wing mark, and a deeper broad reach down towards the leeward mark. The wind was light for the first race, but stronger for the next two, though still with gusts and lulls that gave the Osprey crews some exercise as they alternated between getting out on the wire and swinging back into the boat.

There was a good spread of Lasers present, with 5 standard Lasers, 7 Radials and four 4.7s. Simon Weatherspoon, from South Shields, managed to beat the other standard Lasers every time to take a solid first place. Tom Burke of Coniston achieved the same feat among the Radials, while Oscar Shilling, from Derwent, managed two firsts and a second to win the 4.7 trophy, beating his brother by a single point.

Meanwhile in the Osprey fleet Alan Henderson and Lorraine Ball of Prestwick took the first race, and Viola and Mike Scott of Kielder found their form and won the second and third. Some excellent performances from Rob Shaw and Ian Little, and Alex and Nick Willis, left it all to play for on the second day.

The handicap fleet was a varied bunch, including a Laser 4000, a Byte, three Supernovas and two Optimists. Steve Gibbon and Luke Stewart took the first race in the Laser 4000, Michelle Russell won the second in her Byte, while George Stewart won the third in his Optimist.

After the sailors had come off the water for the day, and the Laser prizes had been presented, most of the Lasers moved on, while the rest of the sailors and helpers settled down for an evening meal with some excellent beer and – later in the evening – tasting of the Commodore's Czech fruit brandies.

Sunday dawned drizzly, but still with some wind, which picked up further as the boats launched for the fourth race of the weekend, and by the end of the fifth was hitting force 6 with some gusts of around 8. Helms and crews coped admirably, although one Supernova mast and an Osprey spinnaker pole did succumb to the destructive force of the elements.

Rob Shaw and Ian Little (KWSC) won both races in the Osprey fleet, putting them in first place overall. Viola and Mike Scott appeared to be having more difficulty than the previous day, but their sterling performance on Saturday still gave them second place for the weekend, followed in third place by Alan Henderson (Prestwick) and Lorraine Ball.

The handicap fleet was slightly different from Saturday's, with Steve Gibbon preferring not to sail, thus allowing Luke Stewart to crew for Willie Crichton in his Osprey, while Ben Russell and Archie Dodd of Kielder joined the fleet in Lasers, Archie winning race 4 and Ben taking race 5.

Overall, however, George Stewart and Pete Cowley, both of Kielder and sailing Optimists, showed consistent form throughout the weekend and took first and second place respectively, while third place was taken by Michelle Russell, also of Kielder, in her Byte.

A great weekend of racing and socialising was had by all. Many thanks to Geoff Brown as race officer, and his team of helpers on and off the water, and the galley crew who provided meals fit for hungry sailors. Thanks most of all to those who came up to sail and to make the September Open a great event. We look forward to seeing you all again.

Overall Results:

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