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Musto Skiffs in the Ovington Inland Championships at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Dan Henderson 7 Nov 21:25 GMT 3-4 November 2018
Musto Skiffs in the Ovington Inland Championships at Grafham © Tim Olin /

33 keen Musto Skiff sailors were greeted with a Gusty southerly breeze at the Musto Skiff Inland Championships hosted by Grafham Water Sailing Club. Grafham, also known as the coldest place on earth, was surprisingly tropical with temperatures above 10 degrees, this didn't hold the fleet back from wrapping up warm, especially Andy Gould sporting a double huggy bear and drysuit - more on that later!

PRO Peter Saxton and his team were eager to get racing under way so the fleet made their way to the start line with a few taking a swim on the way in the gusty conditions.

The first race got underway in a solid 18-20 knots and it wasn't long before the current national champion Bruce Keen found his way to the front of the pack. The rest of the lanky heavy crew including Dan Trotter, George Hand and Dave "Postonator" Poston followed in this order until until the end of the three-lap race.

PRO Peter Saxton and his team did a great job of turning the races around throughout the day with race 2 following within 10 minutes of the final boats finishing. Race 2 started with the breeze building slightly from race 1 and again "yawn" Bruce Keen found his way to the front of the fleet with George Hand nipping at his toes. The two sailed away to a big lead from the rest of the chasing pack which was lead by Richard 'Pelios' Pelley, followed by Dan Trotter and Andy 'Turbo' Tarboton. Dan Vincent has also put in two solid results consisting of a fifth and sixth to keep himself in line for the UK Series Trophy.

The breeze continued to build as race 3 started in 20-25 knots. Finally someone was ready to take on Bruce as George Hand found his way to the front. George managed to hold Bruce off to take the race win followed by a great performance from Dan Vincent in third and Dave Poston founding out the top four. Newcomer to the fleet Peter Greenhalgh put in a great race to finish fifth showing that he will be one to watch going into next season. Ben Schooling finished sixth showing that the light weights at 75kg and under can take it to the big boys in the breeze.

By this stage the breeze was becoming fresh to frightening with winds of 28-32knots. The first two laps of the race were sailed before PRO Peter Saxton abandoned for the day and sent everyone in for a well deserved rest/beer/food/beer but not before Andy Gould tipped half of the reservoir back out of his 'leaking' drysuit. Some would say that he filled it up on purpose to gain a weight advantage for the breezy conditions, others would say that he just left the zip open when taking a pre-race toilet break.

The U.K. Musto Skiff fleet has a high percentage of South Africans including the new Class Chairman Andy Tarboton so it was only right that we watch the second half of the Autumn Internationals, England vs South Africa. Owen Farrell's perfect tackle finished the game with a 12-11 win to the English. Considering England put out their third team it was a little disappointing for the South African contingent.

Sunday dawned and it was very much a different story with lower that forecasted winds of 8 knots. The fleet got away cleanly and it quickly became apparent that the left hand side was the favoured side up the first beat. George Hand sailed away to a clear win, doing a great job of linking the gusts down wind. Dan Kilsby found his form and sailed a great race to finish second with flying fetus Dan Henderson following in third. Special mention has to go to Graeme Oliver who sailed brilliantly to a fifth place showing that he hasn't forgotten anything since leaving the class six years ago. The only thing he had forgotten is where he put the rest of his hair.

Race 5 got away clear with the breeze steadily holding around 6-8 knots. Again the left hand side paid with Dan Kilsby making his way to the front followed by Bruce Keen, Dan Henderson and Peter Greenhalgh. Bruce worked the left hand side a bit more that the rest and snuck past Dan to take the win, followed by Henderson and Greenhalgh.

The wind was still holding around 6-7 knots for race 6 however the race course was shortened by 150m to make sure we got the full four races for the day. Andy Tarboton led from start to finish to show that South Africa can win something followed by Ben Schooling and Dan Henderson. Fourth place went to Bruce Keen which would wrap the event win up for him.

The final race of the day was sailed in 5-7 knots and again the left hand side was favoured. Henderson started from the committee boat end and worked his way across to the left to lead around the windward mark. Henderson was followed by Graeme Oliver, Dan Kilsby and Ben Schooling. Henderson sailed clear to take the final bullet, as Schooling sailed a great final downwind leg to take second from Kilsby and Oliver.

Although Bruce is a multiple Musto Skiff world and national champion this was his first Inlands title so a big congratulations goes to Bruce. Henderson fought his way back from eleventh overnight to finish joint second with George Hand, however Hand won on countback to take second from Henderson in third. Because Ben Schooling had a great day in the light winds he managed to retain his UK Circuit title from Vincent and Tarboton.

A big thanks has to go to Grafham Water SC for hosting a great event, class builders Ovington Boats for their continued support, and Musto as the class title sponsor for their generous prizes.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmSailing ClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st534Bruce KeenStokes Bay Sailing Club112‑1014817
2nd548George HandStokes Bay Sailing Club321110‑151128
3rd543Daniel HendersonStokes Bay Sailing Club‑10108333128
4th544Ben Schooling 8‑126682232
5th557Dan VincentStokes Bay/ RNSA5637‑117634
6th525Andy TarbotonHenley Midmar Yacht Club‑13594611035
7th556Graeme OliverWilsonian691257(UFD)443
8th527Dan TrotterDRSC24712‑2016950
9th302Dan KilsbyStokes Bay Sailing Club1422(DNC)2210353
10th526Jono ShelleyLargs SC771011126(DNC)53
11th375Joshua BelbenStokes Bay Sailing Club‑1918158951267
12th567Peter GreenhalghWarsash SC‑2220520491371
13th582Paul Molesworth 15161716‑1811580
14th546Ian TrotterDRSC1717(DNC)95181581
15th469Richard PelleyStokes Bay Sailing Club12311221722(DNC)87
16th535David AnnanGrafham Water Sailing Club2015141321‑27790
17th315Jason RichardsMSCA9(DNC)161425132097
18th584Andrew GouldStokes Bay Sailing Club161423‑24132017103
19th186Andrew SticklandThorpe Bay YC21232017‑28816105
20th500Tom ConwayDRSC(DNC)81919271718108
21st350Brennan RobinsonGrafham Water Sailing Club232121(UFD)151422116
22nd419Rishad SmithsWilsonian111918(UFD)222623119
23rd520Dave PostonWilsonian4114(DNC)DNCDNCDNC121
24th289Andrew WhittleBlackwater Sailing Club‑25242221241225128
25th385Terry PressdeeYorkshire Dales SC(DNF)DNCDNC15141914130
26th487Sean ThijsseSBSC(DNC)DNCDNC18232119149
27th586John McAfeeUYC(DNC)DNCDNC23192421155
28th545Neil AshbyStokes Bay Sailing Club(DNC)1313DNCDNCDNCDNC162
29th583Lee CullenArun Yacht Club24(DNC)DNC25292826166
30th432Ricky RobinsonRoyal Natal YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNF162524167
31st396Stuart HarrisBanbury SC1825(DNC)UFDDNCDNCDNC179
32nd351Harry WilsonDatchet Water SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC2623DNC185
33rd265Tom TaylorGrafham Water Sailing Club(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC204

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