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Blaze Northern & Midland Championships with Hornsea Sprintz at Hornsea Sailing Club

by Ben Harden 2 May 18:17 BST
Blaze Northern & Midland Championships with Hornsea Sprintz © C Cartwright

As most of the UK was getting set to be blown away by Storm Hannah, a handful of Blaze sailors still headed North to Hornsea Sailing Club for a fantastic weekend of racing for the Northern & Midland Blaze Championships.

As winds steadily increased throughout Saturday morning the eleven sailors from as far as Reading and Essex prepared their boats for a blustery West breeze. Some of the smaller and probably wiser helms debated if the 20+ knots warranted a switch to the smaller Fire sail.

As the leisurely time of 11.30am came around PRO Steve Sharp called all sailors into the small - but most importantly, warm - sailing club for the briefing. Racing on Saturday was to be the Hornsea Sprintz series and some rules and formats had to be discussed and agreed before racing could commence.

Unlike the normal style of racing, the Hornsea Sprintz is based on nine quick-fire races around a very small course that has two windward marks, two leeward marks and a spreader mark before finishing. Racers can choose which windward mark they would like on the first leg, giving plenty of tactical choices on a very short course. Each sailor was also split into one of four flights, with each flight racing the others three times.

The Sprintz made for extremely fun racing in the 20+ knots of gusty wind. Especially when you come screaming into the leeward mark (also the start mark) staring into the whites of the eyes of a sailor about to start at the pin end!

After each set of three races, PRO Steve gave us all short break ashore to refill with food and coffee before going afloat for more racing. Once all races had been completed and with at least eight sailors winning a race, it was time to head into town for a well-deserved Italian and beers!

A much warmer and less breezy day was in store for Sunday. Probably to the relief of most of the sailors who seemed to be aching from both the knees and the head...

Saturday racing was to be three 1 hour long races around the club marks and with a shifty northern breeze, it was going to make for a very tactical days racing. Alex Walton, the winner of the Sprintz Series, continued his quick pace into the first race of the day by getting into an early well-established lead. Mark Blackman and Eden Hyland had a well fought battle for second throughout the first race with Eden managing to finally sneak past and take second.

As we went into the second race of the day with the sun shining and blustery 10-12 knots, the Hyland brothers and Alex Walton, battled it out for the committee boat end. Eden got away well and within the first lap had pulled away from the rest of the pack. The rest of the fleet had a multitude of position changing with big shifts and gusts blowing through the trees, making wind watching the most important factor of the day. It wasn't long until some of the pond sailors from Chase showed their shifty condition experience and took a 1,2,3 (Eden, Mark, Alex).

So, going into the final race of the day it was all to play for at the top with Eden, Alex and Josh on 6, 8 and 9pts respectively, with a discard still to come. Unfortunately, just as the 1-minute gun went, Josh Hyland who had been having trouble with his halyard all weekend, received a bit of Karma for spilling a pint of beer all over the restaurant the night before. His halyard chose this moment to snap with his mainsail promptly failing down.

Despite this the rest of the fleet had a well fought start/ first beat with the everyone rounding within seconds of each other. Ben Harden and Eden Hyland soon spotted some wind coming down one side of the run and managed to get ahead from the rest of the racers, Alex was close behind. After several position changes for the front three boats, Eden just managed to take the lead on the final leg to the finish with Ben and Alex close behind.

It was then back to the shore to pack up in the sun followed by a prompt prizegiving to let the travellers get away.

In summary, a fantastic weekend of racing in a variety of conditions. Huge thanks to Pip Warner for organising the event and PRO Steve Sharp for running some very exciting racing.

Sprintz Series Results:

Overall Position Helm Sail Number ClubR1 R2 R3R4R5R6R7R8R9
1Alex Walton 893Chase514121111
2Josh Hyland751Chase221231332
3Eden Hyland 766Chase163411212
4Rob Froud 568Hornsea221333245
5=Ben Harden661Burnham SC633313333
5=Pip Warner 812Hornsea435126124
7Simon Bedows 800Reading112254554
8Mark Blackman774Chase342642441
9Gareth Hyland837Chase346565423
10Richard Woodcock 793Hornsea556466666
11Ian McIntyre 521Hornsea466666666

Overall Results:

Overall Position Helm Sail Number ClubR1 (Sprintz)R2 R3R4
1Eden Hyland 766Chase3211
2Alex Walton 893Chase1163
3Josh Hyland751Chase243DNS
4Mark Blackman774Chase8324
5Ben Harden661Burnham SC5642
6Simon Bedows 800Reading7555
7Rob Froud 568Hornsea47DNF7
8Gareth Hyland837Chase9976
9Pip Warner 812Hornsea58DNFDNS
10Richard Woodcock 793Hornsea1010DNFDNS
11Ian McIntyre 521Hornsea1111DNSDNS

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