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RS Vareo Illuminis Inland Championship at Milton Keynes Sailing Club

by Paul North 19 Jun 14:05 BST 15-16 June 2019
Starboard - RS Vareo Illuminis Inland Championship 2019 © Milton Keynes Sailing Club

For the third year, Milton Keynes Sailing Club hosted a two day event for the RS Vareos, sponsored by RS Vareo sailor Paul North's company, illuminis Insight Software. This year's event was part of the Rooster National Tour and also designated the class Inland Championships.

To boost fleet numbers the event was extended to include local asymmetric sailors but date clashes meant that only one RS200 competed alongside seven RS Vareos.

With a forecast Southerly wind of 15 gusting to 28 knots, race officer Mark Warren was able to set a windward leeward course straight up and down the length of the lake, with a spreader at the windward end and at gate at the bottom. Some significant shifts during the day meant that almost the full width of the lake was used with "overtaking lanes" popping up almost anywhere.

Race one started on time at 1230hrs with local sailor Howard Astley-Jones taking an early lead followed by Nick Crickmore with Luke Fisher in third at the end of the first of five laps. By the end of the second Luke had pulled into the lead finishing over a minute ahead of Howard, with Alan Bassett taking third and Nick fourth. With a strong forecast Paul North had rigged with the storm sail and came in fifth. Sadly Richard Holmes retired after just one lap and was unable to compete any further.

In race two Luke lead from start to finish followed by Nick then Howard and Alan, a pattern that would show through most of the weekend. With the wind dropping off slightly Paul slipped back and as we left the water for a late lunch he swapped to the bigger standard sail - a poor decision as the wind picked up significantly when we returned to the water an hour later!

After a great lunch provided by the Illuminis shore team (Paul's wife Moira, sister Lu and comms manager Marian) the fleet went back on the water for two more races in a wind that was now gusting consistently in the top 20s. In race three Howard got the jump on Luke but struggled to hold on in the freshening wind and Luke slipped by on lap two only to have a shroud let go on the next lap. Howard took the race, closely followed by Nick then Alan. Paul and the RS200 of Nicki and Serena swapped fifth and sixth every lap with the RS Vareo flying past downwind but being overtaken upwind each time.

Luke found some "string" for a new shroud and was back on the water ready for race four which he led from start to finish followed all the way by Nick for another second then Alan.

So after day one, the top four were Luke, Nick, Howard and Alan. This left Cheryl Wood, Paul and Nicki/Serena competing on day two for the silver fleet trophy.

The sailors and volunteers enjoyed an indoor "BBQ" in the club house before heading off for well-earned rest.

Day two saw a very similar forecast and new Race Officer John Carron was able to set the same course for races five and six. The gusts were even stronger than Saturday and most sailors were blown over at some point during the morning. In race five, Luke again showed how good he is in the strong conditions leading all the way, Nick started well but it all went wrong on lap two allowing Howard to take second with Cheryl third.

Luke also lead right through race six with Howard staying closer and Nick right behind in third. Alan was blown over by a freak gust at the windward mark on lap one leaving him at the back of the fleet. At the end of a flying downwind run on lap four Paul was also blown over by a big gust and this time having survived several dry capsizes ended up the water with the mast head stuck in the mud.

Nick and Paul retired for the day leaving the last race to the remaining five boats. The RS Vareos and RS200 joined the club pursuit race with just a handful of local sailors in very gusty conditions. This was round the cans but Race Officer John included the mark right in front of the club house as a gybe mark followed by a long spinnaker run down to the bottom of the lake. This proved to be great for the spectators as all sorts of excitement happened just yards from the shoreline!

Cheryl had a blinding start and lead at the end of lap one having pursued and overtaken all of the slower boats, she was followed by Luke then Howard. On lap three Luke having got to the front was blown above the Gybe Mark and while dropping the kite to go back for another go Cheryl and Howard screamed past in a great race to the downwind mark. Cheryl held on to the lead for the rest of the race, Howard slipped back to fourth then had a big capsize in front of the club house with the kite hoisted and no chance of getting back into the boat quickly. At the finish it was Cheryl then Alan, Luke and Nicki/Serena.

So, after a great weekend's racing the RS Vareo Inland championship was retained by Luke Fisher - well done Luke.

In time honoured RS Vareo fashion, everyone went home with a prize!

1st and Inland Champion, Luke Fisher
2nd Howard Astley-Jones
3rd Nick Crickmore
Rooster Mid-Fleet Hero, Alan Bassett
Silver Fleet winner, Cheryl Wood
Rooster Endeavour, Paul North
Top placed double-hander, Nicki Fisher and Serena Stewardson
Wooden Spoon, Richard Holmes

On behalf of illuminis and Milton Keynes SC, Paul would like to thank all those that competed, the amazing shore team for all the catering and looking after the competitors and the volunteer Race Officers and safety crews.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st407Luke Fisher Emberton Park SC11(DNF)11138
2nd516Howard Astley‑Jones MKSC231422(DNF)14
3rd151Nick Crickmore Waveny & Oulton Broad YC422253(DNC)18
4th247Alan Bassett Weirwood SC34334‑5219
5th660Cheryl Wood Pennine SC‑654534122
6thRS200 1264Nicki FisherSerena StewardsonEmberton Park SC‑776776437
7th443Paul North MKSC56566(DNF)DNC37
8th164Richard Holmes Rollesby Broad SC(DNF)DNCDNFDNCDNCDNCDNC54

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