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Hansa Class National TT Series at Oxford Sailing Club

by Richard Johnson 22 Jun 10:02 BST 15 June 2019
Ben Foulsom and David Price were second 2.3 (1st Double) in the Hansa TT at Oxford © Richard Johnson

There were grey clouds at Oxford and enough wind to get your elbow very wet going upwind but everyone coped well, with lots of close racing, particularly in the Liberty fleet.

The Liberty starts were razor sharp, with everyone going fast and on the line at the gun. The windward mark was chaotic as the fleet tried to round in a bunch and the downwind legs of the trapezoid course were a desperate fight to keep jibs goose-winged and find clear wind. Nobody had a clear advantage and the close contest between front runners Val Millward (3068) and David Durston (3144) was only resolved when David had to retire after race 3 with servo motor failure. Paul Phillips (2557) showed flashes of brilliance to come third overall but the strong conditions took their toll, with plenty of gear failure in the rest of the fleet, mainly concerning the electrics.

The 303s had a race of two halves because the singles had a Match Race, as there were only two entries but the racing was closer than results suggest, as Mike Everitt was eagerly pursued by both Katie Apset and the leading two-person boat of Natalia and Alan Hillman. Brilliant sailing by the Hillmans also kept them ahead of the other Doubles but, further down the fleet, there were some close battles, generally won by experienced doubles racers the Etheringtons to finish fourth overall.

There were four 2.3s but one of the Frensham entries was dogged all day by technical problems, leaving the others to take a lesson in heavy weather sailing from winner Lindsey Burns, who made winning look easy, which it isn't in a small boat with only one sail that takes a lot of concentration to get the best out of it in 16-plus knots of wind. Oxford's Ben Foulsham came a good second in his first regatta, with enthusiastic helper David Price guiding the tactics and making some great starts.

The number of young sailors competing is a good sign for the future, with the tight racing in the Liberty fleet setting them a great example and providing plenty of top helms who will be happy to share (most of!) their secrets with the up-and-comers who are the winners of tomorrow.

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