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Multihull report from the RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta 2019

by Marion Edwards 9 Jul 11:00 BST 5-7 July 2019
RYA Sailability Multiclass Regatta - Challenger Fleet © Emily Whiting

For the first time since its inception in 2007, the venue for the RYA Sailability Multiclass regatta was not Rutland Sailing Club, instead we were at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy with the racing taking place in Portland Harbour. Eleven Challengers (including two from Scotland) made the journey to WPNSA where they were joined on the slip by three Wetas (largely sailed by members of Sussex Sailability).

Friday morning was spent assembling the boats. In the afternoon ten of the Challengers went out for race training which was run by Richard Johnson. Two of the Wetas: Chris ("I've never sailed one of these before") Taylor and Adrian Cumberworth (116); and Chris Hodge (who clearly had sailed one of these before!) and Tony McCoy (133) took advantage of the free sailing to check their boats out. The fleet returned to shore with reports of huge jellyfish. Graham Hall (270) said "It knocked my centreboard halfway up and it's held down with 10mm shockcord".

The pursuit race for the Ken Ellis trophy took place on Saturday morning. There were 64 boats representing ten classes competing on a trapezoidal course. The light winds were never going to favour the Challengers who started 35 minutes after the sole Hansa 2.3. The conditions clearly suited the Elliot 6m keelboats as they took four of the top five places (with Paul Philips taking fourth in his Hansa Liberty). Val Millward (312) was the highest placed Challenger in 16th closely followed by Graham in 17th. The Wetas, which started after the Challengers, fared even worse with the highest placed Weta (Graeme Webb and Catherine Potter ("we haven't met before") (119)) coming 48th some way after the last Challenger which was 36th.

While the Challenger shore crew pride themselves on running like a well-oiled machine the wheels began to come off when launching for the afternoon fleet races. The beachmaster (who will remain nameless) decided that the T flag (tallies available for collection) was synonymous with the D flag (permission to launch) and sent John McPartlin (237) off before D was raised. After a mild reproof from a safety boat, John said the highlight of his day was having the whole of Portland Harbour to himself.

The Challengers were sharing a course with the 2.4s, RS Ventures and Skuds. They were sailing the outer loop of a Carantec course with a reaching finish. The sea breeze began to pick up and gave more exciting (albeit rather wet) sailing. In the first race three boats were OCS. Duncan Greenhalgh (295) and Mark Fletcher (298) returned but Graham did not so although he crossed the line first, it was Val who took first place, John Draper (277) was second and Mark made an excellent recovery to come third.

In race 2 the breeze continued to build and this led to the retirement of Chris and Adrian as they were taken out of their comfort zone. Duncan and Mark were both OCS (again) and returned (again). Fortunately Graham did not make the same mistake twice and took the win but he didn't have it all his own way as one of Pauline Shaw's (266) highlights of the day was overtaking him (for all of 20 seconds)! John D. was second and Val third. Julia Winter (290) had her best race to come fourth and felt she had found her form! Steve Wozniak (301) was forced to retire and limped home with a broken rudder stock claiming "It wasn't me it was the jellyfish."

The wheels comprehensively came off the shore crew machine when, after recovering Diana Faulks (288), Annie was heard to say "Oh God, I can feel the water where it shouldn't be!" (it turned out her drysuit zip wasn't quite closed...). However, eventually all Challengers and Wetas were recovered and Gordon Harle of Rutland Sailability was able to provide a rivet gun to repair the jellyfish damaged rudder stock.

Many sailors and shore crew stayed at WPNSA for the Italian themed event dinner. Sarah Treseder (RYA Chief Executive) presented the Ken Ellis trophy to the Blind Sailing team of Lucy Hodges, Ben Hazeldine, Eddie Kitchen and Martin Phillips.

On Sunday morning three further fleet races were scheduled though this seemed rather optimistic given the forecast. After a long delay a race was started but abandoned before the windward mark. The course was moved in search of more wind. Graeme and Catherine decided enough was enough and retired. Race 3 was eventually held in very light winds. Duncan and Mark managed not to be OCS! Graham took the win followed by Val. Coming to the finish John D was lying third but he dropped his mainsheet and let two boats through, however John's bad luck gave Jack Ginn (289) his best result of third.

Several sailors desperately needed another race as they were carrying a high score and needed a discard. Race 4 was started but abandoned when the wind went through 180 degrees. The course was relaid (again) and the race went ahead. Val took the win with Graham second and John D, who managed to keep hold of his mainsheet, third.

With his much needed discard, Graham and Val were on equal points and equal on count-back, so Val took the Millar Management trophy home (again) by virtue of her last race win. Graham was second (again) and John D. was third. In the Wetas, Chris and Tony scored a perfect series but there was just a single point between Chris and Adrian in second, and Graeme and Catherine in third. So ended a successful event for all the multihull sailors at the Multiclass regatta.

Thanks to RYA Sailability, Chesil Sailability (particularly for the Jelly Beans and Jelly Babies!) and WPNSA for organising and hosting the event. In particular, thanks to all those who helped pulling boats up the slipway (including Joff McGill and Melissa Chapman of RYA Sailability).

Multihull results for the Ken Ellis Trophy:

16th Val Millward (312)
17th Graham Hall (270)
22nd Duncan Greenhalgh (295)
25th John Draper (277)
26th Pauline Shaw (266)
27th Diana Faulks (288)
28th Steve Wozniak (301)
29th Julia Winter (290)
33rd John McPartlin (237)
35th Mark Fletcher (298)
36th Jack Ginn (289)
48th Graeme Webb and Catherine Potter (Weta 119)
57th Chris Hodge and Tony McCoy (Weta 133)
61st Chris Taylor and Adrian Cumberworth (Weta 116)

Weta Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4Pts
1133Chris HodgeTony McCoy‑11113
2116Chris TaylorAdrian Cumberworth3(DNF [4])227
3119Graeme WebbCatherine Potter22(DNC [4])DNC [4]8

Challenger Results:

PosSail NoHelmR1R2R3R4Pts
1312Valerie Milward1‑3214
2270Graham Hall(OCS [12])1124
3277John Draper22‑537
4298Mark Fletcher3‑84411
5289Jack Ginn463‑1013
6295Duncan Greenhalgh‑856516
7290Julia Winter‑947617
8288Diana Faulks57‑9719
9266Pauline Shaw610‑11925
10301Steven Wozniak7(RET [12])81126
11237John Mcpartlin‑10910827

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