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Ocean Elements 2018
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Hadron H2 National Championship at Arun Yacht Club - Day 1

by Keith Callaghan 6 Sep 18:00 BST 6-8 September 2019
Andrew McGaw and Chris Brown hammer down the first reach on day 1 of the Hadron H2 National Championship at Arun © Keith Callaghan

The 2019 Hadron H2 National Championships got under way today at Arun Yacht Club, Littlehampton. The entry list of eighteen exceeded that of last year and would have been more but for late injuries sustained by some of the contenders who have additional sporting interests such as mountain biking.

The forecast WSW 20-25 knot breeze materialised and kicked up a short and nasty sea in the shallow waters off the coast. Our favourite PRO, Dougal "I own the start line" Henshall, got the fleet off to a start without delay at 11:00 and the fleet hammered purposefully upwind, with Richard Leftley in 'H2ooligan' rounding the mark first, closely followed by Doug Powell in #104, Simon Hipkin in 'Jet', then current champion Ian Sanderson in 'Shifty Fades Away'.

Simon seemed to go into turbo mode on the first reach and thundered into the lead by the gybe mark. Jack Holden, just back from fourth place at the RS400 Nationals, also gained places on that leg. Not being sure of the direction to the bottom mark due to the flying spray, Simon went low on the second reach, allowing the chasing boats to power over him. Richard and Jack rounded ahead of Simon and commenced the second beat. Jack decided to head inshore and found a favourable slant to take the lead by the weather mark.

Further down the fleet some boats were already having problems with the very choppy sea state and capsizes started occurring. The H2 is an easy boat to right in normal conditions but several boats found it difficult to continue and were assisted home by the safety crews, ably managed by John Hughes of the host club.

Meanwhile, back among the leaders, the order had settled to Jack, then Richard, with Ian forging through to third place, Doug Powell fourth and Simon fifth. Dougal decided to shorten the course after the second triangle so this was the finishing sequence.

With all safety boats already fully engaged and dark storm clouds massing to windward, Dougal made the wise decision to not sail the second race scheduled for the day. The forecast for tomorrow promises more manageable conditions and it is possible that race 2 will be run then in addition to the three scheduled races.

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