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Bart's Bash 2019 at the Blackwater Sailing Clubs

by Christine Brown 24 Sep 2019 08:54 BST 15 September 2019
104 boats for the Blackwater clubs' Bart's Bash 2019 © Zoe Nelson

What a difference a year makes! Last year the joint Blackwater clubs had to cancel their Bart's Bash races due to strong winds. This year, on Sunday 15th September, 104 boats from the joint Blackwater Clubs raced under clear blue skies and the only thing lacking was... wind!

Bart's Bash is the largest sailing race in the world and was started in memory of Olympic Gold medallist Andrew 'Bart' Simpson MBE, who passionately believed that everyone should have the chance to try sailing and enjoy the many benefits that it brings. Money raised by our Clubs goes to the Andrew Simpson Foundation (ASF) whose mission is to "inspire the next generation" by using sailing to improve the lives of young people across the world.

The day before the race the Blackwater Sailing Club Cadets enjoyed a Bart's Bash training day. As they did in 2018, they donated all their training entry fees to the ASF. Blackwater Sailing Club ran the short course from a Committee Boat east of Northey Island. The gentle F2-3 westerly breeze was battling with a developing sea breeze resulting in large shifts in the wind which varied from force 0-2. This caused challenges for Race Officer Margaret Norman who was faced with a 50 degree shift in the wind just before the start requiring relaying of the start line.

The fleet of 36 boats got away first time with the Solo of Nigel Butler starting at the committee boat end. This allowed him to break away from the fleet with the laser radials of Aimee Taylor and Andrew Field in hot pursuit. Conditions were challenging and competitors faced attack by large swarms of flies as they gently drifted around the triangular course under the beating sun and 27 degree temperatures. At times even the jellyfish were moving faster than the boats! Despite the conditions, the leading 5 boats managed 3 laps.

Short Course Results:

1st Nigel Butler, Solo
2nd Aimee Taylor, Laser Radial
3rd Andrew Field, Laser Radial

The Long Course was run by Stone Sailing Club with Race Officer Wendy Robinson setting a committee boat start south of Osea Island. The fleet of 68 boats made reasonable progress to the west helped by the end of the flood tide. As they passed to the north of Osea, the tide changed which, although initially helpful, made progress painfully slow once they passed to the east of the island and tried to stem the tide back to the finish.

48 of the starters finished with the remainder having to retire. The RIBs were kept busy towing members back to the Club. Blackwater Club Commodore Steve Jarred said after the race "that was the slowest circumnavigation of Osea I have ever done taking four hours from departing the club to returning."

Long Course Results:

1st Dave Wood, 2000 - 21647
2nd Charlotte Videlo, 420 - 54997
3rd Karl Terkelsen, RS400 - 570

The full results can be seen on the Blackwater Sailing Club website or the Bart's Bash website (where they will appear slightly differently).

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