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Marlow 2020 Blue Ocean Doublebraid - LEADERBOARD
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The Topper Book by Dave Cockerill & John Caig

Hadron H2 Inland Championship at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Keith Callaghan 24 Nov 2019 20:40 GMT 23 November 2019
Hadron H2s competing in their Inland Championships at Draycote Water SC © Keith Callaghan

The H2 Inland Championships, sponsored by Callaghan Design, were held as part of the first day of the Draycote Dash event on Saturday. It's been a wet and chilly November, which is perhaps why the turnout for the event, on a grey and chilly day, was disappointingly lower than last year. Nonetheless, the four races were fought with the usual H2 enthusiasm by the competitors.

Sailing a class event in a fleet of well over 100 other boats, ranging from Toppers to Norfolk Punts, was an additional challenge for the competitors but with the H2s among the fastest in the medium handicap group it was reasonably easy for them to get clear starts. The helm who made the most of this was class chairman Richard Lefley, sailing H2 #115 'H2ooligan'.

Richard sails regularly at South Cerney SC, a smallish tract of water with a competitive handicap fleet, so he was well at home with the race conditions. Richard sailed brilliantly in the shifty 8-10 knot breeze and was rewarded with 4 straight wins. Behind him, competition was fierce, with the tussle for second and third places going to who beat whom in the last race - Michael Alexander (H2 #135 'Leadfree') just gaining the honours from Simon Hipkin (H2 #104 'Bluebird'). Fourth and fifth places went to Chris Brown, who didn't improve his chances by capsizing* in the first race, and Andrew McGaw.

So after four races and more than fours hours on the chilly water, it was back to the hospitably warm Draycote Water clubhouse. Richard maintains his reputation as the man to beat inland, having won the trophy in 2018 as well. There was talk among the competitors that perhaps the Inland Championships should be at a warmer time of year in 2020 and no doubt the HH2CA Committee will be giving that full consideration.

PRO Dave Barker (himself a Hadron H2 owner) and his team deserve praise for their management of three fleets of dozens of disparate dinghies - thank you DWSC.

* Footnote: Third placed Simon Hipkin, who builds the H2 and has been sailing them regularly for four seasons, tells me that he has never capsized while racing one. A remarkable record when you understand that includes extreme races where he was the only finisher! Richard Leftley, however, likes to practice a spectacular capsize every now and then - especially when there is a camera pointing at him! (see below)

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