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Noble Marine Supernova Travellers' Series at Cotswold Sailing Club

by Gavin Young 28 Mar 2020 06:23 GMT 14 March 2020
Action from the Cotswold Supernova open in 2010 © Adrian Hollier

Saturday 14th March saw the first, and possibly the last (for a while anyway), Supernova Class Association Travellers' Series Event held at Cotswold Sailing Club.

The Class is pleased to have held the Winter Championships in February despite the high winds and now to have completed the first Traveller event of year before the cancelling of scheduled events due to the COVID-19 virus situation. The event also produced some of the closest racing we have seen with the top three sailors spending all three races at close quarters and finishing with one point between them and a tie break for first place.

So with sanitiser in hand the sailors were greeted with near perfect F2/3 gusting F4 wind strength, shifty conditions and a challenging Westerly/North Westerly direction, making course laying difficult to provide the competitors with the preferred long beats and runs.

The event attracted a total of 23 sailors which included the current National Champion Cliff Milliner, sailing at his home club and a previous National's winner Alex Horlock from Exmouth SC. The attendance was lower than normal, primarily down to the slow start to the season due to the high winds and gusty weather forecast combined with the concerns over the COVID-19 virus.

The 10:30 briefing was given by RO, Steve Whittle, and the first course was laid with 2 short beats and a long reach almost the length of the lake.

Race 1 started cleanly with the fleet well up to the line in a F2/3 breeze. The fleet split to both sides of the course with the local sailors being beaten to the windward mark by Horlock who approached from the right on starboard followed by Young, Milliner and Hawley approaching on port. The first course turned out to be a little processional making place changes very difficult, nonetheless some places were exchanged due to the shifty conditions. The top 3 boats remained within a few boat lengths of each other as they pulled ahead of the rest of the fleet. A challenge from Young on the run saw him move past Horlock and take the lead, the race continued in this order until the end of the 4th lap when Milliner past Horlock. With his sights set on Young, Milliner started to close the gap. Young concentrated and held the lead to cross the line in first, followed by Milliner, then Horlock.

The fleeted headed in for the famous Cotswold lunch, which kindly included vegan options for those who requested, before returning to the water for back to back races 2 and 3.

With a new course to provide longer beats across the lake Race 2 started cleanly, again with the fleet pushing hard up to the line for a starboard end start. The fleet again split to both sides of the course with Milliner just taking the lead followed by Young and Horlock. Despite some very close racing Milliner and Young pulled ahead of Horlock, after much close combat and luffing matches to protect mark rounding rights Milliner and Young remained within a few boats of each other for the entire race, finally finishing with Milliner 1st, followed by Young, then Horlock.

Race 3 was started with the same course and a slightly increasing breeze. The racing had been physically demanding with gusty conditions resulting in frequent capsizes and four sailors retired before the last race. The leading sailors, Milliner and Young, having a 1st and 2nd place each, were now competing for the win. The race again started cleanly with Young determined to push hard off the line. At the windward mark Young rounded first followed by Horlock with Milliner being a couple of places behind after starting further down the line. Young led for the first lap with Horlock close behind and Milliner chasing hard, having moved up to 3rd place. Young tacked too early half way up the second beat allowing Horlock to sail closer to the bank before tacking onto starboard to lay the mark. A wind shift meant that Young was forced to tack to make the mark but had to duck Horlock who was on the starboard lay line. Horlock took the lead followed closely by Young and Milliner who was closing the gap. Despite some close racing and a hard luff from Young to keep Milliner from an inside overlap the race finished with Horlock in the lead, followed by Young, then Milliner.

The top three sailors had an incredibly close event, but this was reflected throughout the fleet with several tie break situations. Steve Hawley in his new boat showed some incredible boat speed taking two 4th places and a 5th.

All the competitors would like to thank the hosting club for the warm welcome, hospitality and friendly approach, a special thank you to all the galley crew, the RO and his assistant and the safety boats crews who gave up their Saturday to support the event. The Club is always pleased to see the Supernova fleet returning with many of the sailors now considered to be old friends.

The prize-giving was also an opportunity to award the 2019 travellers series prizes already announced. With post sail cake in hand the event prize winners were as follows.

Overall Results:

1st Gavin Young - 1192 (Cotswold SC)
2nd Cliff Milliner - 1245 (Cotswold SC)
3rd Alex Horlock - 1060 (Exmouth SC)
4th Steve Hawley - 1263 (Bartley SC)
5th Matt Williams - 1248 (Cotswold SC)
6th Colin Anderson - 1175 (Blithfield SC)

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