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Stoneways Marine 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Waszp Virtual UK National Championship 2020

by Joe Pester 8 Jun 2020 11:45 BST 6-7 June 2020
WASZP Virtual National Championship © Virtual Regatta

Last weekend should have been the Waszp UK National Championship so the class decided to get together and hold a two day virtual equivalent. The title was to be contested over 8 races via Virtual Regatta in the fabulous foiling F50s which are linked to the Waszp class through the SailGP Inspire programme giving pathways to young sailors into the professional sailing world. A video conference call was enjoyed before, during and after the races and virtual trophies had been made specially for the event too!

Competitors didn't travel to the event from as far afield as Scotland, North East England, Wales, South Coast England and Newport Rhode Island US of A! There were a couple of top guns missing though - high flying Bell Rock had to work and Hats was busy having a happy birthday!

Even before racing began Zac Blomley was doing some fine stalking in pre start showing some serious intent! But it was Sam Whaley who hit the front and took the first race ahead of Adam Raeburn-James and James Gray. Iain Ferguson peaked early and got his best result of the series with a 4th. Race 2 saw the order switched around with James getting it followed by Sam and Adam. Ross Banham had a run in with Phil Ewart at the final mark and the resulting penalty made for some exclamations and chuckles over the chat as others overtook him on the way to the finish line! Race 3 saw things change and Sam be absent from the podium due to getting around 6 consecutive penalties in one incident! James took the win followed by the super quick youth sailor Ross Ferguson and definitely senior sailor Ross Banham. The last race of day 1 saw a tight battle throughout with the leaders still all together at the last mark before James edged it followed by old(er!) Ross then Sam.

So James led overnight by just one point from the tied Sam and Adam! Chats were then had before a fun race in Offshore Racers with an extra rule that the leader around any mark must stand up and do a physical 360... Speedy Sam had to do around 5 spins and it gave Iain a chance to pip him to the win with myself in 3rd! Chat continued late into the night as the sociable species that is the Waszp class enjoyed a good catch up and some fun!

Melissa Wellbourn must have had good overnight preparation as she shot into the lead at the start of race 5 crossing the line at around 40 knots just 0.08 seconds after the start gun! Sam showed his usual race speed to get in front and take another win followed by Zac who'd joined in the chat then James. Rachael Jenkins made a guest appearance and got a good 7th. Race 6 was very busy with lots of lively chat on the video call! Sadly 'Daddy' Ferguson had 'virtual gear failure' dropping out of connection while young Ferguson stormed to a very impressive 2nd behind Sam and ahead of James! Andy Marshall joined in from here getting some good consistant 6thplaces. Race 7 went the way of Sam again with James 2nd and myself having a rare spell towards the front in 3rd. So going into the last race Sam was ahead of James and possibly about to clean up... At the start James got bashed back down the fleet while Sam shot off into a lead he would never lose taking the line ahead of 'old' Ross, 'young' Ross and a recovering James in 4th.

Congratulations to Sam Whaley for becoming Waszp Virtual UK National Champion! He races under the name WhaleX and went like the SpaceX rocket this weekend! Runner up James Gray and 3rd place overall Ross Banham. Congratulations also to Melissa Wellbourn for lifting the Ladies Virtual Crown and to Ross Ferguson for clinching the Youth Virtual Title. Thanks go to Petrina for firing up the virtual foundry and making all the trophies and also to Iain for some fantastic photoshop skills making the virtual prize-giving look so real!

Happy chat ensued again into the night with more welcome guest appearances, some telling of their wonderful returns to the real water and all shipmates feeling good having had some togetherness. The virtual racing has been very beneficial for skills practice as well as for the socialising, and just like real life Waszp events there were all abilities represented and having fun! Hope to see you all sailing again sometime soon!

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