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UKLA National Championships at the WPNSA - Standard ILCA7 Fleet day 1

by Krishan Bohgal & James Foster 25 Aug 14:22 BST 24-26 August 2020

The UKLA National Championships is now under way at Weymouth in conditions that for some are ideal and others challenging to put it mildly.

The first 3 days of this 6 day event we have the ILCA7's and ILCA4's enjoying some excellent racing in Weymouth Harbour. With the first day done and dusted we can see who has been leaning over the sofa arm reaching for the Doritos and who has been Slogging it out on the hiking bench. Tuesday's racing has been cancelled due to storm Francis barrelling in from the south west so... back to the Doritos then.

In the ILCA7's it Mr. Olympic Elliot Hanson with a perfect score closely followed by Michael Beckett. Joseph Drake, Jack Hopkins and Sam Whaley are all scooping up the other top 5 places. It should be noted that Sam hit on a nice little ruse to get around the fact that the support boats could not carry extra water and food for the competitors - he brought a small inflatable dinghy and anchored it near the starting line. By the 3rd race, when others were flagging, Sam whipped out the espresso maker and downed a couple of double cappuccinos - hey presto he chalked up his best result a 3rd.

Krishan Bohgal reviews the action from the front of the fleet...

Strong and gusty winds kicked off the first day of 2020 ILCA 7 UKLA National Championship. This was the first proper day of racing since lockdown for the majority of the fleet so tensions were high! Race 1 got away first time which was a bit of a surprise! Elliot Hanson led at the windward mark followed by Krishan Bhogal and then Dan Whiteley rounded close behind in 3rd. Joe Drake and Michael Beckett came from behind on the downwind and overtook boats ahead. Jack Hopkins then managed to overtake Drake on the second downwind and see it through to the finish. The final finishing order was Hanson, followed by Beckett with Hopkins in 3rd.

Race 2 provided similar conditions and the majority of the fleet applied the same tactics. At the top, the order was Drake, Hanson and then Beckett. Much of the same as the previous race followed and by the finish, Hanson had it wrapped up with Beckett claiming another 2nd place. Drake sailed a great race and held off Hopkins and Whiteley to take 3rd.

Another clean start in the final race of the day and Hanson led at the windward mark again. Whaley and Beckett were close behind fighting for position on the reach. Hanson held off his competition to claim his 3rd win of the series with Beckett sealing another 2nd place. Whaley claimed 3rd after sailing a very good race throughout.

Thanks to all the volunteers and organisers for helping the first day of racing run smoothly. It was a great first day back to racing and definitely a physical one!

James Foster:

"Today was my 1st ever day of racing in the standard! The wind was a typical SW direction in Portland Harbour which made the left-hand side of the upwind favoured. Despite this gain feature, the pressure played into account throughout the race, particularly on the Standard course on the outer loop as we were closer to the Bill. With the Port bias and medium-strong breeze it made the lane-hold off the start very difficult and the race could be won or lost from the onset."

The masters put on a surprising good show - as expected Mark Lytle smart and fast sailing got him his best result of the day 12th In the third race and places him 17th overall - Close behind is Nick Harrison in 18th. Chris Ellyatt, who had been partying hard the night before and feeling decidedly groggy was on good form Squeezing into the top 20. Most the masters we hovering around mid fleet but hats off to those often neglected racers that bring up the back of the fleet. We all have to remember that many race for different reasons - its fantastic to see good club sailors having a go at a big event. I which sport could enthusiastic armatures race against Olympians and professionals in the same kit - not to mention the fact that this boat is essentially the same as it was 50 years ago.

This event has been organised impeccably - as several competitors said 'so far this has been a faultless regatta' - 3 cheers for Paul Jackson RO and all the countless volunteers. Racing will resume tomorrow...

Results so far can be found here.

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