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Supernova Inland Championships at Burton Sailing Club

by Iain Barlow 8 Sep 2020 15:27 BST 5-6 September 2020
2020 Supernova Inland Championships at Burton © Helen Lancashire

The Supernova Class returned to competitive sailing with an exceptional weekend of racing for the Inland Championships at Burton Sailing Club in Derbyshire. The fleet arrived to a superbly organised event by the team at Burton who ensured sailing could go ahead safely in the present circumstances.

Sadly, numbers were impacted with only 31 boats making the journey and the boat park certainly noticed the absence of the Bolton stronghold.

Sailing got under way with an immediate general recall, true to word the race officer had the black flag flying for the restart and there it stayed for the rest of the day. Once the fleet were away in the shifty force 4-5 conditions, the front runners were Cliff Milliner, Matt Biggs, Alex Horlock and Gavin Young. Cliff soon nosed out ahead and was never challenged - 1st bullet to the defending champion and with it the Paul Earnshaw Trophy. John Ling had a great start to Supernova sailing in the Association's new loan boat 1031 with a very credible 6th place.

Race 2 followed back to back where Gavin Young got away well with a big wind shift at the pin end and a quick tack on to port. The rest of the fleet struggled to find clear air with the front runners spread throughout the pack. Alex Horlock and Matt Biggs took up chase and managed to reel in Gav with Cliff following behind in 4th. Jonny Everett had a fantastic race crossing the line in 11th.

The fleet was glad for the lunchtime break with muscles aching having not worked so hard since the Winter Championships back in February. Back on the water the black flag saw its first victims with Cliff Milliner, Mike Gibbson and Dave Stephen OCS. With Cliff out, Alex Horlock saw his chance to take a firm hold of the championship with his second bullet. Newcomer to the Supernova, John Knight showed that it certainly runs in the family taking second place in his son's boat - time to buy one of your own John!

Race four saw Cliff Milliner needing a win to bring him back into contention and as we've seen so many times before once Cliff sets his mind to something it's guaranteed. The racing further back in the fleet was a tightly fought battle as always with positions 10th to 20th swapping back and forth throughout the race.

The evening would typically see the class's AGM but COVID-19 had other plans, forcing the committee to turn to online alternatives. The AGM saw Chairman Chris Hawley stand down after being at the helm for the past 6 years and having taken the class to new highs. In Chris' first year of tenure he almost doubled entries at the National Championships, and they've stayed over the magic 100 figure ever since. The class is in good hands with Iain Barlow taking up the mantle and has his sights firmly set on 2021 and the class's 25th anniversary.

The fleet woke early on Sunday morning with fingers crossed that the forecasted force 1-2 was enough to get on the water. Nerves were quickly calmed with an almost consistent upper force 3 by the time racing got under way. Front runners Alex Horlock and Cliff Milliner both had a poor start popping up in the mid-fleet as they rounded the windward mark. That left Matt Biggs and Gavin Young to fight it out at the front for the honours with Matt getting the better over the line. That result threw the championship wide open, what seemed certain for Alex only an hour ago was now looking a little shaky. A standout performance was Stuart Stephen crossing the line in 12th, clearly revelling in the calmer conditions.

The front runners all knew a clean getaway in the final race was crucial with such a closely fought midfield. Alex and Cliff again got away poorly, and both knew they had to get their heads down to keep their championships alive. Matt Biggs was ever present having got away well but was unable to fend off a charging Cliff who came back to claim the win. Alan Bishop from Girton SC continued his impressive morning with another 3rd place behind Matt & Cliff. With Alex coming home in 6th the top four were all furiously working out who'd be standing on the second step.

Congratulations to Matt Biggs taking his first Supernova Inlands Championship, an amazing feat considering he's the first to touch the trophy in the last ten years other than Cliff and Supernova Supremo Mike Gibbson.

Also, a huge final thanks to Burton Sailing Club who hosted a fantastic event in their recently refurbished clubhouse with a phenomenal race team who were professional through and through.

Overall Results:

1st Master - John Knight
1st Veteran - Mike Gibbson
1st Lady - Alison Linnell
1st Mark 1 - Derek Hillesdon
Paul Earnshaw Trophy - Cliff Milliner

PosFleetSail NoClubHelmR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGold1271Blithfield SCMatt Biggs32‑421210
2ndGold1060Exe SCAlex Horlock21145‑613
3rdGold1245Cotswold SCCliff Millliner14(OCS)17114
4thGold1261Cotswold SCGavin Young‑43332415
5thSilver1192Bartley SCJohn Knight8525‑11525
6thSilver1018Girton SCAlan Bishop‑10109103335
7thSilver1172Derwent Reservoir SCAndy Weatherspoon9686‑13736
8thSilver1031Bartley SCJohn Ling676‑99836
9thGold1257Bartley SCMike Gibson79(OCS)84937
10thGold1175Blithfield SCColin Anderson5877‑161138
11thSilver1082Blithfield SCBen Eaves‑1713511101554
12thGold1160Cotswold SCPaul Undrell121613146‑1761
13thSilver1189Blithfield SCTom Chadfield1312101319(DNS)67
14thSilver1275Burton SCIain Barlow11‑181218141267
15thSilver1203Cotswold SCSteve Johnson14‑23111582068
16thGold1184Bartley SCGarry Butterfield‑21151619151075
17thSilver1230Llandegfedd SCJonny Everett18111412‑242479
18thSilver1221Haversham SCAdrian Lumb151917‑21171482
19thSilver1080Felpham SCJames Gerwatt191419‑22181989
20thSilver1130Girton SCEd Johnson20‑222020211899
21stSilver1234Attenborough SCNick Whiles24172116‑2723101
22ndSilver1099Sutton‑in‑Ashfield SCPeter Housley23211523‑2522104
23rdBronze1180Bartley SCDavid Stephen1620(OCS)242321104
24thSilver1019Hollowell SCAlison Linnell‑282823262016113
25thGold1254Girton SCTony Bleasdale2225(DNS)DNS2213114
26thBronze1167Bartley SCStuart Stephen(DNF)3025271225119
27thBronze1171Teesdale SCMark Meadows(DNF)241817DNSDNS123
28thBronze1218Haversham SCPaul Bates2527222526(DNF)125
29thBronze461Combs SCDerek Hillesdon26‑2924292927135
30thSilver1008Hollowell SCNorman Carter2726(DNF)DNS2826139
31stBronze412Haversham SCPatrick Pakes(DNF)DNF26283028144

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