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Blaze Midland Championship at Draycote Water Sailing Club

by Hugh Kingdon 18 Sep 2020 10:19 BST 12 September 2020
Ben Harden approaching the Gybe mark chased by Paul Tatem during the Blaze Midlands Championship © DWSC

A battle of East against West in the Midlands

The Blaze fleet met for the second time since restrictions eased, and there were many new faces at the event, especially from the fast-growing East Coast fleet which is great to see. It was perfect weather for a battle, the sun shone and it was a gusty South Westerly 13-20 knot breeze.

The Race Officer had two courses available to him - a standard Trapezoid and the less common Inverse P, which is what he went with. This provided a broad reach to the gybe mark, and a tight reach back to the run. The tightness of the gybe catching a few out, especially when attempted in a gust! The gate at the bottom also allowed for some spatial separation and a split in tactics for those that wanted it.

Race 1 started with shifty winds. The fleet arrived early at the start leaving space for Kingdon at the committee boat end. He managed to sail upwind in clean air and reach the windward mark first. Sailing downwind Harden and Hutchings closed the gaps before heading upwind and losing the distance. This pattern repeated each lap until the final downwind leg and Harden squeezed past on the inside and won the first race just before the finish.

Race 2 was a repeat of race 1 with Harden, Hutchings and Kingdon fighting for position, but Harden's superior downwind speed enabling him to reach the podium first. Behind them Ironmonger found his form and led home the pack.

Race 3 had Harden, Hutchings and Kingdon in their now normal 1,2,3 position, but the positions behind were hotly contested. This time it was the turn of Tatem to take 4th, followed by Holman and Tolhurst.

Race 4 saw some big gusts and windshifts before the start, upsetting the order, and it was Tatem who seized the moment heading upwind on the port side and grabbing a big lead. There were also several capsizes at the gybe mark providing more chances to grab positions with Buckley gaining 4th his best position. At the front, alas for Tatem, Harden again showed his superior downwind technique and overtook to win 4 out of 4 races and be the clear winner.

With seemingly there being no home advantage, the top prizes were split between East and West coast sailors with East winning out in the end.

In order to be Covid compliant, which the club had enacted throughout the day, no specific prize-giving was held, instead winners were invited to report to collect their prizes which were awarded:

1st Ben Harden, Burnham Sailing Club
2nd Malcolm Hutchings, Royal Corinthian Sailing club (and first Master)
3rd Hugh Kingdon, North Devon Yacht Club

1st Polyester Boat - Nicholas Tolhurst, Royal Corinthian Sailing Club
1st Youth - Nathan Clark, Burnham Sailing Club
1st Lady - Alex Porteous, Royal Corinthian Sailing Club
1st Grand Master - Mike Lyons
Endeavour Prize - Douglas Clow, Island Barn Sailing Club

The class like to be inclusive though so that a few don't go home with all the prizes and so everyone only won once.

The big win was that we have been able to have an event at all. It was the weekend when we were due to have the National Championship and had been cancelled. We would like to say our thanks to Draycote Water Sailing Club for stepping in and supporting the fleet and to Richard Botting for organising the event.

The next fleet reunion is at Burghfield on 3rd October and North Devon Yacht Club on 23rd October.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st846Ben HardenBurnham SC‑11113
2nd836Malc HutchingsRcyc‑32237
3rd827Hugh KingdonNDYC233‑58
4th828Paul TatemNDYC‑864212
5th661Nicholas TolhurstRCYC‑956718
6th734Chris HolmanPembrokeshire yacht club675(RET)18
7th8Mike LyonsBurghfield SC5‑88619
8th823John IronmongerSHSC74‑131021
9th732Paul BuckleyRCYC12‑157423
10th777Raymond ApthorpRoyal Corinthian YC41012(RET)26
11th758Charlie MatthewsBurnham Sailing Club‑24911929
12th799Richard BottingDraycote13‑229830
13th844Keith GilmoreRoyal Croithian Yacht Club11‑13101334
14th3Tye WichardBurnham Sailing Club1012‑161234
15th804Trevor Bawden 14‑17141139
16th516Tom ArnoldPembrokeshire Yacht Club‑1811171442
17th763Peter McFarlaneBurghfield151415‑1944
18th621Ollie WilliamsBurton Sailing Club16‑23191550
19th654Bill StringerBurghfield1916‑211853
20th77Andy WilsonIsland Barn Reservior SC2020‑221656
21st676Alex PorteousRCYC‑2221181756
22nd509Nathan ClarkBurnham Sailing Club1719‑202056
23rd533Douglas ClowIsland Barn sailing club2118‑232261
24th719Nick MiltonRoyal Corinthian Yacht Club2324(RET)2168
25th780Oliver MurrayBfyc(DNC)DNCDNCDNC81
25th844Andrew TaylorBlackpool & Fleetwood YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC81

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