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Hadron H2 Open at Walton & Frinton Yacht Club

by Keith Callaghan 4 Oct 21:04 BST 3-4 October 2020
The leeward mark, race 1, round 1 during the Walton & Frinton YC Hadron H2 open © Keith Callaghan

An appalling weather forecast discouraged several would-be competitors for the first and last club-hosted H2 open meeting of 2020.

Nonetheless, eight brave souls made their way down waterlogged leafy lanes to the hospitable (but safely distanced) warmth of Walton and Frinton YC. The class had imported their own favourite PRO, Dougal Henshall, to manage the racing and the H2s were joined by half a dozen Phantoms to add to the fun.

The weather on Saturday was benign (?) enough to hold the racing in the open spaces of Hamford Water, with triangle-sausage courses. In fact, the wind was a lot less than forecast, though the rain was unfortunately as accurately predicted. Three races were held in quick succession as it was necessary to get back to the clubhouse before the Spring ebb deserted Twizzle Creek. Andrew McGaw, who had risen before the crack of dawn to drive to the event, got into an early lead in race one and was never headed. Robin Parsons, in only his second open event in his new H2, finished in second place, with local sailor Simon Hipkin in third.

Race two saw precisely the same three boats take the top spots. Andrew - who finished fourth in the H2 Nationals a month ago, winning the Masters' Trophy in the process - was beginning to enjoy this! Meanwhile, Ian Little, Dave Barker and Geoff Parker were sharing out the 4th to 6th places among themselves. Simon Whitehouse was having his first outing in an H2 and was happy to sail round in close contact with the rest. Wise old Kevin Connolly - the great grand master of the fleet and one of the early enthusiasts for the H2 - sensibly decided that one race in pouring rain and 10 degrees was more than sufficient and went back early.

The third and last race of the day kicked off with a new leader in contention - Simon Hipkin. Robin Parsons and Andrew McGaw were hot on his tail. But the race ended in a little controversy. At the pre-race briefing, Dougal had modified the SIs to terminate the last race at the entrance to Twizzle Creek, thus saving most of the two mile beat back to the clubhouse. However, half the fleet (both H2s and Phantoms) misinterpreted the instructions and headed for home one round early. This group included Simon and Robin, but Andrew had been awake at the briefing and correctly interpreted the PRO's instructions - he carried on for one more round and half the fleet followed him.

With two more races scheduled for Sunday, there was still all to play for, as discards would then come into play. But the forecast was dire, with 30 knot winds and, of course, even more rain. The general consensus among the competitors on that morning was that a nice cup of hot cocoa in the clubhouse was preferable to sailing out to a potentially dangerous couple of races. So the three races of the previous day settled the score.

Congratulations to Andrew McGaw - I think it's his first H2 Open win but he has always been in contention when the wind exceeds 8 knots. And well done to everyone who competed in quite awful conditions and special thanks go to the race team and support boats who had a pretty wet and cold day looking after our safety.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1128Andrew McGawNorthampton SC1113
2135Robin ParsonsDeben YC22NF)9
3102Ian LittleThorpe Bay YC45211
4104Simon HipkinWalton & Frinton YC33NF)11
5103Geoff ParkerWalton & Frinton YC64313
6113Dave BarkerDraycote Water SC56NF)16
7101Simon WhitehouseWalton & Frinton YC77418
8137Kevin ConnollyDeben YC8NC)NC)26

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