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International 14 Walker Trophy at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Andy Shaw 6 Oct 2020 21:01 BST 3-4 October 2020
International 14 Walker Trophy at Itchenor © Caroline Gosford

Given the weather forecast during the week, you'd have been forgiven for making other weekend plans. Storm Alex was meant to bring torrential rain and strong winds - the start of autumn. So it was a strange feeling for the nine boats that made it down to Itchenor Sailing Club for the Walker Trophy to be greeted by flat calm and sun bursting through the clouds. I guess we'd forgotten - it's always sunny in Itchenor.

Saturday morning was spent watching the keelboat classes attempt to leave their moorings and drift against a flooding tide. And hiding from a bit of drizzle - maybe it's not always sunny after all. The start was postponed (in part due to the light winds and in part due to the fleet being fashionably late to the start line). Everyone except Jock and Emily from HISC underestimated the time needed to beat out to the race area against the tide. You'd have thought we grew up on lakes.

The format for the Walker trophy is multiple short course races, putting the focus on boat handling and starting with target race times of 15 minutes. 5 races were scheduled for the day.

Race 1

The start line was set near East Head racing mark, in a light Southerly 4-6 knots. Andy Shaw & Rob Struckett won the pin end of the line and continued left, in search of tidal relief, followed by Pete Bromley & Hugh Maclean and Glen Truswell & Ed Fitzgerald. It was single-wiring weather, with only a short beat to the first mark, so tacking was expensive. Andy & Rob led around the windward mark, closely followed by Glen & Ed, who both straight-set their kites and headed to the Itchenor shore. Archie Massey & Ian Lodder gybed at the windward mark to look for favourable tide. The wind was steadily dropping, with only some soft righties occasionally filling in down near the leeward mark. Andy & Rob held their lead around the leeward mark, tacking immediately to head out left again. Glen & Ed, however, continued further right out of the leeward mark before tacking up above Andy & Rob's line. The shorten course flag was sounded at the finish boat, and the breeze continued to swing right, giving Glen & Ed the first win of the day with Andy & Rob in 2nd and Pete & Hugh in 3rd.

Race 2

After 20 minutes of waiting for some wind to fill in (and a couple of swims for some) an 8-12 knot southerly filled in and racing could get under way.

Glen & Ed won the start, and led round the windward mark, followed by Andy & Rob down at the pin. There was a gap back to the rest of the fleet as the left hand side came out smelling of roses. The wind dropped on the run with both leading boats gybing in search of more pressure, the rest of the fleet continuing on starboard out of the tide (which was now on its way out). At the leeward mark, Glen & Ed managed to maintain their lead, but Archie & Ian and Andy Fitzgerald & Rich Dobson moved into 2nd and 3rdchasing the leading boat. One more quick lap followed with now a more stable breeze, allowing Glen & Ed to take the win, with Andy and Rich just missing out on the last beat to take 2nd and Pete & Hugh in 3rd.

Race 3

A quick turnaround from the race committee led to race 3, and off the start the fleet were pleasantly surprised to find the wind had increased to allow for full power sailing, with all teams twin wiring and having to depower slightly. Glen & Ed continued to show their form and kept the lead from start to finish.

Race 4

A very pin-biased line caused nearly the entire fleet to opt for a port tack start, other than Pete & Hugh who cruised in on starboard to cause trouble for the two pin boats. Andy & Rob and Andy & Rich both had to pull the trigger early to avoid a crash and so, along with Rich & Alex, had to go back and found themselves right at the back of the fleet in catch-up mode. Fortunately for them, at the windward mark, Archie & Ian had a slow hoist and did their best team racing impression to compress the whole fleet behind Glen & Ed who extended away to a decent lead. After some close racing, Glen & Ed took the win, followed by Archie & Ian then Pete & Hugh.

Race 5

For the final race of the day the breeze stayed up, for the fleet to enjoy another race in perfect conditions. Archie & Ian started well, and led around the first mark, followed by Glen & Ed and Andy & Rich. Archie and Ian took the win, followed by Andy & Rob, then Glen & Ed.

After the 5 races Glen & Ed were clear in front, with only a few points separating 2nd - 4th. it turned out that Archie and Ian had not registered for the event so their results were not counted, meaning that Andy & Rob took 2nd with Andy & Rich in 3rd.

Storm Alex finally did it's worst on Sunday and racing was abandoned due to the strong winds. Congratulations to Glen & Ed for taking the win and thanks to the race team, headed by Roddie Bridge, for running a great day's racing on the Saturday.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stScrumpet1553Glen TruswellEdward FitzGerald1111‑24
2ndBubble1569Andy ShawRobert Struckett2‑434110
3rdThink Pink1566Andy FitzGeraldRich Dobson‑4223310
4thKatana1539Peter BromleyHugh Maclean3352‑813
5thDragon1558Robin PascalMartin Pascal‑7545418
6thTBN1489Richard BoneAlex Smith666(DNF)624
7thJeff1497Jock CalvertEmily Covell5‑887525
8thMagic Roundabout1554Peter CrockfordHarry Kennedy‑8776727
9thEagle 21531Andrew PenmanChris Watson(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC40

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