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2020 ILCA 6/Radial Masters Nationals at Pevensey Bay Sailing Club

by Niall Peelo 14 Oct 10:31 BST 10-11 October 2020

After the season sailing in the UK has had this year, it was a relief to arrive at the gate of Pevensey Bay Sailing Club on the Saturday morning and see other competitors arriving and a host of Covid compliant members ready to welcome us for the 2020 Nationals.

The event had been rescheduled several times, the venue had been changed, there were limits to the numbers that could enter and the boats are now called something different to last year. Some competitors were unable to travel due to various government restrictions, but thanks to great organisation from both UKLA and Pevensey Bay Sailing Club an event was happening.

22 ILCA 6/Radial sailors were entered - a much lower number than previous years, but understandable in these strange times. It was great to catch up with old friends that we had not seen in some cases since last year due to the lack of events this year, and generally everyone was enthusiastic and excited to finally be able to compete in an open event.

We were told to expect a different format to comply with government guidelines, and things like on line registration, pre assigned boat spaces, socially distant briefings and controlled launching and recovery became the new normal for the weekend.

On the water there was a nice westerly breeze building and apart from lower than usual Nationals temperatures the scene was set for what should be a great days sailing. The wind was in the region of 15-20kts and shifting enough to keep sailors on their toes. At the first start everyone got away first time, and as we hiked hard off the start it dawned on many that after such a lack of sailing this year, the legs and backs were not quite ready for the hiking required. After about one minute, I wished I had spent lockdown on a hiking bench, and not on the sofa watching Netflix!

At the first mark it was neck and neck between Ben Elvin (SBSC) and Jimmy Carter (Lancing) which lead us onto a reach that had big wind and waves. Personally it was this blast downwind that reminded me what we had all missed this year (as well as being relieved to have finished hiking upwind). As the race progressed Ben Elvin established a comfortable lead, Ross Harvey HISC (sailing his first Masters event) managed to work his way to second place with Jimmy holding onto a solid third.

Race 2 saw the wind build slightly more, and the shifts became more pronounced, but this didn't stop Ben leading the way followed again by Ross and Jimmy, After race 2 the wind had shifted considerably, so there was a break while the course was reset which was convenient as it also allowed a rain shower to pass through thereby avoiding the situation where we actually had to race in the rain! The temperature did cool slightly reminding us all that October does not present the same warm conditions the original event would have had in July.

Race 3 got under way again with a clean start, and this time Ross showed us what Moth sailors can do, and won the race followed by Ben with Terry Scutcher (Shotley SC) in 3rd and Rob Cage (Thames) in 4th. Going ashore took slightly longer than normal, as due to covid guidelines, there were limits to the number of people on the beach, but all was brilliantly organised by the helpers from the club.

Once ashore there was free beer on offer kindly donated by Duncan Hepplewhite from sailingfast.co.uk, a new sponsor for 2020. Sailingfast are suppliers of new ILCA legal boats, built by Ovington Boats in the UK, as well as all kit and spares for the boat, however the free drinks on offer were the only thing I could think of and topped off a great day for all competitors.

The only complaints I heard after Saturday was that it was too cold. Usually cold is not a problem for sailors, but not being able to use changing rooms and having to change by your car does highlight how cold it is in the UK in October.

Saturday night at any Masters event is traditionally the social evening, with food, drink and entertainment at the club, however again due to restrictions this was not possible this year, however PBSC not wanting to miss such an occasion organised Neil Peters (ILCA 7 sailor, round Britain sailor and PBSC member) to run a virtual entertainment evening on Zoom. This culminated with a draw for prizes (as it was felt a normal prize-giving was not possible with covid guidelines). The prizes were donated by sailingfast.co.uk and southeastsailboats.co.uk (Southeastsailboats supply ropes, rigging, sails, masts and every possible gadget you could need for the boats).

Sunday dawned with a crisp cool morning but with sunshine, and a Northerly breeze. A northerly breeze means very shifty conditions, so it was probably just as well Covid stopped some of us enjoying too many drinks the night before!

Strong tides lead to general recalls, but once away Ross Harvey again lead to the finish with Sergio Messina (BBSC) following in 2nd place.

Race 3 saw Ben leading again with Jimmy in 2nd and Gareth Edwards (QMSC) in 3rd which meant for the overall title it was down to the last race between Ben and Ross and for the different age categories many of the podium places were also to be decided on the last race.

The race was held in challenging patchy shifty conditions, and whoever played it correctly deserved the titles they would win.

In the end Ben recorded another win, followed by Rob and Ross with Max Hunt (Whitstable) who had been mixing near the top over the weekend in 4th.

Once ashore the results of the individual categories were announced. They were as follows:

  • Apprentice Master - Ben Elvin (SBSC)
  • Master - Niall Peelo (QMSC/WWSC)
  • Grand Master - Rob Cage (Thames SC)
  • Great Grand Master - John Reay (RYA)
  • Legend - Kevin Pearson (Thames SC)
  • Female Masters - Alison Stevens (QMSC)

Thanks to PBSC for running a superb event. Despite all the restrictions they still managed to welcome us with their usual friendliness. We did miss the social side of the event that the club has to offer, but the good news is they get another chance to welcome us again in 2021 for the ILCA Masters Nationals scheduled for July, and we also hope to see the faces who could not make this event returning to competitions in 2021.

Many thanks also to the event sponsors:

Sailingfast - Duncan brings his battle buss down from Scotland for most the big events, which is so ridiculously well equipped, you could replace everything on your boat. He also supplied many of the prizes for the draw on Saturday evening. Check out sailingfast.co.uk

SouthEast Sailboats - Max brings bespoke quality at affordable prices to the class. His passion for detail has made his products a must have for anyone who wants quality. He also supplied many great prizes for the event. See southeastsailboats.co.uk

Ovington Boats - Chris Turner lives dinghies and has been a significance presence in the boat building world for decades. OB are now the official UK builders of ILCAs. A very smart new Ovington ILCA Dinghy was on display at the Masters event. Visit www.ovingtonboats.com

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCategoryClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st214268Ben ELVINAMStokes Bay SC112‑3116
2nd193480Ross HARVEYAHISC2211‑539
3rd213641Rob CAGEGMThames SC‑55454220
4th213707Jimmy CARTERGMLSC33‑13102826
5th162576Terry SCUTCHERGMShotley SC6437‑9929
6th213516Niall PEELOMWWSC49596‑1133
7th214300Max HUNTGMWhitstable10678‑17435
8th197693Sergio MESSINAGMBough Beech SC713‑16210537
9th215230Gareth EDWARDSGMQueen Mary9‑1610113639
10th216647Matthew KNIGHTMDBSC879611(RET)41
11th180664Martyn JONESMHISC‑14106147744
12th206183Ian FITZGERALDAMPort Edgar YC15111148‑1749
13th200510Ian GREGORYMFrensham Pond‑1281212121054
14th177861Alison STEVENSAMQMSC13128‑16151361
15th198189Andy CHAPMANGMNetley11141413‑201264
16th141098Vittorio BOCCOLINIAMSeafarers SC‑17171515141677
17th198964John REAYGGMRYA1618‑1919131480
18th203323Kevin PEARSONLEGENDThames SC‑21151718161581
19th201709Robert DRAPERGMStokes Bay SC‑19191817181890
20th203285Mark FRYERMEastbourne Sovereign1822(RET)20191998
21st180834Tom FLINTHAMLEGENDFrensham Pond SC‑222121212120104
22nd210779John MASTERSGGMChipstead SC202020(DNC)DNCDNC106

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