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2020 ILCA 7/Laser Masters Nationals at Pevensey Bay Sailing Club

by Orlando Gledhill & Guy Noble 14 Oct 21:00 BST 10-11 October 2020

A great weekend of wonderful racing, for both the experienced Laser/ILCA sailor and the club sailor (over 33 years old) with Orlando Gledhill becoming the new ILCA7 Masters Champion.

Six high quality races were sailed: Westerly 12-16 knots on the Saturday and North North West 10-14 knots on the Sunday. The wind was always offshore, with big oscillating wind shifts and big pressure differences. That, combined with flattish water (particularly on the Sunday) and neap tides meant the pond and sea sailors were evenly matched, so much so that the Champion Club could only be separated on count back, Queen Mary Sailing Club taking the honours by the narrowest of margins from last year's winners, Stokes Bay Sailing Club. Stokes Bay may perhaps regret hosting so many Queen Mary sailors for impromptu Masters training on Fridays through the summer.

Orlando Gledhill (QMSC) and Matt Howard (SBSC) shared the race wins with 3 each and had a good battle over the 6 races, with Orlando winning by a point in the end and becoming 2020 overall Masters National Champion. Orlando and Matt didn't always have it their own way, but managed to come back through the fleet from unpromising positions when they had to. The group nipping at their heels consisted of 3 Grand Masters, 6-time former UK Masters champion Alan Davis, Tony Woods (QMSC) - Tony had finished a great first day in 3rd overall but slipped down to 4th on Sunday and Stuart Hudson (Keyhaven SC) who ended the weekend 5th.

The key to the racing seemed to be starting cleanly (as ever), patience and looking upwind for bands of breeze coming down the course. The beats were long; if you waited long enough, the breeze would generally shift back. It generally paid to 'dig' into the shift and sail into the heading breeze for long enough to get solidly into it and the pressure before tacking. It was important to be aware of the tide on the reaches and runs to avoid being dragged too far off the rhumb line, but in the neaps the tide was a relatively minor factor.

Pevensey Bay Sailing Club achieved the incredible feat of maintaining, in these difficult times, their superlative standards of welcome, efficient, friendly and helpful on-shore event management and professional on-the-water race management. The adaptations to make the event Covid-secure included fully on-line registration, socially-distanced on-line briefing (backed-up by socially-distanced traditional briefing, by loudspeaker) and sailors grouped in bubbles of 6 for rigging, launch and recovery.

Saturday evening saw a Zoom social led by fleet stalwarts Neil Peters and Tony Woods provide many amusing moments - Neil interviewed Oli Greber (Team INEOS America's Cup grinder - complete with his own grinding machine) and Nikki Boniface (Nacra 17 crew with Ben Saxton helm and BST coach). Together they were better than Graham Norton! Despite all the Covid adaptations, this was in every sense a 'proper', indeed, excellent sailing event - a model of its kind.

The UKLA Masters fleet thanks Pevensey Bay Sailing Club Race Officer Richard Holttum and Adrian Peckham who led the shore-side event management and their respective teams very much for an excellent event. A special mention must go out to Tim Law who, on Saturday morning suffered a minor stroke, and was whisked off to hospital - we all wish you a speedy recovery.

Several familiar names return year after year to enjoy superb one design racing but understandably, this year numbers were significantly down. However it was good to see Wembley Sailing Club and King George SC represented along side some of the traditionally well-represented clubs. We missed many of our friends from Bough Beech SC, Weir Wood SC, Parkstone YC, Blackpool & Fleetwood YC, Bosham SC, Chichester YC, Rutland SC, Mounts Bay SC, Lancing SC, Starcross YC, Restronguet SC, RTYC, Whitstable SC and many other great clubs with strong Laser/ILCA fleets - we all wish you well and hope to see you soon. This is an event designed to give the club sailor (over 33 years old) the big regatta experience without being intimidating. We very much look forward to returning to Pevensey Bay SC next year for the traditional 3-day Masters Nationals July 9th 10th & 11th.

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:

  • Orlando Gledhill - Overall Winner and 1st Master
  • Matt Howard - 1st Apprentice Master
  • Alan Davis - 1st Grand Master
  • Michael Hicks - 1st Great Grand Master

PosSail NoHelmCategoryClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st202549Orlando GLEDHILLMQMSC11‑21227
2nd212233Matt HOWARDAMSBSC321‑5118
3rd213699Alan DAVISGMOxford SC‑63323617
4th214610Tony WOODSGMQmsc / Sbsc264‑75320
5th204644Stuart HUDSONGMKYC‑94834726
6th209265Michael HICKSGGMQueen Mary SC855106‑1134
7th213640Andy LE GRICEMWarsash1086‑147435
8th174621Nick HARRISONGMStokes Bay4915‑168541
9th214415Chris ELLYATTGMQueen Mary SC51012‑1311846
10th214265Malcolm COURTSGGMStokes Bay SC127118‑141250
11th135850Neil PETERSGMPevensey Bay SC111176‑191651
12th217429Guy NOBLEGMQueen Mary SC14‑161012101056
13th215376Nicolas VAN TIENENAMStokes Bay7‑201715121566
14th215375Nicolas LIVINGSTONEGGMOxford SC1514‑169151366
15th214073David GODDARDMWeirwood SC13151311‑181466
16th211257David CASALEGMQMSC1617‑184131868
17th212407Bob CUDMOREMParkstone YC17139‑2120968
18th216500Peter SHERWINGGMChew Valley Lake(RET)12141891770
19th211870Joza CICMWembley SC1818‑1917171989
20th209487Alan HOLLOWAYMWembley SC19(RET)2020162095
21st215788David POPPERGMQMSC2019‑21192121100
22nd136077Andy BACCASGMKing George21212222(RET)DNC110
23rd195867Tim LAWGMSalcombe(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC120

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