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K1 Inland Championship at Carsington Sailing Club

by Hilly King 25 May 15:39 BST 22-23 May 2021

The K1 National Inland Championship took place over the weekend of 22nd & 23rd May at Carsington Sailing Club. The club, guided skilfully by Alf Hawksworth, ran a fabulous event in challenging conditions and prevailing Covid regulations.

The weather as the boats arrived on the Friday can only be described as distinctly unpleasant, driving rain and severe gusts. Nevertheless three hardy K1 souls braved the conditions to have a practice on the wonderful sailing area.

Saturday dawned and the wind and rain had abated, so 23 eager competitors took to the water to sail three back to back races. After careful course laying by the race officers the first race got under way with Simon Hawkes and Ian Duke pushing each other at the front of the fleet. In close attendance were the always fast Paul Birbeck, Ben Hawkes and Jeff Vander Borght (who was sailing one of the new Ovington made boats). Place changes throughout the competitive fleet were frequent but at the end Simon and Ian had sailed an incorrect course giving the win to Paul, followed by Ben and Jeff.

Race 2 got under way in similar conditions and this time Paul sailed a masterclass leading from the start never to be caught. Simon and Ian closed the gap but Paul already had a good lead so the finishing order was Paul, Simon and Ian.

After a significant wind shift race 3 got under way with Jeff leading the fleet and establishing a comfortable lead. Simon however was not to be denied and caught Jeff on the last beat. The tussle between the two allowed Ben to slip into second, so finishing order this time was Simon, Ben and Jeff. At the end of day one Ben was the overnight leader, although two bullets from Paul looked mighty impressive.

Sunday arrived with a significant increase in wind strength and a forecast for building wind throughout the day. The fleet started the three back to back races knowing that the Championship was wide open with numerous potential winners. We are also a class who celebrate our demographic so age prizes would also be determined by the end of the day.

Race 4 proved to be the barometer for the day with a battle royal between Simon and Paul with Dave Stockton, Jeff and Ian in close attendance. At the finish Simon took the bullet, Paul was second and Dave in third.

Race 5 was almost a mirror of the previous race at the front of the fleet with Simon and Paul showing great consistency and speed. Others were keeping the front runners honest but at the finish it was Simon first followed by Paul and Dave who had never been out of the top five.

The last race had to be postponed as the wind strength increased still further and the committee boat was being blown off station for a while. Once away the fleet enjoyed the lively conditions. The championship was now firmly between Simon and Paul but clearly places throughout the fleet would decided as only one discard was allowed.

At the finish Simon just edged Paul with Ben finishing very fast to take third place. Overall Simon Hawkes was a very worthy champion followed by Paul, Ben, Dave and Jeff. The first four overall are all members of Wimbleball Sailing Club showing a huge depth of talent.

The over 60 years of age category was won by Dave. The over 65 years of age category was won by Jeff and Alf Hawksworth got the biggest cheer winning the over 70 age category.

The K1 is a great boat which handles the range of conditions brilliantly, demonstrated by the close racing throughout the fleet regardless of the conditions. It was also agreed that the new Ovington boats are extremely attractive and of a good build quality. The K1 is in good hands and it was demonstrated the boats are all of a similar speed regardless of age. If you have the ability you will win. Congratulations Simon Hawkes our Inland Champion.

It was great to catch up with old and new faces after a challenging time due to Covid. We look forward to more faces joining us for the open events which are held all over the country.

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