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UKLA 2021 ILCA 6 Masters Nationals at Pevensey Bay Sailing Club

by Matthew Knight 13 Jul 2021 16:56 BST 9-11 July 2021

Friday started well, with much anticipation as the 40 ILCA 6 sailors rigged for the first day of the nationals with 3 races scheduled. However, as the fleet set out into a 12 - 15 knot breeze from the south/south east a misty fog set in over the track taking the shine off the morning.

The day would be all about clear air and boat speed, with only small oscillations and pretty constant breeze across the course. With a strong outgoing tide against the wind creating some good waves, the first race got under way, with Ben Elvin (Stokes Bay) picking up where he left off last October at the Nationals, taking the first bullet. Jon Emmett (Weirwood) followed closely in second, with these two showing the fleet how it'd done with terrific speed upwind and down.

During the second race the fog cleared and a sunny afternoon ensued. A clear pattern in the racing developed, with Jon Emmett taking wins in races two and three, with Ben Elvin in second. Ian Jones (Dovestone) was 'best of the rest' with 2 thirds and a fourth, along with Terry Scutcher (Shotley) who scored 2 fourths and a third. Ann Keates (Parkstone) turned in strong performances in the last two races of the day with an 8th and 5th, to be the first Lady, sitting in 8th overall at the end of the day.

The top four had established themselves at the top of the order, with a clear points lead over the fleet. Their ability to get off the start line well, find clear air and having good boat speed and handling in the solid conditions proved a recipe for success.

The last challenge of the day was hitting the beach and getting up the bank across the pebbles to unrig. This was all made manageable by the amazing volunteers at Pevensey Bay Sailing Club. A few post-race beers sponsored by Duncan at Sailing Fast soon had the sailors only remembering the good parts of their days and looking forward to tomorrow.

Saturday dawned with a total contrast in the weather; the sun was replaced by rain and the wind had disappeared. The race officer kept the fleet ashore and decided to abandon racing for the day early in the afternoon as the forecast wasn't promising. The sun did briefly reappear in time for the evening BBQ and competitors were treated to superb hospitality from Pevensey Bay. Nick Harrison gave a speech about the background and aims of the Andrew Simpson Foundation and there was a free raffle with sponsors prizes from South East Sailboats, Vaikobi, Ovington and Sailingfast - a Wildwind holiday was the main prize won by Naill Peelo. Neil Peters 'Stick', legend of the class led the fundraising activities and £1700 was raised for the foundation through the generosity of the competitors.

Sunday the fleet set afloat in a light southerly that completely died, before filling in and settling at 6 - 10 knots with flat water on an incoming tide (for the first 2 races), making lay lines an interesting call. The first race of the day (race four of the regatta) saw the majority of the fleet head right to better pressure, again the same three proving that they are good at sailing the ILCA in all conditions, with Jon Emmett leading the way from Ben Elvin, Ian Jones while Ian Gregory (Frensham Pond) scored a 4th - his first of two for the day. Max Hunt (Whitsable) showed his light air prowess with a 5th, lifting him up the leader board.

The top three prevailed again in race 5, with Ian Jones teaching some of the top end of the fleet a lesson in downwind sailing as he tore through the fleet to get up to third.

Race 6, the last race of the regatta saw the tide change to outgoing, and the breeze softening. There were more holes across the course which made good starts imperative - without being over on the black flag, and clear air imperative. This race saw the biggest shake up in the placings at the first mark, but the cream always rises to the top and this race was to be no exception. Ian Jones took home the win, while Jon Emmet came from well down at the first mark (by his standards) to finish second, again teaching lessons to everyone down the last run by allowing for the tide and not pointing anywhere near the mark, but sailing to it fast in a straight line). Gareth Edwards (Queen Mary) was 3rd, and Ann Keates finished 4th.

Jon Emmett won the regatta overall, with Ben Elvin in second. Ian Jones was 1st Master in third overall, Terry Scutcher was 1st Grand Master in 5th, Ann Keates was 1st Great Grandmaster and 1st Lady in 7th and Mike Kinnear was 1st Legend in 20th. Queen Mary Sailing Club won best Club and also had the most entries with 21 boats over both fleets.

Overall it was a great regatta and based on the chat in the boat park a good learning experience for all. Race officer Paul Jackson and his team put together a long weekend of superbly run races - thank you. Off the water there seemed to be a never ending stream of amazing volunteers from both UKLA and Pevensey Bay Sailing Club - thank you! Thanks also to Alison and the organising committee. Last but not least a big thank you to all our sponsors.

Sponsors of UKLA ILCA Masters:

  • 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. Although based in Scotland they will get anything to you super fast. He also supplied many of the prizes for the draw on Saturday evening. Check out
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Vaikobi - a brand born on the waters of Sydney Harbour, out of a passion for all ocean sports. Across the team, we paddle, Surfski, SUP, Wing Foil and Sail. Sailing has been a passion within the business right from the start. The senior management team at Vaikobi comprise more than fifty years of marine industry and sailing experience between them.
  • Noble Marine - Ian MacManus (the man behind the name) has crafted a very competitive and excellent insurance product for all Laser/ILCA sailors. A very personal service and a extremely useful website help make this the 'go to' company.

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