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Hadron H2 Open at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Keith Callaghan 25 Jul 21:17 BST 24-25 July 2021
Close racing during the Hadron H2 Open at Itchenor © Keith Callaghan

The third major event in the H2 2021 calendar took place at Itchenor SC over the weekend of 24-25 July, with a practice day held on the preceding Friday. Fourteen boats attended the event, which was held in light winds, or none at all, accompanied by torrential downpours at times - not ideal conditions!

Saturday was by far the better day, with a dull start brightening to a sunny afternoon but with light and fickle winds. The course was a couple of miles downstream from the club and the competitors took some time to conquer the incoming tide. Three races were scheduled and there was generally sufficient wind to keep the boats moving well, but only just.

The class allows the plywood multi-chine version of the H2 - appropriately named H1 - to sail with them. Generally, these boats are at a disadvantage as they are significantly heavier than the carbon composite H2 but they do have a little more sail area to compensate. These characteristics give it an advantage in light airs and Julian Hines, in his H1, found himself with a 100 metre lead in the first race, also partly due to a superb new sail engineered by Charlie Cumbley of North Sails. Unfortunately, Jules was so unprepared for this eventuality that he had not memorised the course, and headed for the wrong mark, turning his lead into a 100 metre deficit. H2 ace Richard Leftley, in his new boat, took full advantage of Julian's mistake but was closely followed by local sailor Richard Bullock, sailing an H2 for the first time. Third place went to Roger Millett, who also knows these waters well.

Race 2 turned into a very close dual between class chairman Dave Barker and Richard Leftley, with hardly a boat length separating the two throughout the race. Dave led at the last mark but made the fatal error of not covering his opponent up the last beat. And Richard made the same error by not covering David Maclean, another local, who crept inshore of both to steal the winning gun, with Richard second and a disappointed Dave third.

Race 3 was sailed in a little more breeze and Richard dominated once again. He has practised hard and regularly, often against maestro Nick Craig, and as Nick is unlikely to attend the H2 Nationals in September Richard, a close runner-up last year, is firm favourite for the title. However, it is very noticeable that the quality of the competition in the fleet is continuing to improve, with very close racing over the weekend. Richard Le Mare, for example, has given Richard Leftley something to think about when the wind is up.

Racing over, the fleet had to negotiate the now fast ebbing tide to struggle back to the club.

The forecast for Sunday was abysmal, with heavy rain and virtually no wind. But this abysmal forecast proved optimistic and the three scheduled races were reduced to one, in order to be able to get back to the clubhouse before the ebb set in. Adrian Williams, who had not shone on the previous day, surprised everyone, and probably himself, by winning this drifter. But Richard Leftley was second, putting a stamp on his supremacy over this weekend. Aero sailor Richard Bullock did extremely well to finish second over all in his very first outing in a borrowed H2, while third placed Roger Millett continues to improve.

The National Championships are now only five weeks away, and so attention now turns to Herne Bay SC, who will welcome us back after a very successful event in 2018. We are expecting a big turnout at this very hospitable club.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st145Richard LeftleyBurghfield SC1‑2124
2nd104Richard BullockItchenor SC244DNC10
3rd131Roger MillettChichester YC3‑115513
4th102Ian LittleThorpe Bay SC45‑7413
5th111David MacleanItchenor SC5110DNC16
6th109Richard Le MareCastle Cove SC872DNC17
7th146Andrew McGawBurghfield SC693DNC18
8th113Dave BarkerDraycote Water SC938DNC20
9th21Julian HinesNetley SC‑12611320
10th114Adrian WilliamsWarsash SC‑11109120
11th144Nigel CowanItchenor SC10136DNC29
12th107Mark WippellItchenor SC13812DNC33
13th122Roger Ewart‑SmithItchenor SC712DNCDNC34
14th101Craig Turner DNCDNCDNCDNC45

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