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Kestrel National Championship 2021 at Royal Tay Yacht Club

by Ken Scott-Brown & Stewart Murdoch 16 Aug 17:48 BST 6-10 August 2021
Kestrel National Championship at Royal Tay © Tich Summers

Sponsors Ian Jarvis Optician, Jean Elvidge, David Anderson Marine, Gillies of Broughty Ferry, Hartley Boats, St Andrew's Brewery and other friends of the class.

18 crews from as far afield as the Blackwater, Southampton, Holyhead and Weymouth travelled to Dundee for the 2021 Kestrel UK Championships organised by the Royal Tay Yacht Club. The weather was predominantly light and variable with a circulating low right over the east of Scotland for the four days of racing, making for very challenging conditions for crews and the Race Team.

Ironically, the practice day provided the best sailing and some excellent drone footage was recorded of Kestrels sailing in sunshine, wind and waves.

The racing was very competitive throughout the fleet and the Kestrels proved themselves very closely matched, with five different winners in the first six races. Boats from the home fleet at RTYC managed at least one podium place on every race. However, father and daughter team of Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch amassed an impressive haul of five wins by the end of the championship to run out worthy winners by a healthy margin of 7 points, followed by three more Tay boats within the next 13 points.

RTYC has become famous for its hospitality and this event did not disappoint. There had been over £4,200 worth of sponsorship secured and this ensured that competitors, the race team, safety team and other volunteers could all be included in various social events and that those who gave up their week to help could be properly acknowledged. Visitors were hugely complementary about the welcome from staff and the host club generally.

The championship dinner held after the final prize-giving will be remembered as one of the best social occasions for many years.

The courses

Summer on the Tay regularly features light easterly winds, and with the regatta being held on flood tides, the courses were all set to be rounded to starboard, with a mixture of Olympic (Triangle, Sausage, Triangle) and Windward/Leeward (with a spreader Mark). Tides would prove decisive for several boats who sailed rather shy of the top mark or miscalculated the position of the spreader mark. There is an old saying 'keep the tide in your pocket'. Many places right across the fleet were won and lost at the top of the course depending whether the top mark lay line was judged correctly to account for the tide. In the same way, a wide-in, narrow out rounding of the leeward mark could see as many places gained as the fleet edged back up the beat against the tide. Locals traditionally hug the shore while beating against the tide, however this week, heading out of the tide often entailed heading out of the wind, and several places were gained by visitors sailing further out in slightly stronger current but fresher wind.

Day 1 - Sunday 7th August

Race 1 - The Draycote Trophy. Winds light easterly. Start off Douglas Terrace. Flood tide helped hold the fleet back and a clean start was achieved. Course was windward/Leeward. With the windward mark, situated near the top of the moorings, but out in the channel, it looked like several members over-stood the mark on the first leg by still beating up the shore with their focus on the boat in front.1st Paul Barnet and Robin Lamb; 2nd Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch and 3rd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley.

Race 2 - Designers Trophy. Similar conditions, slightly more wind, course changed to a triangle/sausage. 1st Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch and 2nd Paul Barnett and Robin Lamb, and 3rd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley. This meant that the top three local boats had a jump on the visitors from the end of day one.

Day 2 - Monday 8th August

Very light and patchy wind. The day started with a series of postponements ashore followed by several attempts to set a course before an abandonment with the fleet sent back ashore. The fleet were asked if they wanted to sail after lunch. With the wind slightly more consistent but still very light the majority wanted to give it a go.

Race 3 - The Kestrel 2000 Trophy. Wind easterly, 8 knots. There were four re-starts off Douglas Terrace before the fleet finally got away. A clean start was essential, as was heading for the shore to cheat the tide on the beat. The course set was windward/leeward. The closeness of the beats was emphasised with the Murdoch's and Worsley's trading places on the beat, led all the way from start to finish by Kestrel 1644. The race finished 1st Ian Hunter and Trevor MacDonald, 2nd Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch and 3rd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley.

Race 4 - The Ashford Bowl. The fleet tested the Race Officers patience to the limit with a further four general recalls. Conditions were very similar with the tide strength building and a light easterly wind. Sailing on the Tay has a particular characteristic for which it is famous or infamous depending on your view. The close beating against up the shore against the sea wall to cheat the tide is not for the faint hearted. This race did not disappoint the spectators! The course was triangle/sausage with spinnaker on both reaches but it was the first beat that really sorted out the final result.

1st Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch, 2nd Paul Gray and Sally Gray, and 3rd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley.

Race 5 - Long Distance Race - Not sailed as a result of lack of wind.

Day 3 - Tuesday 9th August

With the easterly wind still very light and variable it was decided to call a two hour postponement and hold the class AGM before sailing. Key decisions included relaxing the rule governing sails to allow for Mylar mainsails.

Race 6 - The Rock Trophy. After four general recalls the fleet finally got away on a triangle/sausage course. Howie and Danni from Maylandsea started in-shore at the committee boat end and reached the beach first, tacking up the shore in clear air they pulled out a lead which they needed to hold off the challenge from Malcolm and Danielle. The tide was light enough to enable tactical choices in relation to how close to the shore to sail and several places changed through out the fleet. The lifeboat pier wind shadow punishing those who sought shelter from the tide in its lee.

1st Howie Enkel and Danni Tebutt; 2nd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley and 3rd Ian Hunter and Trevor MacDonald.

Race 7 - The Weir Wood Crystal. Boat speed and pointing are essential in a fleet so closely matched. Richard Roberts and John Jones gave a text book example of the benefit of sailing a Kestrel flat and maintaining speed to windward. Having won the first beat they were able to consolidate their lead downwind and keep ahead of Howie and Danni to the finish. At this point the championship still looked very open.

1st Richard Roberts and John Jones, 2nd Howie Enkel and Danni Tebutt, and 3rd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley.

Race 8 - Ernie Miller Trophy. With the wind easing and the tide in full flow, a short windward/leeward course was set. Again the start was critical and in this one, Paul and Robin led at the windward mark closely followed by Stewart and Mhairi. There was a complete shut down of the wind at the end of the first down-wind leg and the whole fleet bunched. As the sky darkened and rain descended the fleet were able to stretch out again but after two rounds the race was shortened in a thunderstorm and sent ashore.

1st Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch, 2nd Paul Barnett and Robin Lamb and 3rd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley.

Day 4 - Wednesday 10th August.

The day started with the now familiar pattern of the fleet being held ashore until the wind settled and the tide eased. The committee boat moved to the west. The forecast south easterly wind filled in and sailing prospects looked good.

Race 9 - The Kestrel barometer. With the last of the tide still ebbing the start was always going to be challenging. Perhaps surprisingly, the fleet got away at the second attempt. The easterly 10knot wind was the freshest on the championship. Stewart and Mhairi were first to get round the windward mark and quickly pulled out a substantial lead on the first triangle, which they never lost. Paul and Robin followed and again were never really challenged by the perusing pack.

1st Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch, 2nd Paul Barnett and Robin Lamb, and 3rd Malcolm and Danielle Worsley.

Race 10 - With the flood now well established the line was re-set with an off-shore bias but not enough to compensate for the inshore advantage of cheating the tide. Stewart and Mhairi started at the committee boat end just clearing the anchor chain, they reached the beach first and pulled out a huge lead on the rest of the fleet which were left cross-tacking in each other's dirty wind up the shore. The wind swung dramatically to the south at the end of the first triangle turning the beat into a fetch and the run into a close reach. It was a procession that the Race Officer ended at what should have been the end of the third beat.

1st Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch and 2nd Paul Barnet and Robin Lamb, 3rd Ian Hunter and Trevor MacDonald.

A huge thanks to all involved in organising the event. We look forward to equally competitive sailing in 2022 in Essex.

Class details can be found at www.kestrel.org.uk or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/kestreldinghy

KOA Special Trophies:

Masters Trophy (highest placed helm over 60) - Stewart Murdoch
Crews race (Fletcher Christian Trophy) - not sailed
Highest placed Mk1/2 Trophy - won by Chris Grice
Highest placed overseas helm - Adam Lomas
Juniors Trophy (highest placed under 21) - Emma Robertson
Best Improver - (between first race and race 10) - Richard Roberts
Handicap Trophy (Best improvement since the last nationals) - Howard Enkel
Wipe Out of the Week - Adam Lomas

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Kestrel nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R6R7R8R9R10Pts
1st1648Stewart MurdochMhairi MurdochRTYC2121‑5511114
2nd1633Paul BarnettRobin LambRTYC1253‑6422221
3rd1638Malcolm WorsleyDannielle WorsleyRTYC333‑52333424
4th1644Ian HunterTrevor MacDonaldRTYC4‑11183645334
5th1574Howie EnkelDanni TebuttMaylandsea Bay SC684‑91266841
6th1647Richard RobertsJohn JonesPort Dinorwic SC‑116644177641
7th408Chris GriceKarin GriceMaylandsea Bay SC75868754‑1050
8th1600Paul GraySally GrayMaylandsea Bay SC5‑1272910810556
9th1632Sandy BremnerKen Scott BrownRTYC899‑127898765
10th1636Alistair HoodCampbell MorrisonRTYC91010‑151091191179
11th1545Steve WorfDavid HearsumCalshot SC1071110111210‑13980
12th1606Angus BroadhurstRory BroadhurstRTYC12413111211 (19 RET) 111589
13th1585Graeme RobertsonEmma‑Joy RobertsonRTYC1317(RET)71615121213105
14th1567Richard Le MareElizabeth AustinCastle Cove SC‑181314161313151412110
15th1553Ian RintoulAmelia McLarenBroxbourne SC15151613151614‑1716120
16th1592Gordon ForbesStuart CombesRTYC141615‑181414161517121
17th1629Chris TaitDuncan McIntoshHelensburgh SC1714121717171316‑18123
18th1634Adam LomasMark HarmanPaphos INTL SC16(RET)17141818RETRET14135

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