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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Handicap and Challenger open meeting at Ogston Sailing Club

by Marion Edwards 6 Oct 2021 14:41 BST 2-3 October 2021
Challengers at the Ogston open meeting © Marion Edwards

Sailors arriving at Ogston Sailing Club for the Handicap and Challenger Open had little idea of what to expect in terms of wind as the weather forecasts had been changing all week. In the event, it was a game of two halves with a very soggy, light wind Saturday and a very blustery Sunday.

There were ten Challengers in the eighteen boat fleet and, unusually for the event, all were singlehanders. There were eight visiting Challenger sailors, two of whom had made the long journey from Scotland while six had just nipped up the road from Rutland. Two of the latter had kindly been loaned Ogston Challengers.

Boats were rigged and sails hoisted in the dry but the rain came as the boats were launched in a light south easterly wind. The wind direction meant that racing could be viewed from the clubhouse (a definite advantage for the shore crew as the rain continued to fall).

The Challengers had the first start. The rest of the fleet started 2 minutes later and had the disadvantage of having to sail through the Challengers to reach clear air.

In Race 1 Val Millward (312) and Richard Johnson (4) led off the start. Richard took an early lead but Val found the better way up the beat and led by the windward mark. Val was able to extend as Richard, Nick Bett (261), David Driffill (275) and Graham Hall (270) fought for second place which Graham had claimed by the leeward mark. Val and Graham held their positions until the end but were inevitably overtaken by some of the faster boats.

The race was won by David Tiney in his K1 with the Laser of Gary Knott coming second. Val was first Challenger in fifth. Unfortunately Mark Winch (6) missed the gate on the first lap (an error he was not allowed to forget!) and retired.

The fleet then returned to shore for an excellent lunch (as is usual at Ogston). There was much grumbling about how cold it was.

After lunch the boats were launched in the strongest wind of the day but it calmed down before the start of Race 2. The usual suspects (Richard, Nick, Val, Graham and David) led up the beat but again Val grabbed the lead before being overhauled by the faster boats. The wind dropped throughout the race which did not help the Challengers. John Mellors took 1st (K1) and David Tiney (2nd) and Val was first Challenger down in seventh.

Race 3 used a slightly shorter course which should have been a cue for the wind to increase, but it didn't. Again Val took the lead pursued by Graham. The reach to the leeward mark was little more than a (painful) drift so it was rather inadvisable for six Challengers to attempt in a huddle! It was particularly painful for Stephen Laycock (237) as he touched Richard and had to struggle through a penalty turn which left him conclusively in last place.

Thankfully on rounding the leeward mark it was possible to hook into a band of breeze for the upwind leg. Val, Graham and one of the Solos had a brief tussle at the windward mark but Val prevailed. The race officer took pity on the fleet and decided to finish at the mark closest to the shore. Graham rounded the final mark way behind Val but by a combination of good luck and good tactics (more the former) managed to creep past Val to be first Challenger by 2m. The race was won by Gary Knott, John Mellors was second and Graham seventh.

At the end of the day the top three were Gary Knott, John Mellors and David Tiney (all on equal points and equal on countback!). Not surprising Val was lead Challenger but down in fifth.

Much of the fleet remained at the club for an excellent evening meal.

On Sunday morning the weather forecasts were confidently predicting no rain (wrong) but much stronger winds (right). At the briefing the race officer said that the wind was south westerly F3 but likely to build to F4 possibly F5. Racing was to take place "round the corner" so visible from the race hut but not the clubhouse. The club was also hosting a one day open meeting for the Comets and they were to start after the handicap boats.

The Challengers were launched in a reasonable breeze and it turned into real Challenger weather with F5 gusts. Gillian Bates (3) was forced to return for a brief pit stop as her main halyard was slipping. Thankfully David Newton was on hand and his "bodge" held for both races.

Unfortunately Challenger weather is not Comet weather. Not long after the start Comets began to reappear on the shore as the gusts proved to be rather too much for some of them, especially if they hadn't reefed!

In race 4 Richard was first to the windward mark but both Val and Graham overtook him on first reach. This time the Challengers were not overtaken by the K1s and they started to lap the slower boats (particularly those who had capsized). Steve Lee (301) witnessed what he thought was a near capsize by Stephen and was close enough to shout to check he was OK. He was, apart from having lost his hat (adding to the one he left in Rutland a few weeks ago!). Challengers, led by Val, took the top four places with John Mellors in his K1 fifth. As the boats finished they came back round the corner seeking shelter.

There was a delay before Race 5 while a capsized Comet was recovered. The gusts were also increasing in strength. When the race started, Richard was again first to the windward mark, however, Graham overtook him on first reach and held it to the finish. David finally cemented the bond with his new boat Evelyn and took second. The top five boats were Challengers with John Mellors managing, and promptly discarding, sixth. By sticking the race out Mark and Stephen Thomas Bate (233) both achieved their best result to move them substantially up the leaderboard.

As the boats returned the shore the un-forecast rain started to fall and continued intermittently throughout lunch, packing the boats up and prize-giving. We could have done without it.

Once the final results had been calculated it was a one-two for the K1s of John Mellors and David Tiney with Val taking third overall. Val was also presented with the Harry Fisher Shield as first Challenger with Graham second (fourth overall) and David third (seventh overall).

All in all a very successful event with conditions which favoured the Challengers on Sunday and the rest of the fleet on Saturday, so it all balanced itself out. Thanks are due to Ogston Sailing Club, particularly the race officers Andy and Janet Gomm, Chris Keats-Hannan and David Driffill for organising the event, the galley team, safety crews and all those who helped launch and recover the Challengers.

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stK1152John MellorsOgston Sailing Club3125‑611
2ndK1150David TineyOgston Sailing Club123‑7713
3rdChallenger312Val MillwardRutland Sailing Club57‑81316
4thChallenger270Graham HallRutland Sailing Club7‑1072117
5thSolo4528Simon LawOgston Sailing Club4448(RET)20
6thLaser/ILCA 7216380Gary KnottOgston Sailing Club231(DNC)DNC25
7thChallenger275David DriffillOgston Sailing Club10‑12104226
8thChallenger261Nick BettRutland Sailing Club99‑126428
9thChallenger4Richard JohnsonRutland Sailing Club1111‑133530
10thSolo5163Ken MackenzieOgston Sailing Club855(DNC)DNC37
11thChallenger6Mark WinchOgston Sailing Club(RET)151112846
12thChallenger233Stephen Thomas BateAnnandale Sailing Club14‑161410947
13thLaser Radial/ILCA 6189200Mike HeapOgston Sailing Club66(RET)DNCDNC50
14thComet895Chris FowlerOgston Sailing Club1589(DNC)DNC51
15thComet190Lee PurslowOgston Sailing Club13146(DNC)DNC52
16thChallenger237Stephen LaycockLoch Ken16‑1715111052
17thChallenger301Steve LeeRutland Sailability1213(DNC)9RET53
18thChallenger3Gillian BatesOgston Sailing Club(RET)DNCDNC131162

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