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International Canoes at the Tata Steel Sailing Club Regatta

by Chris Hampe 13 Oct 2021 06:07 BST 9-10 October 2021
International Canoes at the Tata Steel Sailing Club Regatta © Chris Hampe

With a buzz of excitement from the International Canoe Facebook Page, eight skippers arrived at Tata Steel Sailing Club to join the club for their 2021 regatta.

Unfortunately, on Saturday the smoke from the nearby Port Talbot steelworks continued to rise straight up from the plant that dominates the northern skyline from Eglwys Nunydd reservoir.

With all racing cancelled shortly after lunch the plans moved on to the evening's entertainment. Chef Bowen provided a feast alfresco, under the sailing clubs awning, and the fleet drank late through the night. Some sailors also managed to find time to practice their capsize skills from the safety of the dinner table.

Sunday saw the sunshine arrive, But the breeze was clearly running a little late as only a patchy fickle breeze blow across the reservoir from the Northeast. When racing started it was a case of big shifts, large holes, and an annoying amount of weed all providing obstacles for the canoes to avoid. Andy Gordan was an early casualty of the weed retiring from the race after his centreboard jammed into position as he attempted to clear the offending plantlife. Tony Robertshaw led most of the race, only to be passed by Robin Wood and Steve Clarke late on as the fleet ended up spread out over a large distance mixed in with the handicap fleets. With the wind still late to the party, the race officer very sensible sent everyone back to the club for lunch.

When racing did re-commence on a much shorter course, the wind had begun picking up and the front of the fleet was close for the first few laps with boats falling behind due to the ever-present weed. Tony Robertshaw led the fleet on the final lap only to be passed by Hampe on the final short beat to the finish line. Robin Wood crossed the line in third from Clarke in fourth and Dave Timson in fifth after being the early leader.

The third and final race saw the best breeze of the weekend and the sailors were fully powered up perched on the ends of the sliding seats upwind and the boats now planning on the two reaching legs of the trapezoid course. There was however much confusion at the start and with several boats returning back top the start the ocs flag stubbornly continued to fly. Out front and Robertshaw's large lead was destroyed with a spectator friendly series of capsizes directly in front of the clubhouse. This allowed Robin Wood to extend away as he has done so many times before. The pack continued to fight it out with Dave Timson, Andy Gordan and Steve Clarke all fighting for the lower positions amongst themselves were unable to hold Robertshaw back has he charged back through the fleet.

The moment of truth came after an hour of racing with a deafening silence as Robin Wood crossed through the finish line only to then hear the finishing horn behind him as Tony Robertshaw's comeback allowed him to take the race and regatta win. Hampe finished close in second with quite a gap then back to Clarke, Gordan and Dave Timson.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st329 Tony RobertshawWeston SC3216
2nd340Monkeys UncleChris HampeMt Batten SC6129
3rd338Money4NuffinSteve ClarkeLlandegfedd SC2439
4th344Black BettyRobin woodTenby SC13OCS12
5th339BloodhoundDave TimsonLlandegfedd SC55515
6th343BlunderbussPhil AllenChichester YC46DNC18
7th347FlashAndy GordanStokes Bay SCRET7419
8th348 Steve BowenAberaeron SCRETDNCDNC24

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