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RYA Winter Match Racing Series 2022 Event 2 at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, Burnham

by British Keelboat Sailing 18 Mar 15:45 GMT 12-13 March 2022
RYA Winter Match Racing Series Round 2 at Burnham © Richard Moxey

Ted Blowers and Team Absolute claimed victory at the second event in the RYA Winter Match Racing Series after mastering the tricky conditions at Burnham-on-Crouch.

The event had eight teams battling it out in 707s at Royal Corinthian Yacht Club over the weekend of 12-13 March 2022, with shifty winds and gusts from the mid-teens to twenties resulting in spinnakers for some but not all races and putting a premium on boat handling.

With a relatively tight space on the river for racing, three-lap windward leeward courses were set instead of the usual two laps, making it hard work for the crews, who also had to keep a look out for mooring buoys, which were either used to advantage or caught out the unwary. A true stadium venue was set for the competitors and spectators watching from the clubhouse.

Ted Blowers and Team Absolute had a lucky break when 2-1 down in the final when opponent Matt Greenfield and his team got hooked on a mooring buoy in the pre-start, enabling Team Absolute to sail away to claim the race win and, subsequently, the title.

Blowers said: "We did get a bit lucky, things do have to go your way, but at the end of the day we didn't wrap a mark all weekend. It was a great event. It's a really tricky venue because of the mooring buoys, the lack of water, the shifty gusty conditions: it's just hectic and it's about always trying to keep your head out the boat and kind of keep forward thinking, which I think is pretty key. As long as you stay out of trouble and do the simple things you're generally in the right place, and then come off the line in a decent place. Burnham's obviously a very challenging area but it certainly makes you a much better sailor which is why it's a great venue. I've really enjoyed it here."

A round robin was completed on day one followed by the semi-finals, which saw Sophie Otter's team frustrated by losing out to Greenfield following a bad gybe on the finish line, while Ellie Cumpsty's team lost out to Blowers, with both semi-finals concluded 2-0.

The play-offs on the Sunday for teams 5th to 8th were won by local Niamh Davies who put in an impressive performance at her first-ever match racing event. As Niamh summed up: "It was loads of fun, everyone was really helpful and we had a great time!"

An exciting finals series then saw incredibly close-quarters boat-on-boat tactics, with teams fighting for every inch. In the petit final Sophie Otter claimed third overall after beating Ellie Cumpsty 2-0.

The final between Blowers and Greenfield then went to five races, with Blowers claiming the first match and Greenfield then putting his team back into contention with two wins, before Blowers took the next two for overall victory, including a dock fight which saw multiple offsetting penalties being eventually won by Blowers.

Greenfield, a returning match racer to whom Ben Ainslie once lost a race at an RYA Match Racing qualifier, said: "Wow - what an awesome weekend! A huge thanks to everyone involved in running a great event and welcoming us back to the match racing scene. The race committee, the umpires, the coaching and the club were all exceptional and there were so many tight races. It was super to see the new teams mixing it up - we'd fully encourage everyone to come and experience what is always a top weekend. We loved it, thank you!"

Full results from the RYA Winter Match Racing 2 event at Burnham can be found here.

Nick Milton, Rear Commodore, added: "The Royal Corinthian Yacht Club were thrilled to be asked to host the winter match racing event, building on previous summer events at the club. While it's no small undertaking for the large team of volunteers, to whom I'm extremely grateful, the chance to see such close racing between super competitive teams was not to be missed, and they didn't disappoint! The opportunity to run the racing right in front of the club gave competitors and members alike ringside seats and the buzz around the club on both days was palpable. With many teams expressing an interest in returning for the summer event in July, we're looking forward to another exciting event."

Next up in the #rockupandrace series is the sold-out Winter Match Racing 3 event at Ullswater Yacht Club in the Lake District in RS21s over the weekend 19-20 March 2022. Match racing returns to the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club 2-3 July for the first of the Summer Qualifiers.

RYA Winter Match Racing offers a warm welcome for both experienced match racers and those who would like to give it a go, with coaching support available for all participants. Find out more about RYA Match Racing and all of this year's events at www.ryamatchracing.co.uk

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