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Enterprise Midland Area Championship at Middle Nene Sailing Club

by Paul Young 19 Apr 05:55 BST 9-10 April 2022
Close racing during the Enterprise Midland Area Championship at Middle Nene © Wilf Kunze

This event, the second in the Midland Area Double Chine Series, was also part of the National Circuit Series. Middle Nene Sailing Club in Northamptonshire welcomed visitors from as far as Lyme Regis and Edinburgh over the weekend of 9th /10th April.

The weather was dry and sunny for most of the time with the wind of varying strengths and direction blowing across the lake from the west. Occasional showers provided fantastic rainbows.

The first race sailed in gusty conditions saw locals Jane and Nick Scutt making full use of an advantageous wind shift and rounding the windward mark first. On the second lap Jane and Nick's luck ran out and saw them taking an unfortunate swim at the gybe mark allowing Phil and Catriona Bevan (Lyme Regis SC) to take the lead, which they held to the finish.

Jane and Nick recovered quickly to finish second with Scottish visitors Charles and Alison Morrish (St Marys Loch SC) third.

After a short break for a jacket potato lunch the second race took place on a new course.

Local hero Matt Yallop crewed by Andy Connellan had an amazing start and rounded the windward mark first followed by Charles and Alison. Jane and Nick applied the pressure downwind and moved into the lead with Phil and Catriona chasing them. Later during the second lap Jane and Nick capsized at the leeward mark when hit by a gust, allowing Phil and Catriona to take the lead. Charles and Alison finished second and Jane and Nick third.

The third race was sailed back-to-back, once again Matt and Andy had another amazing start and port tacked the fleet, however it was Jane and Nick who rounded the windward mark first, with Phil and Catriona close behind. Paul Young crewed by Jan Kimber (Midland SC) were third.

On the third leg the wind dropped, the volunteers on the committee boat placing bets on which direction it would come from next. Paul and Jan took advantage of this moving up to second. On the second lap Paul and Jan got inside Jane and Nick at a windy gybe mark to take the lead momentarily, unable to locate the next mark quickly as they sped away on a planning reach allowing Jane and Nick to regain the lead. On the final lap Phil and Catriona took the lead to win their third hard fought race of the day. Jane and Nick finished second with Paul and Jan third.

After an excellent evening in the clubhouse with a brilliant three course dinner provided by the volunteer ladies team led by Anne Jarvis. Everyone awoke on Sunday to more sunshine and slightly less wind.

Race four got under way after a slight delay waiting for the wind to settle. Once again Matt and Andy made another amazing start and led at the first mark, from Jane and Nick with Phil and Catriona close behind. As these three leading boats went down the next leg they fell into a hole. Paul and Jan together with last placed Charles and Alison sailed more into the middle of the lake in better wind to catch them, up. All the boats were now very close together, and whilst Matt and Andy retained the lead, positions behind changed constantly.

On a tense final beat Charles and Alison keep their cool and apply some pressure to take the lead just yards from the finish line. Jane and Nick finished a close third with all of the boats finishing in about 30 seconds.

The fifth and final race was sailed back-to-back. After a tight start and first beat Charles and Alison fresh from their win in the previous race led round a very congested starboard handed windward mark. Paul and Jan scraped round in second just ahead of the chaos for third. Doing their 720 penalty turns meant Jane and Nick were now in last place.

As with many of the other races, over the next few laps everything was closely fought with all five boats having a turn at leading at some point. As in the previous race a determined Jane and Nick rose up the order to win the final race following their first mark troubles with Scottish visitors Charles and Alison finishing this race second and Paul and Jan third.

With only one point separating the top three boats and some fantastic racing and social we could have not asked for anything better.

The new Midland area champion helm Phil Bevan thanked both the other competitor's and the volunteers at Middle Nene Sailing Club for a brilliant weekend.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st22439Phil BevanCatriona BevanLyme Regis / Salcombe111‑447
2nd22702Jane ScuttNick ScuttMiddle Nene SC2‑32318
3rd23089Charles MorrishAlison Robertson‑ MorrishSt Marys Loch SC32‑4128
4th2901Paul YoungJan KimberMidland SC.443‑5314
5th22906Matt YallopAndy ConnellanMiddle Nene SC(RET)552517

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