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GP14 Southern Area Championships at Maylandsea Bay Sailing Club

by David Innes 10 Jun 2022 10:08 BST 28-29 May 2022
Maylandsea Bay SC treats visitors to a beautiful sunset © Neil Raven

What a tremendous weekend! Thirteen boats congregated at Maylandsea Bay SC including 12448 bought by local Mark Harman the day before.

Maylandsea Bay SC lies on Lawling Creek on the River Blackwater in Essex and with a varied forecast from 4 to 20 knots and Spring tides the event was always going to be fun and challenging! With nine visitors from as far away as Brixham and Bristol joining two local teams five races were scheduled with two on Saturday and three on the Sunday where there was a slightly larger tidal window.

Race One kicked us off with light conditions and a beat out of Lawling Creek against the flooding tide. Tidal strategy was an immediate priority with Race Officer Paul Gray setting a first course out to Osea Island with three crossings of the main fairway. Strategy was all!

James Ward & Richard Whitehill from Papercourt SC were first round the windward mark going left out of Lawling Creek while the majority stuck to the right. Significant gains were made by those who delayed crossing back to the eastern shore with Steve Cooper & Lucy Barrie from Welsh Harp SC second, followed by Maurice Cleal & Yossi (Wembley/Welsh Harp) and Keith Street & Denise Vale also from Welsh Harp.

Ward & Whitehill took race one from Cooper & Barrie with David Innes & John McGuinness from Frensham coming through to take third.

Race Two was a long affair with the fleet set a large triangle between Osea and Mundon Point and then a race back to the club line as the ebb began to flow. Cleal & Yossi took the windward mark from Charlie Cotter & Sue Tomkins (Welsh Harp) and extended their lead to take the bullet with an excited Cotter & Tomkins taking the second from the chasing pack of Innes & McGuinness, Street & Vale, Andy Wadsworth & Cathy Howard (Brixham/ Welsh Harp) with Matt Hall & Kat Farnell-Watson from Frensham finishing sixth.

The club laid on a fantastic evening in their two-storied clubhouse with sunset views over the Blackwater. With an excellent dinner, Champions league football, pool, table tennis, and table football to keep us entertained the GP14 sailors seemed close to drinking the bar dry. Probably largely thanks to Maylandsea's encouragement of on-site camping for the weekend and extraordinarily cheap alcohol!

With no obvious leader overnight with both race winners carrying a significant discard there was all to play for.

With a northerly forecast of 8 to 13 knots with expected rains the race officer again set a start from Lawling Creek with Innes & McGuinness initially leading after a port tack start at the pin end before Cooper & Barrie got to the windward mark first. Again it seemed to pay to delay crossing the stream with Cleal & Yossi and Ward & Whitehill coming through at the second mark.

With the wind dropping as the threatened rain approached the race finished with Cooper & Barrie taking the win from Innes & McGuinness, Ward & Whitehill and Cleal & Yossi. After the leading group finished confusion kicked in with Street & Vale and Wadsworth & Howard missing the line causing some chaos to the following boats.

As Race 4 started the fleet was hit by a line squall and strengthening wind under the rain clouds. The race officer set a long triangular course in the Blackwater and Cheal & Yossi grabbed an early lead which they held until the end followed by Street & Vale, Wadsworth & Howard and Andy Shrimpton & Roger Jeffs from Welsh Harp who were clearly enjoying the conditions. Fifth was Cooper & Barrie with local team Dean Saxton & Mark Harman from Maylandsea Bay SC coming sixth.

With the wind now at 15 knots with heavy gusts Cleal & Yossi sealed the deal with an impressive win in race 5, followed by Cooper & Barrie, with Tomasz Szakola & Lucy Street from Welsh Harp taking third, as the whole fleet enjoyed an exciting three-sail plane of over 2 miles to the finish line.

Overall Results:

PosHelm and CrewClubPts
1stMaurice Cheal and YossiWembley SC/Welsh Harp SC7
2ndSteve Cooper and Lucy BarrieWelsh Harp SC10
3rd David Innes and John McGuinnessFrensham Pond SC15
4thJames Ward and Richard WhitehillPapercourt SC17
5th Keith Street and Denise ValeWelsh Harp SC17
6thAndy Wadsworth and Cathy HowardBrixham YC/Welsh Harp SC19
7thTomasz Szakola and Lucy StreetWelsh Harp SC21
8thDean Saxton and Mark HarmanMaylandsea Bay SC31
9thCharlie Cotter and Sue TomkinsWelsh Harp SC32
10thJamie Isles and Michal SzadyWelsh Harp SC33
11thAndy Shrimpton and Roger JeffsWelsh Harp SC34
12thMatthew Hall and Kat Farnell‑WatsonFrensham Pond SC42
13th Vicky and Richard BroomfieldMaylandsea Bay SC46

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