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40 ILCA for a normal Queen Mary Club Race?

by Micky Beckett & Guy Noble 22 Jun 2022 13:42 BST
ILCA 7 racing at Queen Mary © Sam Pearce

Micky Beckett, current ILCA7 European and National Champion, shows the way at the 40 ILCA boat Queen Mary club race. 50 boats from Parkstone and Poole at a Monday Club race, 103 entries for the Masters Nationals and 243 for the Open Nationals at Hayling Island - the class is looking very heathy.

At the recent ILCA7 Master Worlds In Mexico, the GBR sailors, mostly from Queen Mary, were lucky to have Mickey Beckett stay on from his own Worlds a week earlier to offer some expert coaching. He was then persuaded by Chris Ellyatt to come to Queen Mary for Sunday morning club racing. Word of his participation spread quickly resulting in 40 ILCAs on the starting line.

Here's his report with some editor's comments added:

"Having heard so many people wax lyrical about 'the' QM club race I had to come and see it for myself. Feeling just slightly out of my comfort zone in pan-flat water, I started race 1 in the middle of the line and then tried to go up the middle... The wind all but vanished. Then it went right a lot, then it came back for a bit, then it went again, then it went left a bit, then left a whole load more. I thought I could be clever and sneak into the lead by tacking tight onto the starboard lay-line at mark 1, but naively assumed the wind would hold steady for at least 10 seconds to allow me to get around the mark. So, technically, I was the first to arrive at mark 1, however due to a sizeable left shift I was also firmly stopped and attached to the mark as plenty of boats sailed round my outside.

17 year old Dan Fletcher also impaled himself on the mark (editor: technically he got to mark 1 at the same time as the European champion). One very slow 360 later and I was off again, one place behind Ninian Eadie (editor: who is a super legend in the eyes of all QM ILCA sailors as he is 85 years young). This allowed Mark Lyttle to slip around just ahead of David Casale and Mike Matan. A few laps later I had caught up to Mark, though every time I got close to him he seemed to do something very wise and I'd forget to look at the flag on the windward mark, and so he'd be gone again. Eventually I managed to creep past when he kindly forgot to tack on me on the final upwind. Dan steered himself back into 4th place (promoted to 3rd when Mike was recorded as OCS) followed by Marshall King coming through the fleet then Guy Noble, Orlando Gledhill, David and Ninian.

Race 2 began in much more breeze with everyone hiking off the line. I had a drama-free first beat and didn't anchor myself to the windward mark which was nice. The bunch following close behind included again Mark, Marshall and Orlando. Again, Mark sailed out of the chasing bunch to be just behind me, I felt confident I could sail a simple race to stay ahead, however that was over-placed confidence. Every tack I did felt like it was in perfectly the wrong place until I'd lost all of my lead, unashamedly I reduced my strategy to 'go where Mark goes' so I could stay just ahead! Dan sailed through the fleet of record another 3rd, following a close battle and luffing match with Tim Crook, David and Chris Ellyatt. They were followed by Mike Hicks and the other Mike.

The QM race certainly lived up to my expectations, it was huge fun. Thank-you to Chris Ellyatt for kindly lending me a boat to throw around. And I would say an 11/10 is deserved for being an immensely welcoming club for someone sailing there for the first time, thank you."

A class performance from a class guy.

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