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K1 Southern Area Championship at Datchet Water Sailing Club

by Hilly King 12 Jul 2022 12:28 BST 9-10 July 2022
Hilly King wins the K1 Southerns at Datchet Water © Paula LeSeelleur

The K1 Southern Area Championships were held over the weekend of 9th/10th July at Datchet Water Sailing Club. Datchet is a magnificent piece of water, which has the most wonderful views of Windsor Castle, the long walk and Copper Horse all made famous by the Queen's recent jubilee celebrations and steeped in history.

The other side of the reservoir is dominated by Heathrow Airport creating its own microclimate especially when conditions are hot. The weather was definitely hot and sun cream, hats and water were all taken onto the water where Race Officer Tristan Becket would be tested to the full with the light to moderate breeze.

The format was changed this year to incorporate three sprint races into the competition and these sprint races would not only be a stand alone mini series, but also counted as one of the results towards the overall Championship results.

The travellers from Frensham Pond, Tewkesbury, and Burton were joined by the local sailors for the three fifteen minute races which were great fun, all exceptionally close and produced three different winners.

Hilly King (Frensham) won the first race with Ian Duke (Datchet) second and Geoff King (Tewksbury) third. The second race was won by Graham Butler (Frensham) with Hilly second and Ian third. The last sprint race was won by Mike Becket (Datchet) with Ian second and Hilly third.

This gave the mini series to Hilly with Ian second and Geoff third.

With the wind swinging as it filled in, Race Officer Tristan rightly held the fleet until a stable breeze was established. The first beat was very close with four boats all arriving together at the windward mark, after rounding the first mark Ian then Graham and Hilly took turns at leading the fleet around the three lap course, however a major shift at the last mark resulted in an unbelievably close finish with Graham taking the win, closely followed by Ian and a fast finishing Geoff.

The next race was sailed in conditions which varied from decent planes to windless patches. Ian and Hilly broke clear of the fleet and looked comfortable however Jeremy Hudson (Frensham) was keeping in pressure and catching fast. The last lap was sailed in the most challenging conditions but Ian stretched his lead and won followed by Jeremy who just pipped Hilly on the line.

With the forecast looking like less wind on the Sunday it was decided that with a reasonable breeze still over the reservoir a further race would be sailed to ensure a series was completed. This time Jeremy,Ian and Geoff took the shifts up the centre of the sailing area whilst Hilly went far right hoping that the wind would increase from that direction. At the windward mark it was again close with Ian and Hilly in the lead with the fleet close behind. Over the next couple of laps the lead changed numerous times but the final drama was saved to the end with a huge wind shift on the line which Jeremy took full advantage of to win with Ian second and Hilly third. Graham somehow stayed in his boat despite being up to his shoulders in water.

Sunday dawned with bright sunshine and the wind gods had been kind as a light breeze filled the reservoir. The shifts made it difficult to decide the correct way up the course, but pressure here was key and reacting to where the slightly darker patches were filling in from. Hilly and Ian finished within half a boat length of each other, Hilly just taking the win followed in third by Jeremy. A patient fleet waited together with our brilliant race crews, giving out water to those who were in need of hydration until the breeze returned from a more Westerly direction. This was to change back and the fleet got away cleanly and Hilly together with Ian, Jeremy and Geoff all had a chance to round first. It was Hilly who established a lead which he was to hold to until the last off wind leg where the wind disappeared completely. Jeremy ghosted up alongside Hilly and even at one point took the lead. Hilly decided that the land side of the course would possibly give more pressure and so it proved, Hilly winning with Jeremy second and Ian Klyne (Datchet) third.

The Overall winner and Southern Area Champion is Hilly, Ian came second and Jeremy third.

All agreed the sailing area was fabulous and a great venue for the K1 Inland National Championships to be held in March 2023. Look forward to seeing everyone then.

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