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Kestrel National Championship 2022 at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

by Chris Grice 5 Sep 2022 11:33 BST 29 August - 1 September 2022
The water level was down, but there was still plenty for great sailing during the Kestrel Nationals 2022 at Yorkshire Dales © Paul Hargreaves Photography

Most competitors had been watching with increasing alarm via WebCam for the preceding weeks as the denizens of Bradford and Leeds, with seemingly reckless abandon, drank, flushed away, or found some other means of draining the reservoir down to its lowest level recorded since opening in 1983. However, what looked horrid from the shore in terms of area lost, turned out to be nowhere near as bad as feared, once on the water.

There was still plenty of water for good size courses, and Race Officer, general MC and indefatigable optimist Pete Robinson dealt smartly with the issues. These were muddy launches (so each days races were run back to back), and an inability to launch the committee boat (so starts were run from the beach with an inner distance mark). Helpfully, all week the wind stayed in the NE quadrant at between 10 and 15 mph, gusting into the 20's at times, which made for great sailing, good length beats, and conditions which really kept competitors on their toes.

With Windward/Leeward courses scheduled for the three races on day one, Race 1 started in 10 -15 mph NNE. At the end of the mile long beat, current National Champions Stewart and Mhairi Murdoch from the Royal Tay, sailing 1648, took the lead. However, with shifty and gusty beats, they could never settle in the lead as both Malcolm and Danielle Worsley, also from the Tay, in 1638, and Howie Enkel and Danni Tebbutt from Maylandsea Bay, in 1574, also took turns at leading until Stewart and Mhairi wrested it back again. They finished in that order. Fourth were Chris Grice and Kenny Hobbs from Maylandsea in 1472, and fifth Ian Hunter and Trevor MacDonald from the Tay in 1644.

Race 2 got under way in similar conditions, with Chris and Kenny just getting round the windward mark first, but with so many in close attendance they were fifth by the end of the run! Howie and Danni emerged from the scrum to pass Stewart and Mhairi under spinnaker and hold on to take the win. Chris and Kenny were third from Malcolm and Danielle with Ian and Trevor fifth.

Race 3 was the last of the day and this time a clear leader emerged at the windward mark - most travelled competitor Larry King and Richard Roberts from Lake Saratoga in New York State in 1647. Howie and Danni eventually got on terms and a race long battle for the lead ensued. However, Larry and Richard were not to be denied and they took the win from Howie and Danni with Malcolm and Danielle getting the better of Chris and Kenny for third. Fifth were Stewart and Mhairi.

Day 2 and with the wind clocking slightly more North, courses for the 3 races were triangle/sausage/triangle. Chris and Kenny rounded the windward mark in Race 4 with a fair gap and this enabled them to sail unopposed to the win. Paul and Sally Gray from Maylandsea in 1600 were second for almost the whole race, holding off attacks from Howie and Danni and Malcolm and Danielle until the latter squeezed by on the last tack for the finish. Howie and Danni were fourth with Stewart and Mhairi fifth.

Race 5 and an easterly shift allowed a longer beat. Stewart and Mhairi lead around the windward mark but Malcolm and Danielle pegged them back and a long struggle for the lead ensued, with Malcolm and Danielle taking their first win of the series, Stewart and Mhairi second, Howie and Danni third, Chris and Kenny fourth, and Paul and Sally fifth.

Race 6, the last of Day 2 and again it was Malcolm and Danielle sparring for the lead with Stewart and Mhairi. They finished in that order. Howie and Danni were somewhat detached in third with Paul and Sally in fourth and Sandy Bremner and Robin Lamb from the Tay in fifth.

Day 3 dawned with that trusty NNE wind still blowing, although a bit drizzly before the sun broke through. A late shift and the pin end paid at the start of Race 7, allowing Ian Rintoul and Richard Antony from Maylandsea in 1553, to port tack the fleet. They were pipped to the first mark by Malcolm and Danielle who went on to the win. Chris and Kenny and Howie and Danni moved into second and third on the run and commenced a race long tussle for second which Howie and Danni won after a port and starboard incident close to the final windward mark resulted in Chris and Kenny doing a 720. Stewart and Mhairi after a shocking first beat, fought through the fleet for fourth, with Ian and Trevor in fifth.

Race 8, the long distance race, took the fleet on a scenic tour of Grimwith Reservoir, via a figure of eight course. It started with an individual recall hoot and flag, but it wasn't until the end of lap 1, having lead all the way, that Malcolm and Danielle learned they had been OCS and duly retired. This left Chris and Kenny in the lead, albeit with almost no kicker, after a block exploded just short of the windward mark. This necessitated a return to a Kestrel upwind sailing technique of yore - pinning the main and pinching like mad in the gusts. As a result they could not get away from Larry and Richard and were very happy when Stewart and Mhairi challenged strongly for second and drew Larry and Richard off in a violent and diversionary luffing match. The race finished with Chris and Kenny first from Larry and Richard, with Stewart and Mhairi third, Howie and Danni fourth and Paul and Sally fifth.

Day 4 and two races left! With Malcolm and Danielle having missed the opportunity to take the title, by recording an OCS in Race 8, any of the top four could, on paper, still win the Championships. The breeze was up in the mid-teens, with gusts into the twenties, so conditions were lively, and more lively still at the windward mark of race 9 as the fleet was heavily bunched and there were some making desperate port tack approaches. After some not insignificant loss of gelcoat and paint, the order sorted itself out with Paul and Sally battling with Howie and Danni for the lead. The latter had no sooner gone into the lead than Paul's mainsheet came undone and off the boom. Worse, Sally's beautiful whipping of the bitter end meant that forcing it back through the mainsheet blocks and re-attaching it took so long that most of the fleet had sailed by before the job was done. Howie and Danni took the win with Malcolm and Danielle clinching the title with second, Larry and Richard in third, Steve Worf and Dave Hearsum from Calshot in 1545 finished fourth, with Chris and Kenny in fifth.

Race 10 and the final race of the series and new champions Malcolm and Danielle emphasized their win by leading all the way, although under continual pressure from Larry and Richard. Chris and Kenny finished third with Howie and Danni in fourth and Steve and Dave fifth.

On the podium, Malcolm and Danielle, with great speed and consistency, were worthy champions. Especially good for Danielle, who could not be in the boat when Malcolm took his other Nationals win in 2019. Howie and Danni, up from fifth in 2021, took second, with Chris and Kenny, sailing another old timer and previous Nationals winner, 1472 Pure Genius, third.

Overall, a terrific championship with great race organization, a friendly club with excellent facilities, and an outstanding catering team. The fleet hopes to return!

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Kestrel nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Long Distance Race (R8)R9R10Pts
1st1638Malcolm WorsleyDanielle WorsleyRoyal Tay YC2(4)32211(OCS)2114
2nd1574Howie EnkelDanni TebbuttMaylandsea Bay SC312(4)332(4)1419
3rd1472Chris GriceKenny HobbsMaylandsea Bay SC43414(13)31(5)323
4th1648Stewart MurdochMhairi MurdochRoyal Tay YC125512(6)36(DNC)25
5th1647Larry KingRichard RobertsSaratoga SC10619(13)(DNC)423237
6th1600Paul GraySally GrayMaylandsea Bay SC7(8)635475(RET)643
7th1545Steven WorfDave HearsumCalshott SC677767(12)(8)4549
8th1644Ian HunterTrevor MacdonaldRoyal Tay YC55868957(10)(10)53
9th1632Sandy BremnerRobin LambRoyal Tay YC11(15)12(13)75868966
10th1587Glenn EnkelJules BatchelorMaylandsea Bay SC8(10)1010(RET)61099769
11th1636Alasdair HoodCampbell MorrisonRoyal Tay YC9(12)9(14)1011910111281
12th1605Paul WilkinsonJane O'BrienMaylandsea Bay SC1413(15)8128(15)1171386
13th1593Dean SaxtonMark HarmanMaylandsea Bay SC(13)111111912(13)1212886
14th1567Richard Le MareLiz Le MareCastle Cove SC(15)913(15)11101414131195
15th1553Ian RintoulRichardMaylandsea1214141214(161113(1616106

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