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K1 National Championships 2022 at Royal Torbay Yacht Club

by Hilly King 16 Sep 2022 11:23 BST 9-11 September 2022

The K1 National Championships were held over the long weekend of 9th - 11th September 2022 at Royal Torbay Yacht Club. Competitors travelling from all over the country chose to set up their boats on a sun drenched and windy Haldon Pier on Thursday afternoon, excellently marshalled by the beachmaster. Some of the more intrepid members of the fleet practiced on the glistening waters in the bay, whilst others caught up with new faces and those more familiar.

The K1 fleet were sharing our National Championships with the Hadron H2 class and both fleets were informed of the sad news that Queen Elizabeth II had died earlier on that afternoon at Balmoral Castle. It was evident both classes wished to pay their respects to our late Queen, and with other sporting events being cancelled we were unclear how, or indeed if, the Championship would proceed.

Commodore Phil Rumbelow held a reception for all competitors and their partners on Thursday evening which commenced with a short period of silence for all to remember our late Queen in their own way. The reception was most generous and all agreed tastefully handled under challenging circumstances.

During this reception the fleets were informed that Royal Torbay YC would be taking advice from both the RYA and those that bestowed a Royal warrant to the Yacht Club on the correct way forward. A briefing already scheduled for 9.00am Friday would determine the course of action.

The following morning at the briefing both fleets were informed that after taking advice racing would be cancelled for that day as a matter of respectand further updates would be conveyed as soon as they were received.

The Officers of Royal Torbay YC together with our events manager Geoff King skilfully agreed a programme of races once the required authorities had agreed the Championship could proceed.

Saturday dawned with bright sunshine and a breeze which looked very promising for the fleet as we sailed out to the starting area. However it was becoming very clear that the wind was disappearing and changing wildly in direction. By the time the high quality fleet was amassed in the starting area the wind had disappeared altogether so a postponement was inevitable whilst the course was reset and we waited for the breeze to fill in.

The breeze duly arrived and held reasonably steadily. Clearly the fleet was eager to get away, indeed much too eager as PRO Bob Penfold had to issue the fleet with a general recall and flag the fleet to ensure more composure ensued.

Once away at the second attempt our current National Champion Simon Hawkes, together with newcomer to our fleet Chris Turner, set the pace. The fleet was closely packed and there was intense racing throughout. Our National Inland Champion Paul Birbeck led the chasing pack together with Nick Ryles and John Wayling always in close attendance. The offwind legs were interesting not only to see how every sailor seemed to select different routes, but ground was made up by using the waves correctly.

At the finish the results were first Simon closely followed by Chris and Paul.

The second race had a slightly stronger breeze but the fleet got away at the first time of asking and this time split with half choosing to go out sea - which proved successful for Jeff Vander Borght - and half the fleet heading along the shoreline lead by Steve Birbeck, Simon, Chris, Paul and John. The second upwind leg was extremely close both at the front but also all over the fleet where you could gain five or six places by picking the correct shifts. The whole fleet were compact which provided super fun and required concentration throughout the race.

At the finish Simon again took the bullet closely followed by Steve and Chris.

The third race was sailed in a steady breeze but the direction was unstable which was ably managed by the PRO and his team. Getting a clean start with a definite track and picking the right shifts was to be crucial. A number of starters were sent back to re start but the majority of the fleet were clean and again split pretty evenly in choosing their direction up the first all important beat.

Paul was the early pacemaker closely followed by Simon, Chris and Steve who all loosely chose the shore direction, but interestingly all independently chose different tracks to tack out to sea. Those further out who were going well included John, Gary Phare and Jeremy Hudson, so it would be interesting to see which side of the course would pay. Dave Stockton, John and Angus MacAlister were making significant inroads into the leaders both offwind and on the second upwind leg but did not get close enough to actually challenge the leaders.

At the finish Simon won again followed by Chris and Paul.

Race 4 had a slightly less stable breeze which was getting lighter and the start was again going to be very important. It was obvious that the front runners were able to keep in pressure and keep high going through a slight chop. Chris seemed to go much further along the shoreline than any other boat, with Simon, Paul, John and Jeremy opting for a more central part of the first beat.

Clearly the speed differential was negligible as they arrived in a small group at the windward mark and at this point it was anyone's race. After a close tussle Chris took the bullet followed by Simon and John.

On Saturday night Royal Torbay YC hosted a fabulous fleet dinner where all manner of advice was being exchanged. Hilly King, on behalf of the Class Association, presented Jeff Vander Borght with a tankard and the first ever honorary life membership of the K1 Class. He explained that the Class wished to convey thanks and appreciation for everything Jeff has done over a number of years to take the K1 Class from its conception to the thriving fleet it is today.

His selflessness, great sense of humour and expertise have helped promote the K1 in a way few could have done. Every member expressed their gratitude to not only a lovely chap but also a super member of the fleet and ex National Champion.

Sunday was again bright and sunny with an increased wind strength so an air of anticipation filled the fleet as we sailed out of the harbour into the bay.

The change of wind direction allowed PRO Bob Penfold to lay a new course which he hoped would have less dramatic wind shifts. Race 5 saw new faces at the front of the fleet all going well and holding the previous front runners at bay. Gary was proving very fast on all legs of the course and as a new member of the fleet showing the K1 can be sailed to your own strengths.

Offwind, Gary has very loose jib sheets and uses the dangly pole to set the slot, unusual but extremely effective! Gary was being pushed by Simon, Jeff, John and Graham Butler all of whom picked their own way up the beats and were quick to respond to the change of position of upwind marks.

At the finish Gary took the bullet followed by Simon and Jeff. This put Simon in an extremely strong position to retain his title needing only one more good result.

Race 6 was started in a steady breeze and this time there was a consensus that heading along the shoreline was preferable. Simon, Chris, Paul and Steve all kept in pressure and seemed to adapt easily to the windshifts, however those caught in wind shadows opted to head out to sea to look for greater pressure and less chop, these included Jeremy and Angus who made significant progress up the fleet.

At the finish Simon won the race and with it the Championship, second was Chris and third Paul.

The final race of the series was started in a slightly reduced breeze but certainly far more shifty. The run from the windward mark to the bottom mark was more challenging and the wave patterns less regular which caused large place changes in mid fleet and also a greater number of boats all in the same part of the race course.

As was the practice in the last couple of races the windward mark had to be moved to allow a reasonable beat to be established and all agreed the race team had done a super job of constantly tweaking the mark positions. It paid this time to head out to sea and short tack along the wave patterns.

Simon was again giving a masterclass this time closely followed by Gary, Steve and Ian Duke who was enjoying good boatspeed.

At the finish Simon claimed another bullet closely followed by Gary and Steve.

The K1 National Championship had been a great success in challenging circumstances and the new members to our fleet have definitely given strength in depth to an already very competitive fleet.

The prize-giving was an opportunity to thank Royal Torbay YC and its staff for hosting the Championship which was generously supported by Ovington Boats.

Overall Results:

Masters Trophy - John Wayling
Seniors Trophy - Steve Birbeck
Veterans Trophy - Chris Swallow
Halfway prize - Geoff King
Perseverance prize (shared) - Ian Klyne / Simon Etter

PosSail NoBoatNameHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st175 Simon HawkesCastle Cove111‑22117
2nd176Ken Dod's Dad's dogChris TurnerLyme Regis2321‑62414
3rd84KatoPaul BirbeckWimbleball3435‑83624
4th75KoalaSteve BirbeckRTYC7247‑94327
5th123Simple As...John WaylingNorthampton55634‑11932
6th73Maybe TomorrowGarry PhareRTYC611881‑15236
7th120K1ssJeremy HudsonFrensham pond‑10694105842
8th31Galactic GooseAngus MacAlisterWimbleball8871076‑1146
9th121 Graham ButlerFrensham Pond‑141310657748
10th157 Jeffrey Vander BorghtLyme regis(UFD)71393141056
11th170 Ian DukeDatchet Water9‑141211118556
12th138Reflections of an angelGeoff KingTewkesbury11914‑1714131273
13th98 Nick RylesWimbleball SC415111516‑201374
14th135 David StocktonWimbleball12175131910(DNF)76
15th62 Mike BeckettDatchet Water171015‑1813121481
16th74 Jason KingDatchet15161612‑1791583
17th161BeaRooHilly KingDatchet Water SC1312(DNF)DNC18161698
18th92 Christopher SwallowBurton Sailing Club181818141219(DNF)99
19th129 Gordon KeyworthNone202017201517(DNF)109
20th131 Ian KlyneDatchet Water191920‑21211817114
21st146WrecKIessSteve ConwayRutland SC1621191620(DNC)DNF115
22nd137 Simon EtterDatchet Water21‑222119222118122

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