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Noble Marine Ovington UKLA Qualifier 5 at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Jake Farren-Price 24 Sep 2022 15:23 BST 17-18 September 2022

After the success of the Nationals this summer, Hayling Island invited us back for the second Autumn qualifier of the year. 50 ILCA 7s from all over the country arrived on Saturday morning and were greeted by the warm Hayling Bay sun.

After a quick briefing from the Race Committee, we were notified that the 7s would be starting second after the 6s. Back to bed it was for half the 7 fleet that arrived early - expecting a few generals from the 6s.

The first race got under way with a slight delay as the wind wasn't playing ball. Due to the northerly gradient wind rushing over strawberry fields we had shifts of about 60 degrees with lull to gust difference of about 12 knots. Also some decent weed had made it's way onto the course hoping to latch onto some foils. It was like an Octopus's Garden out there.

That does make for exciting racing, but we would need about five discards for that - or at least I would.

After the wind stabilised slightly, we were under way. Straight out of the blocks it was the young guns Luke Anstey and Tom Mitchell showing the fleet how to sail in these uncertain conditions, piecing the beat together nicely and rounding in the front group. Sam Whaley and Arthur Farley showed their skill pulling away from the fleet up the second beat and battling it out for the win of the first race by the bottom.

Whaley managed to get the first bullet of the series with Farley and Micky Beckett rounding off the top 3.

The second race had just as many crazy shifts, this time Mark Lyttle, our chairman, was showing how to do it with an excellent start and had the fleet by the scruff of the neck all the way up that first beat. Mark has some serious expertise in this class and this was he take from the day: "The offshore wind provided a constant battle between looking for pressure and long slow wind shifts. Do I tack now for more pressure or wait for the shift back which may not come until the end of the beat. This created challenging conditions to master."

Jake Farren-Price and Beckett managed to slither past him on the final approach to the windward mark. Beckett managed to sail away with it up the second beat and Farren-Price had to keep Finley Dickinson and Sebastian Kemp who were picking the shifts nicely up the second beat at bay. The finish was Becket, Farren-Price, Dickinson.

With the tide switching and now pushing us over the line, getting the time to line accurate was crucial. After waiting for the 6s to get their final start under way after some serious pushing off the line. About 70 boats were up to 30 boat lengths over the line. This was not an exaggeration in some cases. The Race Committee decided to let it be. We would later find out that that race to be abandoned. At the committee boat you could see the pin end behind the whole fleet. Over my whole racing career, I have never seen that in my life.

After a healthy amount of the fleet were black-flagged in the 7s the final start got away with a lot of shouting of 'get back' to try and hold off another recall. Farley sailed well throughout this race, unfortunately not piecing the final beat together as well as Beckett and Whaley and losing out to both of them. Again, Beckett sailed impressively, clawing his way up the field and then extending away once he reached the top spot.

Sunday morning and there were some tired faces around the boat park. The ILCA 6s were greeted by the news that they would have to do four races in the tricky conditions again. Some were thinking yesterday was tough mentally, I've got a feeling it's going to be a game of who can make the least mistakes out there today. It was a similar story for the 7s, with only one discard and most people already having banked a discard early doors, putting together a consistent set of results on day 2 was going to be key.

Race 1 of the day saw similar conditions to the previous day with heavy gusts falling out of the sky. Norman Struthers (CAN), played the start the best coming off the committee boat and tacking into good breeze and sending it right for the inevitable next shift. Beckett and Kempe made best use of hefty righty to break away from the fleet and battle it out for the win in that race. Whaley who was playing a safer strategy up the middle got left behind and had to work hard up the second beat to fight back to third.

Race 5 and Farren-Price and Whaley get the best starts of the fleet and made the charge to the right-hand side. Waiting for a sizeable righty to come back on, they were slightly caught out as a group from the left come back into it nicely at the top and were right on Whaley and Farren-Price's heels. Beckett wiggled himself down the run nicely in pressure and rounded just behind Farren-Price at the bottom mark and then executed a better second beat to get back into first. Farley sailed well done the final run to take second ahead of James Percival-Cooke.

The final race of the series and the boats down towards the pin end that managed to get the tack in were controlling the race. Beckett was in a powerful position but it was Charlie South who was dropping the blocks and reaching over the fleet from the left to round the windward mark first, followed in hot pursuit by Beckett. Down the run Beckett edged into first and the chasing peloton caught up to South. The battle up the second beat was fierce with lots of boats very close. Percival-Cooke sailed an impeccable final downwind to clinch the second with Whaley in third.

A short reach blast back to shore for a quick pack up ahead of the 6s doing their final race. With a little help from my friends I was back on the road nice and quickly before the 6s returned to shore. Well done to Mark Lyttle, first grand master finishing 3 points ahead of Alan Davis, the real grudge match we are all watching.

I managed to catch up with the winner Micky Beckett after the weekend, he seemed to know something about the way the wind moved during the weekend. This is what he had to say: "Mike Tyson never attended a UKLA qualifier. However, he did once say that 'everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face'. With every race I had a plan, but if it hadn't already gone terribly wrong at start time, it usually went wrong shortly thereafter. Was it the enormous wind range left, and right? Or the thoroughly frustrating gusts that appeared with such short notice? Or the tide that never seemed to go in the direction that my Google search that morning had told me it was supposed to be going in?

"After taking these blows in short succession, usually just after that start, I was generally feeling like a man with little to lose. Fortunately, I usually found some success as the race progressed to the outer loop, taking advantage of the unease with which everyone was making decisions due to the erratic conditions. The racing I had at the front with Sam, Arthur, Seb, Jake and James was tight and of a really high quality, the positions were never settled till right at the finish."

For the final qualifier of the season we travel across the universe to Weymouth where we will come together to battle it out for the 2022 series. It is set to be a nail-biter. Hope to see you all there.

The ILCA7 Fleet would like to thank all the volunteers who put on another great event hosted by HISC. A special thank you to Tim Hancock and the race committee.

Thanks also to our main weekend sponsors, Noble Marine and Ovington Boats who support the class so loyally. Noble Marine has crafted a very competitive and excellent insurance product for all Laser/ILCA sailors. A very personal service and an extremely useful website help make this the 'go to' company. Ovington Boats are one of the biggest and best dinghy builders in the world and are now the official UK builders of ILCAs.

Overall Results:

PosNatSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1stGBR210139Michael BeckettSolva SC‑3111115
2ndGBR221110Sam WhaleySwanage SC1‑8234313
3rdGBR219332Arthur FarleyBHYC2‑12342617
4thBER220733Sebastian KempeRoyal Bermuda Yacht Club RHS44(BFD)26723
5th 216373James Percival‑CookeNorfolk Broads YC766‑83224
6thGBR217303Jacob Farren‑PriceWarsash SC‑1525105830
7thCAN219066Norman StruthersStokes Bay SC5‑104571031
8thGBR212907James FosterPoole YC6789‑10535
9thGBR216009Finley DickinsonHayling Island SC23371111(DNC)55
10thGBR213544Luke AnsteyFrensham Pond SC / Stokes Bay SC101113148(RET)56
11thGBR216646Alastair BrownStokes Bay SC Great Moor SC‑225102215961
12thGBR170605Craig Williamson 18149614‑1961
13thGBR219907Nick WelbournHykeham SC11‑151115131161
14thGBR219812Tom MitchellRoyal Tay Yacht Club12924‑27121572
15thGBR217871Mark LyttleQueen Mary SC131315‑33191272
16thGBR220433Alan DavisParkstone Yacht Club‑2517147172075
17thGBR218435Charlie SouthEmsworth Sailing Club / Stokes Bay Saili2620(BFD)179476
18thGBR205823Josh MorganDubai Offshore Sailing Club‑35181216251485
19thGBR213640Andy Le GriceWarsash SC14191713‑372487
20thGBR219069Finlay TulettDalgety Bay Sailing Club17251912‑352194
21stGBR219366George ColquittWest Kirby SC916(BFD)18282697
22ndGBR217179Daniel FletcherQueen Mary SC162225‑32211397
23rdGBR219655Edward BakerChew Valley Lake SC/Bowmoor SC27‑3020202018105
24thGBR214637Ewan McAnallyRutland Sailing Club2024162622‑31108
25thGBR169162Joe WoodleyGrafham Water SC21(BFD)18212329112
26thGBR214610Tony WoodsQueen Mary Sailing Club28212119‑3428117
27thGBR215421Willam SunderlandDraycote Water2428(BFD)231634125
28thGBR219663Theo GumbleyWeir Wood SC‑382722372416126
29th 216611Adrian LynhamStokes Bay SC3229262418‑38129
30thUSA208838Mike Matan ‑313128292717132
31stGBR209996Alex DaveyRoyal Harwich YC29‑3323283122133
32ndGBR216239Jamie BlakeGreat Moor SC30‑3431302933153
33rdGBR211324Rhys JonesCardiff YC‑412335363823155
34thGBR220442Hywel Roberts 19(BFD)DNC253030156
35thUKR218279David Surkov 3926(BFD)382627156
36thGBR217429Guy NobleQueen Mary SC37372935‑3925163
37thGBR215376Nicolas Van TienenStokes Bay SC‑453634313335169
38thGBR218983Terence ONEILLSeafarers/ RSrnYC‑443227394036174
39thCAN216367William MacDonaldWembley‑463837443232183
40thGBR211870Joza CicWembley SC333933‑424137183
41stGBR216378Matthew StubbinsLlandudno SC4235304336(DNC)186
42nd 183153Matthew FletcherQueen Mary SC40(BFD)323442DNC200
43rdGBR179808Lewis JohnsNewhaven & Seaford SC‑484239404439204
44thGBR168986John GoldsbroughWeston Sailing Club3641404643(DNC)206
45th 208888Simon RadfordStokes Bay SC‑494336414541206
46thGBR190673Joe MolePapercourt/QMSC434038‑474740208
47thGBR218940Jack HopkinsDelph SC8(BFD)BFDDNCDNCDNC216
48thGBR219833Bryce SurguyCorinthian Otters34(RET)RET454642219
49th 181574Adam Scott (DSQ)DSQDSQ484943244
50th 5381Dan McGaughy 47(BFD)DNCDNCDNCDNC255
51st 174950Mike Metcalfe (DSQ)DSQDNCRET48RET256

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