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Henri-Lloyd - For the Obsessed

UK Challenger Championships 2022 at Rutland Sailing Club

by Marion Edwards 27 Sep 2022 20:02 BST 23-25 September 2022
UK Challenger Championships 2022 at Rutland © Tony Mayhew

Twenty Challengers gathered at Rutland Sailing Club for the 2022 UK Challenger Championships on Friday 23 September. There were nine visiting sailors and four visiting boats. Five visiting sailors were loaned Rutland Sailability or privately owned Challengers.

The event looked to be far more open than in previous years with five or six sailors in serious contention for the Curtis Cup. There were also two dark horses. Rory McKinna had been persuaded (though it didn't take much persuasion) to forsake his Hansa 303 and sail the class association Challenger 263. Chichian Wu from Taiwan (but studying in Glasgow) was also keen to try a Challenger and was loaned one by Rutland Sailability. It soon became clear that these two young guns were keen to upset the established order.

Eleven 2.4mR sailors were present for their Inland Championships. As in 2021, the two classes shared a committee boat but each sailed their preferred course: trapezoidal for the Challengers and windward-leeward for the 2.4s.

At registration all Challenger competitors and volunteers received a fleece hat. These were very generously donated (along with many other prizes) by Lands' End (Oakham). They were much in evidence throughout the event.

After the briefing, the fleet were launched in a NNWly wind and headed off down to the "main pond" for two back to back races. On the race course the wind was very shifty and although it reached F3 at times there were lots of lulls and holes.

In race 1 David Driffill (285) executed the first of a number of successful port tack fliers (they are his speciality). Unfortunately any advantage gained was lost when he took the wrong way up the beat. It was Dave Hodson (212) who led at the windward mark a position he held until the finish. On the second beat Chichian Wu (290) took second place but an unkind wind shift on the short beat to the finish line allowed Graham Hall (270) to sneak through.

A marked wind shift to the left at the start of race 2 meant most of the fleet immediately tacked onto port. By the second windward mark there was a leading pack of Nick Bett (261), Dave, Bill Ridlington (297) and Graham. Nick went on to take the win with Dave second. Bill made a determined effort to keep Graham behind him, but Graham managed to overtake on the bottom reach to take third.

At the end of the day Dave was leading the fleet showing that, in the right hands, a twenty year old Anglo Marine Challenger is still competitive against newer, lighter boats. In the Silver fleet Alan Bradley (315) led on countback from the syndicate entry of Jack Alderdice and Bob Austin (281). Jack and Bob were sharing a boat as neither felt they had the stamina to complete the entire event. They took the boat sharing to extremes by deciding to sail Bob's boat but with Jack's sail!

Unfortunately Friday's two races marked the end of Di Faulks' (288) event. But 13th wasn't a bad position for someone who had come to the club not intending to race at all!

After racing the class association held its AGM. Many of the fleet then remained at the club to take advantage of the "Chip Shop Night".

On Saturday, to the dismay of the shore crew, the wind had swung more northerly and increased slightly in strength. It was going to be a day of leeshore launches and "interesting" recoveries.

Race 3 was a disaster for the young guns as both had their rudder come off its pintles. On the last reach Rory tangled his mainsheet round the rudder (easily done on a gybe) and the rudder came off as he tried to disentangle it. Fortunately the mark layer (David Newton) was on hand to sort it out (with a pair of rusty pliers!) but even so Rory went from fifth to next to last. The cause of Chichian's rudder problems were less clear but it led to an unwelcome last place. The race was definitely not a disaster for Duncan Greenhalgh (280) as he won it nor for Sarah Threapleton who achieved her best result of 12th.

Race 4 saw Chichian bounce back to take second sandwiched between Graham and Nick. Stephen Thomas Bate (238) achieved his best result of 12th.

In race 5 Nick managed to hold off a "sustained attack" (his words) from Val Millward (312) to take the win with Val coming second. Alex Hovden (304) achieved a useful third. In the Silver fleet Caz Jerromes (313) unintentionally cut Alan up. Alan, being far too much a gentleman to T-bone Caz, opted to straddle the buoy instead. Not surprisingly race 5 was his discard. After her best result so far (14th) and faced with a long cold sail back to the slip Lynn Steward (257) decided to call it day.

Race 6 belonged to Chichian. He started on starboard towards the pin to cut-off the port tack fliers - this worked for David but Rory escaped - and led from start to finish. Nick logged another useful second and Graham third.

The sailors retired to the clubhouse for a BBQ which was generously funded by Hugh Campbell (an honorary member of the class association). There was much discussion of the days proceedings. Rory was enjoying the speed of it all. Chris Keats-Hannan (5) said it was probably her best day's sailing ever, even if it did leave her too exhausted to race on Sunday.

At the end of the day Nick had taken the lead with Graham second and Dave slipping down to third. In the Silver fleet Alan was extending his lead with Pauline Shaw (301) just a point ahead of Caz.

On Sunday morning, to the relief of the shore crew, the wind was more westerly and distinctly lighter than Saturday. It was very unfortunate that Dave was unable to sail and with only one discard in the eight race series he would have to count a DNC.

At the start of race 7 Jack did a stupendous port tack flier to cross the fleet. Unfortunately the wind went right and he was unable to capitalise on it, even so he managed a remarkable fifth place, showing that while stamina may be lacking tactical nous is not. Unfortunately Chichian fell out of contention when his rudder came off (again). Rory was chasing hard and, following a poorly judged tack by Graham, took the lead and ultimately the win. Val took second from Graham by less than a boat length. Unfortunately Nick came home in eighth which cancelled out his overnight lead.

There was a certain amount of argy-bargy at the start of race 8 when Val had bagged the position next to the committee boat until Graham went under and up in front of her, then Duncan did the same to Graham. After all that, Rory was first to the windward mark followed by Bill, Nick, Graham and Val. Going across the top reach Graham picked off Nick then Bill and went after Rory overtaking him on the second beat. However Chichian had come through to second by the final gybe mark and came above Graham and held the lead to the finish.

Once the numbers had been crunched, Graham was first overall and Nick second with Val narrowly beating Chichian for third. In the Silver fleet Alan had an emphatic win but the syndicate of Jack and Bob scraped second beating Caz on countback.

This was a tightly fought championship with six different winners over eight races. Ultimately the old hands just managed to keep the young guns in order. They have been invited back for next year!

The prizes were presented by Rutland SC commodore Nick Neve and the prize-giving ended with a special prize (and rendition of "Happy Birthday") to Di Broomhead (228). Di was competing in her first regatta and was the only sailor using the servo-assist mainsheet system.

At the prize-giving thanks were given to the event sponsors: Hugh Campbell, Lands' End (Oakham), Pinnell and Bax, and the Oakham branch of Tesco for the wine.

Thanks are also due to: the race committee, in particular Richard Johnson (Challenger race officer) and David Rowlands (2.4 race officer); the mark layer David Newton and his assistants; the safety boat crews and to Val Millward the event organiser.

Trophies Awarded:

  • Curtis Cup (1st overall) Graham Hall
  • Judi Figgures Trophy (2nd overall) Nick Bett
  • Prentice Pot (3rd overall) Val Millward
  • Ayrshire Yeomanry Cup (1st Silver) Alan Bradley
  • Rutland Rose Bowl (2nd Silver) Jack Alderdice and Bob Austin (syndicate)
  • 3rd Silver Caz Jerromes
  • Silver Piccolo (highest placed sailor previously unplaced at a UK Championships) Alex Hovden
  • Thames Water Shield (winner of last race) Chichian Wu
  • Jock Campbell Trophy (best under 30 or over 80) Chichian Wu

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

PosFleetSail NoBoatHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1stGold270DaisyGraham HallRutland Sailing Club2321‑433216
2ndGold261Last OrdersNick BettRutland Sailing Club‑8133128422
3rdGold312Legless JesterVal MillwardRutland Sailing Club4‑864262529
4thGold290SwimarathonChichian WuChinese Taipei310‑172617130
5thGold280White KnightDuncan GreenhalghBassenthwaite Sailing Club6517‑954836
6thGold297TrinityBill RidlingtonRutland Sailing Club5446‑1176638
7thGold263FreethinkerRory McKinnaClyde Cruising Club76‑1685111341
8thGold212 David HodsonRutland Sailing Club1211574(DNC)DNC51
9thGold304 Alex HovdenPapercourt Sailing Club1075‑11389951
10thGold265NoinanDavid DriffillOgston Sailing Club1111791010‑12765
11thSilver315ThunderballAlan BradleyRutland Sailability1291010‑159101272
12thSilver281Larr‑D‑DaJack Alderdice and Bob AustinRutland Sailing Club912(DNF)DNC8DNC51086
13thSilver313Mach 1Caz JerromesRutland Sailability13‑169151312131186
14thSilver301FriendshipPauline ShawGrafham Water Sailability‑16148131214111587
15thSilver238Skean Dhu TooStephen Thomas BateAnnandale Sailing Club17151312‑18131416100
16thSilver298InspirationSarah ThreapletonRutland Sailability14‑17121716151613103
17thSilver257Red JesterLynn StewardWigan and St Helens Sailing Club1819151614(DNC)1514111
18thSilver5EvelynChris Keats‑HannanOgston Sailing Club191814141716(DNC)DNC119
19thGold288Black RatDiana FaulksRutland Sailability1513(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC133
20thSilver228Bateau RougeDiane BroomfieldRutland Sailability20(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC146

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