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Supernova Winter Championships at Bowmoor Sailing Club

by Gavin Young 3 Mar 18:42 GMT 25 February 2023
Supernova Winter Championships at Bowmoor © James Pollard

What a fantastic start to the 2023 season with 30 hardy sailors entered for the first event of 2023 in the Supernova calendar, the Winter Championships, held at one of our favourite venues Bowmoor SC on the Cotswold Water Park. The class was excited to be back as planned following cancellations in 2021 due to Covid restrictions and 2022 due to extreme weather conditions.

The sailors were greeted by the every friendly Bowmoor team and it was great to see everyone taking time to catch up over a coffee and bacon butty after the winter hibernation months. The weather was overcast with a good cold breeze blowing from the NE giving the fleet beats across the width of the lake with some long reaches down its length. The wind was around F3 with some good lulls, exciting gusts and some generous shifts to keep everyone on their toes.

The day started with the normal race brief given by our Race Office David Lynall who did an amazing job at setting three great courses and getting us all started promptly. This helped save the sailors from frostbite and hyperthermia... although not sure my hands have quite thawed out yet!

Race 1

With a good square line the fleet hit the ground running with a good clean start, splitting left and right up the first beat, Milliner rounded first closely followed by Gifford and Young who soon dropped back a good number of places after coming in late on port to the windward mark infringing Thursfield and Lambert who were coming in close hauled on starboard.

The fleet then headed down the lake on the first reach which with many gusts and lulls made for some close packed racing as sailors decided to go low or high with the leading pack luffing the fleet hard to protect their positions. The second beat had the windward mark to the right of the clubhouse which gave some challenging shifts and gusts as the wind came over and around the clubhouse, before firing down the course, in the end staying right seemed to pay, with a bit of header to start with but then a nice lift on starboard meant you could tack before the lay line and still hook up to the mark.

Milliner led closely followed by Gifford and Thursfield, Higson, Flitcroft, Reeve and Young. Milliner and Gifford increased their lead, but the following pack continued to fight hard with a number of place changes, Young moved up to fourth but then capsized at the windward mark on the third lap, Thursfield was working hard and storming up the beats but then had to work to keep his position along the reaches.

The shortened course flag appeared after 50 minutes of racing with Milliner crossing the line first closely followed by Gifford and then Flitcroft, Higson, Thursfield and Reeve.

Race 2

Race 2 started back to back after the first, the course was changed to provide a run in the course, which was leeward of the clubhouse giving a nice shifty gusty patch of the course to try and navigate the best route down to the leeward mark. The RO did a great job of getting Race 2 under way quickly, again with a square line the fleet got away cleanly.

The wind had increased slightly, and the gusts were a little more aggressive which made for some great racing. The course was perfect with a good first beat that seemed to favour the left side for the majority of the race and a nice long reach which with the gusts and lulls made for brilliant racing with the leading boats luffing the boats coming up behind who tried to sail over them and some boats choosing to sail a lower track to the mark.

With a second beat, short second reach and run in the shifty airs of the clubhouse wind shadow followed fast reach to the leeward mark there was no where to rest.

With full powered up conditions and shift gusty winds boat handling and fitness were the order of the day - thankfully the Supernova rig is fully adjustable to allow helms to control the power well.

Milliner lead the race followed by Gifford and Young who after a good luffing match along the first reach managed to just pip Thursfield and Flitcroft who had taken a lower track to the mark.

Despite extremely close racing and a short change after Gifford took the lead from Milliner, the order at the front remained with Milliner leading closely followed by Gifford. Young, Thursfield and Flitcroft had an extremely close race with a few place changes but Young managed to pull ahead in the last couple of laps. There were many place changes down the fleet, but the race finished with Milliner first followed by Gifford, Young, Flitcroft, Thursfield and Reeve.

Race 2 was followed by what can only be described as a very welcome break for lunch, an opportunity to get warmed up, share war stories and indulge in a fantastic shepherd's pie, after which the fleet returned to the water for the third and final race of the day.

Race 3

The course remained the same and with a slight port bias the fleet got off to another clean start, again splitting left and right up the first beat. The left side paid, which say the usual suspects at the front of the fleet.

After another luffing match along the first reach which saw Young luffing Milliner a long way above the mark, Young manage to hold the lead at the mark with Milliner, Thursfield, Flitcroft, Gifford and Higson close behind. Milliner took the lead at the top of the second beat closely followed by Young, the pair slowly increased their lead from the following pack.

Milliner hit the windward mark on the third lap allowing Young to take the lead as they started down the run, a huge gust allowed Milliner to attempt a pass to windward but an aggressive luff by Young (edit: as if Young could ever be aggressive!) allowed him to keep the lead to the leeward mark only to lose out at the start of the next beat as a wind shift on the left gave Milliner the advantage after Young had started out to the right.

It was again incredibly close racing with many place changes in the following pack. The race finished with Milliner leading closely followed by Young, and then Gifford, Flitcroft, Thursfield and Lambert.

After some amazing racing throughout the fleet the final results ended with a 1,2,3 for Cotswold Sailing Club.

The Supernova Class would like to say a big thank you to Bowmoor Sailing Club, you made us feel so welcome, the catering was fantastic, the facilities spot on, the race crew and safety crews did an amazing job and we had a fantastic start to our season, thank you again. The next event is the Craftinsure travellers series (southern) event at Cotswold SC on the 11th March - we hope to see you there.


1st Cliff Milliner
2nd Will Gifford
3rd Gavin Young
4th Andy Flitcroft
5th Matt Thursfield
6th Jeremy Higson

1st Silver Fleet - Iain Barlow
1st Bronze Fleet - Andy Gould

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