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Allen Contender UK Travellers Series Round 1 at Burton Sailing Club

by Tim Holden 23 Mar 11:09 GMT 18-19 March 2023
2023 UK Contender Travellers at Burton © Bill Hooton

Burton Sailing Club hosted the first round of the 2023 UK Travellers trophy on the weekend of the 18/19 March. As it was the first event of the season the weekend was split into a training /tuning day on the Saturday, followed on Sunday by a scheduled four race event.

Wind forecasts were not the best for the weekend - 4 to 12knts and shifty, north westerlies. It was therefore great to see 20 helms made the trip, and a reward to the organisers from the class and club who put on an excellent event - well done Ed and Bill.

Saturdays wind never breached about 8knts so made the training more challenging. The training consisted of various exercises - short races, starting techniques, hold and gun, buddy pairings, and a final long rudderless beat back to the shore - very long for some ! We all benefited from the day, and learnt some skills we had forgotten about. Many, including me, realised that the fewer tacks you do the quicker you are to the first mark !

Sunday saw a modest increase in wind, but it came with oscillations of maybe 20 degrees, so if you could put all that Saturday tacking practice into effect you would benefit. Consistency was going to be important too, as the race schedule was reduced to 3 races, back-to-back, with no discard, as the wind was forecast to drop away later. This proved accurate.

Our PRO set a short well biased pin end line for race one, meaning the brave were looking for port tack gaps to appear just at the right moment! The westerly shore was also close by so starboard starters were soon looking for room to tack to port. There were some big changes up the first beat, when promising positions suddenly reversed as lifts from the right or left came through. Graeme Wilcox arrived first closely followed by James Spikesley and Tim Holden. Two reaches and a run back followed by 3 more laps saw Tim drop back and Ed Presley and Tom Hooton make gains, but the front two held fast - a position we would see in the next two races too. The wind maybe peaked at 12 knts so full trapezing, but it did not hold for long.

The same course and line for trace two, so the same challenges for gap hunting port tackers ! Hard left and hard right seemed to pay off, but the Graeme and James duo held firm at the front. Winds again from maybe 8 to 14 knts, but plenty of shifts and holes. The windward mark, being towards the north bank, caused a few large shifts leaving helms who thought they were on the lay line to put in a few more tacks - those who thought they could squeeze round ended doing more training gybes and tacks! Despite the gentle conditions the holes led to a couple of capsizes, but we promised not to mention Gary's name, so I wont. Tim and Ed followed, with Chris Boshier close behind.

Race three saw an additional mark added to the course, and the wind eased and veered to the north, so the same line was not quite as biased. However clear air was still vital so even those port starters who had to duck a lot of transoms were well placed when the first right shift arrived. While one and two were yet again the same two guys, I think James got there first, but Graeme slipped by to score 3 bullets. Ed, Tom Hooton and Gary Langdown followed these two.

We hope to see everyone for the next round of the travellers at Oxford SC on the 1st/2nd April.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st695Graeme WilcoxNetley1113
2nd705James SpikesleyNetley2226
3rd2708Ed PresleyCastle Cove34310
4th2504Tim HoldenHalifax53715
5th678Tom HootonBurton SC47415
6th2702Chris BoshierThorpe Bay95822
7th2484Gary LangdownHighcliffe612523
8th2729Chris HoweOxford119626
9th2710James DanielsNetley1081028
10th712Rodger WhiteKing George1461232
11th2315Ben HoldenHalifax7111432
12th666Bill HootonBurton SC1215936
13th2733Neil FergusonYorkshire Dales13131137
14th2420Simon MussellHighcliffe810 38
15th686Nathen McGroryPoole16141343
16th674Craig HellonBurton SC15161647
17th696Tony CookDowns18181551
18th2490Paul GreenCHYF‑PDSC17171751
19th634Buz BurrellCovenhamDNF  60

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