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Craftinsure 2023 LEADERBOARD

Albacore Open at Maidenhead Sailing Club

by Stuart McAdam, Maidenhead Sailing Club 26 Apr 2023 10:29 BST 16 April 2023

Eighteen boats entered this year's season opening Albacore Open at Maidenhead Sailing Club on Sunday 16th April. Although the forecasters tried to put pay to the 20+ boats expected with an exceptionally light forecast that transpired to be inaccurate; the wind gods offering up sailable conditions to the crews who had been early on Sunday morning.

For many this was the second sailing instalment of the weekend fixture as Saturday had seen Mike McNamara (ex-World Champ, one of the county's finest independent sail makers and expert in sailing) give a wonderful training session for Albacores that started in the classroom, trained onshore before an afternoon of mixed exercises on the water. Thanks Mike!

The Race Officer, Sacha Mayhew, and Officer of the Day, Mark Hudson, arrived on scene to sunshine and the lake tranquil and inviting. They and their team soon set about creating a course that could be adjusted should the expected wind come in, especially given the variable nature of the forecast. Initially setting a triangle (beat, reach, run) and three laps for each race. This year Maidenhead aimed to put on five races with a single discard should all five races be completed, aiming for two longer races before lunch and three shorter races in the afternoon to keep competitors on their toes. The wind started to come in from the NNW at around 10am and much to the delight of the entrants this was offering 5-8 knots with the occasion heavier gusts.

Sixteen boats made it to the start line for the first race and with the wind oscillating the start was going to be critical. As the 5-minute gun went the wind was fair and only a slight bias however the wind pattern was strongest on the starboard side of the beat. With a minute to go those who were on the line were in prime position, as a significant wind shift hit the competitors. those who had not made that first row were blanketed and their starts were significantly affected. As expected, our finely tuned visitors made great starts, whereas our local crews were a little behind, perhaps kindly rewarding our visitors with clear breeze. The first boats up to the windward start were 8192 (Mark Fowler/Matt Biggs), 8236 (Allan/Christina Tyler), and 8253 (David/Rebecca Brown). They continued to enjoy a good battle with Matt and Mark taking first win followed by Allan and Christina, followed by David and Rebecca. The first Maidenhead entry being Julie Maidment sailing with ex-Maidenhead Commodore, Barry Wicks, in sixth. The first local boat being Andy Pearce and Ian Simpson in Blue Jay.

A quick turnaround got Race 2 off and away, with a crowded line it paid to hunt clear breeze, and a change of course necessary to combat the shifting breeze, the Race Officer added a fourth mark to offer a figure of eight course. Local sailors Stuart McAdam/Sarah Mayhew in 8211 finally got going and joined the leaders. Five boats fought hard to win the first beat with McAdam/Mayhew leading the boats around. They would maintain this lead through Race 2 holding off Fowler/Biggs and Tyler's for their first win. The pack sailed hard to maintain gains from the first beat and on completion of the race the teams headed back for a fine lunch.

Race three saw the events first general recall as boats at the pin end were over the line. With the entry swelling to eighteen boats in the afternoon. The Race Officer brought out the "I flag" to control the eager starters, fortunately, he didn't need to go further than the "I flag" for the rest of the day. The restart once again saw the fleet break left and right and those on the left-hand side in clear air did well. McAdam/Mayhew once again getting to the windward mark first. However, soon after rounding, and blanketed by the fleet, they lost the lead to Biggs/Fowler who found better pressure on the left-hand side of the run and powered down into first place by the second mark. They had height and pace on leg three that McAdam/Mayhew were unable to match. Wicks/Maidment stayed close and with the Brown's in hot pursuit the race was tight. The Tyler's slipping back in this race to a fifth place.

Race 4 saw Fowler/Biggs start on four points from the first three races, knowing a good performance in Race 4 would see them victorious, with the safety blanket of potentially a 5th race that would trigger a discard. All was to play for as Race 4 started. A strong showing from Witt/Young in 8130 brought a new dimension into the race, but it was the Tyler's who won the battle to the top mark followed by McAdam/Mayhew, who were hoping that the racing would go to five races with a ninth place counting. And that is how the race finished with Witt/Young stayed solid to take third place beating Fowler/Biggs into fourth, who in turn beat the Brown's to complete the top 5.

With time marching on and our visitors all facing long journeys home the OOD and RO decided enough was enough and that there would be no final race. This decision left competitors trying to work out what this meant to their final standings. Sure enough, with the SI's stating if four or fewer races were completed that all races must count. The podium wasn't quite as tight as it might have been with Mark Fowler and Matt Biggs enjoying a great event winning by 3 points over Allan and Christina Tyler with Stuart McAdam and Sarah Mayhew 3 points further back. The top three boats took wins across the four races and were each on the podium in each three of the four races. Ultimately, Matt Biggs and Mark Fowler showed early season consistency with their worst result being a 4th place.

The battle for the Silver fleet was won by Maidenhead's Victoria McCabe, sailing competitively in her beautiful wooden boat "Curvaceous" with youngster Tara Miller who was drafted in late as crew. They beat Chris Webb and Nigel Dunn (who selflessly gave up his crew positing for Chris' nephew Max to compete in the afternoon races). Geriant Head and Buddy Hunt won the "First Junior" prize. Buddy is a talented Optimist sailor who is travelling on the circuit, and Geriant a regular Solo sailor, they sailed very well in an "out of condition" Speed Albacore last competitively raced in the 2017 Internationals!

The spirit of the racing was conducted in a wonderfully friendly, fair, and congenial way, yet the quality of racing was extremely high throughout the fleet. The event was blessed with some wonderful racing, incredible weather and tasty food and beverages by a team we are indebted to, too many to mention but have been thanked by the club.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
18192Gran TorinoMatt BiggsMark FowlerBlithfield SC12148
28236Wire‑LessAllan TylerChristina TylerLyme Regis SC235111
38211Snake EyesStuart McAdamSarah MayhewMaidenhead SC912214
48253Al Go RhythmDavid BrownEmma BrownWhitefriars SC354517
58132ALBarry WicksJulie MaidmentWhitefriars SC643619
681868186Andrew YatesEd MaggsOlton Mere SC496827
78130Garden LeaveHoward WittDave YoungMaidenhead SC10118332
88254Outrageous GraceTim ColemanEmma ColemanLeigh and Lowton SC5671636
98129Te Wero AlJon HirshJames GladwynMaidenhead SC11811737
107525Blue JayAndrew PearceIan SimpsonMaidenhead SC710121039
118262You can call me AlGraham DarvillMyke BowersBroadwater SC8791842
127988CurvaceousVictoria McCabeTara MillerMaidenhead SC1214131150
138069MagicalChris WebbNigel Dunn/MaxMaidenhead SC1313151253
145866ALiceJames KearnsJenni Heward‑CraigMaidenhead SC1512141354
158151Maybe AngelsMartin HaywardLucy HaywardMaidenhead SC191910957
168188Aaron's LadyGeraint HeadBuddy HuntMaidenhead SC1415161459
177752AlbicoreRobert EdwardsEd MessengerMaidenhead SC1616171564
188237CrystalMatthew Metcalfe‑SmithEmma Metcalfe‑SmithOgston SC1919191976

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