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K1 Midland Area Championship at Rutland Sailing Club

by Hilly King 13 Jul 2023 13:22 BST 8-9 July 2023

The K1 Midland Area Championship was held over the weekend of 8th/9th July at Rutland Sailing Club. It was held together with the Formula One National Championship (the yachts not the cars) although the British GP was also being held over the same weekend at Silverstone which is not far from Rutland Water.

Visitors who dropped their boats off on Friday afternoon were greeted with bright sunshine, temperatures in excess of 28 degrees and a constant breeze of between Force 3 gusting Force 5. All looked excellent for the weekend, however what a difference a day makes. Saturday was what can only be described as a race officer's nightmare with flat calms followed literally by electrical storms. Very sensibly after the fleet had been on the shore waiting for either a breeze or a clear 30 minutes after the last electrical storm the races were cancelled for the day. A fabulous BBQ was supplied on Saturday night by the club, which allowed the fleet to catch up with each other in a social setting and all were looking forward to Sunday where the race team had arranged a four race series back to back, so an early start as weather forecast looked favourable.

Sunday dawned with clear skies and a light southerly wind. The fleet left the shore and after a slow 30 minute sail to the sailing area were held by the race team for the predicted increase in wind to fill across the reservoir. The wind duly obliged and the windward / leeward courses were set.

The first race saw Jeremy Hudson (RYA) together with Ian Duke and Hilly King both from Datchet Water SC heading along the shore, whilst Geoff King (Tewkesbury and Bartley) Phil King (Bartley) and Anthony Evill (Rutland) took the opposite bank and the predicted port lift. Place changing was taking place throughout the fleet but at the windward mark Hilly had established a lead from Jeremy and Ian. The off wind leg was a choice between staying in pressure or taking a more direct route to the gate. Hilly and Ian selected the pressure whereas Jeremy and Geoff took the direct route. Antony still improving slipped past Phil and Mike Morgan and David Pritchett (both from Rutland) selected different gate marks trying to pick up lifts in the centre of the course. The second beat saw Hilly and Jeremy pulling away from the fleet but there was little between them as they started the last off wind leg. Hilly held on to win with Jeremy second with Ian just pipping Geoff for third.

The second race saw Geoff leading the fleet with Hilly and Jeremy in close attendance. Ian and Phil were recovering from slow starts but again making progress on the front runners. David was leading the home sailors who again chose a more central route to the windward mark so it would be interesting to see who had chosen correctly. At the windward mark Jeremy held a slight lead over Hilly with Ian and Geoff having their own tussle slightly further back. The fleet all bunched together as the wind lightened slightly on the off wind leg, however it was Jeremy and Hilly who had again developed a slight gap by the time the fleet reached the gate marks. Ian and Geoff had made good progress as had Phil and David so a bunch of four boats all rounded within a few seconds of each other. The next windward leg saw Jeremy and Hilly swapping places regularly and it was clear that both boats were going very fast. Jeremy just held a slight lead on the final off wind leg, however Hilly was not to be denied and slipped past to hold on for his second win, closely followed by Jeremy in second. Third was a battle between four boats and Ian again just pipped Geoff and Phil to the line.

Thankfully the wind increased again for the third race and the start was to prove crucial with Jeremy opting for the pin end of the line and Hilly the windward side. Once clear of the slightly confused line it was Jeremy who was leading this time followed by Geoff and David. Hilly worked his way back to be on Jeremy's transom when the fleet turned the windward mark for the first time, closely followed by Ian and Geoff, but the whole fleet were so close giving anyone an opportunity to break into the top three. The fleet continued to be competitive and swap places throughout the race but the last off wind leg to the finish was an indication of how close the racing in the fleet can be. Jeremy took the win with Hilly a very close second however the rest of the fleet arrived together at the gate mark, Ian again was able to take third with Geoff fourth.

The last race would prove crucial in the overall result and a head to head between Hilly and Jeremy. Anything other than a Jeremy win would give the championship to Hilly who was the winner of the last K1 open event at Medway YC. At the start Ian and Jeremy were over the line and having to return, Hilly was clear but in the least favoured position close to the Southerly shore in light wind. Phil and David had the best starts and were pulling clear of the chasing pack seemingly taking the required shifts and ignoring those less favourable At the windward mark David and Phil rounded together closely followed by Jeremy who had recovered brilliantly and Hilly who had been able to get back into pressure after playing the shifts correctly.

The offwind leg saw Hilly covering Jeremy so by the time the leaders reached the gate David and Phil were still out in front and neck and neck with each other. David opted to take the Southerly gate and Phil opted for the opposite gate mark which was to prove the correct decision and was followed by Jeremy and Hilly. The final windward leg saw both Jeremy and Hilly catch up to Phil but there was no way past as Phil stayed between the mark and the chasing boats until a vicious header appeared from nowhere! Jeremy was first to react and was able to slip past Phil and lead at the windward mark with Phil and Hilly in close attendance. Despite Hilly being able to pass Phil on the off wind leg Jeremy held on to take the win and with it tie the open meeting as Hilly finished second and Phil third. On count back Jeremy had therefore won the closest of events and retained his Midland Championship crown with Hilly second and Ian third.

Overall Results (top three)

1st Jeremy Hudson
2nd Hilly King
3rd Ian Duke

Masters prize, Phil King
Seniors prize, Geoff King
Veterans prize, David Pritchett

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