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Kestrel National Championships 2023 at Mumbles Yacht Club

by Ken Scott-Brown 17 Aug 2023 13:24 BST 10-13 August 2023
Stewart Murdoch and Ken Scott-Brown win the Kestrel National Championships at Mumbles © Richard Woffinden

'Bore Da' from Mumbles Pier at the conclusion of the UK Kestrel Nationals, held at Mumbles Yacht Club in Swansea Bay in Wales following three exhilarating days of sailing in strong winds, only one day too strong to sail, the others providing champagne sailing conditions for the fleet of 13 boats, including a brand new Kestrel fresh from the Hartley's on its first outing.

Warm weather and a generally westerly weather pattern meant most course s were laid well west of Mumbles Point with the fleet, beating towards the clubhouse from the impressive Swansea waterfront Marina and Tower. The first day had more south in the wind and, it would conspire to gradually move round to the west later that day, which was to prove decisive.

The first start in particular, for the Draycote Trophy, was keenly contested, with one boat over the line at the start, but no further infringements during the regatta ensured the black flag was never deployed. With the strong winds, a good start was essential for a podium finish on any race but there were place changes through out the fleet on most legs of the course and every race was keenly contested throughout the fleet. Defending Champion Malcolm and Danielle Worsely took the first race from Chris Grice after a close race.

In the second race, for the Designers Trophy, two boats elected to try for a port flyer and this choice was vindicated by Stewart Murdoch who managed to cross the fleet on port, and then take advantage of the wind moving west and loosely cover the fleet for the rest of the beat and gradually open up a comfortable lead. With Malcolm taking second place from Chris Grice.

Friday saw a freshening breeze further out of the west, and a 2 mile sail out to the start. With three races, for the Kestrel 2000 Trophy, the Ashford Bowl and the Rock Trophy, each an hour or more in length to fit in, the race committee were kept very busy, and the Kestrels were all put through their heavy weather paces. They were rewarded with some super-fast three-sail reaches.

Stewart managed to combine the tide and the wind to squeeze up to the top mark first in each race with each first beat very closely contested. Calling the lay-line accurately making a huge difference to all members of the fleet. The reaches particularly involved very close sailing through out the fleet, with three or four abreast regularly and congested gybe mark rounding which could result in a two or three position place change.

Excellent all-round sailing in strong winds and exciting seas with a couple of capsizes.

The third and final race included a welcome shortening of the second beat at the top mark of the third beat saving the fleet the final triangle and long beating to get home. One of the many wise decisions from the excellent race committee to maximise the competition but also manage the workload on the teams. Stewart Murdoch and Ken Scott-Brown took line honours in all three races, the right-hand side of the course having paid off as on the Thursday beats.

Friday night highlight was the excellent house band who entertained the in clubhouse and the rooftop bar with 2 sets of rock classics. 'Comfortably Numb' being a good description of the many tired but satisfied crews. The band advised us 'Don't stop thinking about tomorrow', and those who checked the weather forecast were noting the forecast for gusts over 30 knots. Sure enough, on Saturday morning the race committee took some readings, and the wind was far too strong for sailing, as those who took a walk to the headland could attest (you could lean into the westerly half gale and watch the long Atlantic rollers curl past and break over Mumbles head). Great decision made early in the day.

Restored by an enforced by the lay-day and a superb joint class dinner with co-racing fleet the Hornets, all the Kestrels came out early on Sunday to conclude the regatta with Malcolm and Danielle looking to eat into the three-point margin held by Stewart and Ken.

In Race 6, for the Weir Wood Crystal, a very close start, again saw the right-hand side pay off and this time Murdoch took advantage of the clear air from the front to sprint away on the first leg of the three-sail reach which saw some of the fastest sailing of the week for all, in the freshening breeze under a blackening sky.

The second leg was shy providing a tight 2-sail screamer -with spray everywhere and lighting fast speed for all the boats. Malcolm and Danielle took second, followed by Chris Grice and Kenny Hobbs.

The final race, for the Ernie Miller Trophy saw the yellow Kestrel of Howie Enkel and Danni Tebbut correctly call the left-hand side of the course and open up a healthy lead over the first lap, however the next beat saw Murdoch get the shifts right to finish the regatta with another first place, Enkel took second from Grice; which was just enough to ensure that he and Danni took the bronze position over Chris and Kenny who were otherwise equal on net points.

The sun came out in the afternoon for the fleet to make it ashore to pack up and share stories from another epic UK Nationals, the second held in Wales in the last four years. A warm Welsh welcome gratefully received, and the class Chair thanked everyone at Mumbles for the hospitality, organisation and the weather. A trip to Mumbles comes highly recommended.

Thanks to Selden Spars for sponsorship and natty drybags, Hartley Boats for their super prizes and providing two boats. Next year Royal Tay Yacht Club will roll out the red carpet, and all are welcome!

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

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1stPure Dead Seathing1648Stewart MurdochKen Scott‑BrownRoyal Tay YC‑3‑1111115
2nd 1638Malcolm WorsleyDannielle WorsleyRoyal Tay YC12‑3222(DNC)9
3rdButtercup1574Howard EnkelDanni TebbuttMaylandsea Bay SC(DNC)5233‑6215
4thPure Genius1472Chris GriceKenny HobbsMaylandsea Bay SC23‑44(RET)3315
5thHark1650Rich Le MareLiz Le Mare 44‑654‑7421
6thRare Bird1636AlasdairStuart McGinnessRoyal Tay YC‑108‑9664529
7thSweet Janny B1637Jan BarnesPeter BarnesPorthpean678‑10(RET)5632
8thMiss Nomer1545Steven WorfDave HearsumCalshot SC5‑1259510(RET)34
9thBoat with no name1632Sandy BremnerAilsa AndersonRoyal Tay YC767‑8(RET)8735
10thWindhover1567Charlotte WhiteTanya Wilson ‑11‑111011711847
11th 1536Tom MooreJack Cawsey‑Williams/Tanya Wilson 91011‑128‑12947
12thOn the Fiddle1644Ian HunterBill WrightRoyal Tay YC89(DNC)7(RET)9RET48
13thAlchemy II1592Graeme BurtonBernita De WettHerne Bay(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC75
13thRed1649Larry KingStephen OlsonSaratoga Lake(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC75

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