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Allen Flying Fifteen UK Inland Championship at Chew Valley Lake Sailing Club

by Bill Chard 5 Sep 2023 17:18 BST 2-3 September 2023
Allen Flying Fifteen UK Inland Championship at Chew Valley Lake © James Williams

Like many of us, I can remember when you just turned up at an Open Meeting and sat it out, drinking coffee, until some wind appeared. Unfortunately these days there are any number of online weather forecasts to tell you it's likely to be a weekend of more sitting around than sailing, and the Flying Fifteen Inlands this year was a good illustration of the impact this can have!

Nevertheless, the fleet that did turn out at Chew Valley for the 2023 Inland Championship sponsored by Allen, over the weekend of 2 & 3 September, was of a high standard, including the current inland champions and many teams with a record of top results.

Saturday started still and misty, but by mid morning the mist was lifting, and by time the briefing was done at 1115 there was a steady breeze from the expected direction and somewhere above 7 knots. The fleet launched, navigated through a flotilla of fishing boats, and arrived in the start area in time for the racing to get under way right on schedule at 1230.

Race Officer John Smalley cautiously set 2 laps of a windward-leeward course for race 1, and the competitors started to get used to some extremely variable conditions. In fact, the fleet got round the course quicker than expected and finished well within the target time. Race 1 winners were John Hanson and Helen Selden, followed by David McKee and Mal Hartland, with Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett in third. Behind them, more than one of us found in the fickle conditions it was perfectly possible to lose 6 places on the final short run to the finish!

After that short race to become accustomed to the conditions, race 2 was doubled in length to 4 laps of the same course. It was becoming clear that the middle of the course was rarely a fun place to be, and there was a definite left/right split in the fleet on the upwind legs. Andy McKee and Richard Jones led for the first 2 laps but hadn't spotted the increase to 4 laps and were passed at the bottom of the second run by David McKee and Mal, who went on to take the race followed by Dave Lucas and Nick Stone in second, and John and Helen in third.

Race 3 was more of the same, this time Dave Lucas, teamed up for the first time with local Chew expert Nick Stone, read the conditions best and took the win. Second were Ben Cooper and Richard Bundock, followed by Andy McKee and Richard Jones.

With a perfectly timed schedule for the afternoon, John managed to get a fourth race in before the wind started to fade, ensuring that whatever Sunday delivered we would have a discard. David and Mal took their second race win, followed by Ben and Richard, then Tim and Jo Johnson from the home club in third.

Sunday's forecast had been looking a bit sketchy all week, and so it turned out. From the many available forecasts, the Race Team had managed to find one that hinted we may get a sailable breeze by midday, but it turned out just to be enough to tease for a few minutes before fading again. Racing was cancelled at 1200 and the results at the end of day 1 stood.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st4065David MckeeMal HartlandDovestone SC21‑514
2nd3904Ben CooperRichard BundockGrafham Water SC‑64228
3rd4094John HansonHelen SeldenRYA136‑710
4th4017Dave LucasNick StoneGraffam Water SC‑1021811
5th3760Jeremy DavyMartin HuettDraycote Water SC3‑54512
6th4005Andy McKeeRichard JonesDovestone SC‑763413
7th3795Tim JohnsonJo JohnsonChew Valley Lake4‑1010317
8th4055Ian PinnellIan CadwalladerChew Valley Lake57‑12618
9th4069Bill ChardJosh PreaterChew Valley Lake‑997925
10th4080Simon PattersonSimon ThompsonDraycote Water SC88‑111026
11th3969Peter CardStephen CardCowes Corinthian‑131281333
12th4030Alastair StevensonDavid CulpanHISC1111‑131133
13th4041Simon CooperAlastair CooperBewl Sailing Assoc12139‑1434
14th3948Rob HiigginsJayeChew Valley Lake1414(DNF)1240

The UK Flying Fifteen Association, and Chew Valley Lake SC, are grateful for the generous sponsorship by Allen, who provided prizes for the event.

The Flying Fifteen open meeting calendar continues through September, with events at Dovestone and South Cerney next weekend, and then the National Championships 21-24 September at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy - also the venue for the next World Championship in 2025.

See you all in Weymouth!

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