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2000 Inland Championship & West Country Boat Repairs Millennium Series 8 at Bough Beech Sailing Club

by Jay Whitehead 30 Oct 2023 10:18 GMT 14-15 October 2023
2000 class Inland Championship at Bough Beech © Alex Smith /

On a chilly Saturday morning in Kent, with spirits high, we saw 30 boats launch onto Bough Beech reservoir to fight it out for the 2000 class Inland Championship sponsored by West Country Boat Repairs.

Race one got under way first time with the usual suspects of Simon and Katie, Paul and Verity, Rob and Gemma and Pete and Sophie "Supercrew," shooting off the line with textbook timing and speed. The constantly shifting winds made for a single tack first beat, but a far more tactical spreader rounding than normal, just to add to the excitement, with the Doctors (Ian and Sarah) hunting down the lead pack. The front of the fleet had a few battles but they were long gone leaving the fight for the rest of the top 10 quite feisty.

Adrian and Roz, Jay and Alice, George and Sarah and Joff and Matthew, all chasing Joe and Sarah, Matt and Oliver, Ed and Ruben, for the elusive 10th place, though some great sailing by the latter 3 crew pairings held off the onslaught as the winds grew lighter. Unfortunately for the RNSA boat and RAF boat, Matt and Ross in the ASA boat were pulling away from the "peloton" to hunt down the breakaway group at the front with a much larger gap back to us other service boats than we would like to admit.

With the winds disappearing race 2 got under way very slowly, with helms and crews alike sitting on the foredecks to get their "bums out of the water". A wildly uneventful race which saw some very good light wind sailing from Chris and Gillian and Matt and Oliver, as they found wind where others couldn't and pulled away in a clear 1st and 2nd that they held for the whole race. Well done both sets of crews. A real mix up in the results, as always when it comes to light wind sailing, but Paul and Verity and Jonathan and Hayden, showed their consistency in all conditions by being at the front battling out for 3rd and 4th, and the Army (Matt and Ross) and Navy (Jay and Alice) fighting out for 5th and 6th.

As the wind increased again slightly, and eventually settled down after a few minutes of course resetting under AP, race 3 got under way.

Great starts by Jonathan and Hayden, Paul and Verity and Joe and Mike, saw them pulling away from all. Then out of the corner of my eye I spotted Simon and Katie already round the spreader marker and kite up before any of the former were rounding the windward mark. This speed continued as they pulled away further throughout the race, lapping nearly everybody in the fleet before the end of the race, with only the top 10 or 12 just about avoiding their clutches. Fantastic sailing in such tricky conditions.

The rest of the fleet were bunched for the rest of the race and there was a lot of chopping and changing around the course as the wind shifted, spinnakers shadowed, and even some "match racing" style gamesmanship was seen on the upwind legs...what fun all through the fleet, great to see.

In the evening, after racing, we enjoyed a drink and a chat in the club's friendly environment, while watching the rugby, before heading out for dinner. Thank you BBSC for waiting for the rugby to finish and not turfing us out earlier.

With the forecast promising lighter winds again on Sunday when we checked the previous evening, we were pleasantly surprised to see 10-14kts forecast for midday when we again checked in early morning, and it happened! By the time we launched on Sunday morning it was fairly consistent, though still quite shifty on the far side of the reservoir from the club. Races 4 and 5 saw us sharing a course with the Sunday club racing, which added to the required tactical thinking when crossing paths.

With the wind being different directions at each end of the start line, we saw quite a gathering at the pin end ready for a "port flyer," making for a very exciting start. Though yours truly, trying the same, gave a master class in how not to make a good start line decision, being last off the line by quite a way...sorry Alice.

As we finally approached the windward mark, it was great to hear that familiar humming sound of the 2000s starting to get on the plane. Chasing up through the fleet gave a great perspective of some of the tactical downwind battles that we are often involved in but don't get to see from the outside. Going left worked on lap 1, right worked on laps 2 and 3, then left again for laps 4 and 5. Joff and Matthew and Oli and Will, spotting all of this and gaining some great places downwind, top sailing!

Once again, consistency from Paul and Verity, Jonathan and Hayden, Rob and Gemma, Joe and Mike, Simon and Katie and Pete and Sophie, saw them the first group to finish yet again.

After some delays in trying to set the line straight, we got under way but with a large wind shift with 30 seconds to go, the pin end became highly favourable. Jay and Alice got the port flyer right this time and shot off the line, along with the ever-consistent Jonathan and Hayden, Joe and Mike and Paul and Verity.

Joe and Mike and Jay and Alice, pulled away quite significantly after rounding the top mark in 1st and 2nd. However, on lap 3, Pete and Sophie, Jonathan and Hayden and Rob and Gemma, found something extra downwind and started chasing down the lead boats. On lap 4, with Pete and Sophie breathing down their necks, a spinnaker issue for Jay and Alice saw them easily passed. A quick recovery allowed them to hold onto 4th in the end, but Pete and Sophie and Jonathan and Hayden were gone and chasing down the lead boat.

Some tactical sailing from Pete and Sophie saw them make the right call at the final spreader mark and steal the win in the race, closely followed by Joe and Mike, then Jonathan and Hayden. Terrible performance from Paul and Verity in this race as they finished 6th...makes you sick doesn't it.

Race 6 saw normal programming resumed as the race played out pretty much identically to the overall results.

We had the course back to ourselves now, but another set of delays as the wind decided to chuck in a couple of 120-degree wind shifts just to toy with the race committee who were really doing their best to get us under way.

The usual suspects shot off the line again, but this time the top 9 boats were all deeply embroiled in battling it out and nobody seemed to pull clear away. This is what we like to see, great sailing by all and plenty of position changes.

Some close battles in this race a bit further down the fleet as Joe and Sarah, Matt and Will, Joff and Matthew, George and Sarah and Jay and Alice were all fighting out for top 10 positions with plenty of position changes and many different tactics used by all involved. Joe and Sarah and Matt and Will coming out with the victories in that battle, great sailing.

Paul and Verity cemented their Inlands victory with the win in the final race. Jonathan and Hayden continued their consistent weekend with 3rd place, securing 2nd overall quite comfortably. In the battle for 3rd overall, Rob and Gemma finished 2nd in the final race to secure 3rd over Pete and Sophie in 4th.

The prize-giving was for both the Inland Championship and the West Country Boat Repairs Millennium Series, after which we were treated to a wonderful buffet spread that was unexpected but much appreciated.

Inland Championship Results: (top five)

1st - Paul Cullen (Spanner) and Verity Hopkins - WWSC
2nd - Jonathan and Hayden Ching - WWSC
3rd - Rob and Gemma Burridge - WWSC
4th - Pete Vincent and Sophie "Supercrew" Bentley - LSC/BCYC
5th - Joe and Mike Warwicker - BBSC

1st Family - Jonathan and Hayden Ching - WWSC
2nd Family - Matt and Oliver / Will Larkin - WWSC

Endeavour trophy - Chris Mills and Claire Dalby - WWSC

Millenium Series Results:

1st Gold Fleet / Overall - Pete Vincent and Sophie "Supercrew" Bentley LSC/BCYC
2nd Rob and Gemma Burridge - WWSC
3rd Matt Sargent and Ross Southwell - ASA
4th Iain and Sarah Yardley - RYA

1st Silver Fleet - Jay Whitehead and Alice Moore - RNSA

1st Family - Ed and Ruben Dodwell - RAFSA
2nd Family - Joff and Matthew Bailey - WWSC

We would like to extend a huge thank you to Bough Beech Sailing Club for their hospitality, the catering team and volunteers, and the race committee for putting together 6 great races in very tricky shifty conditions.

We would also like to thank Pete Vincent and West Country Boat Repairs for their sponsorship of the Millennium Series, the support really makes these events possible.

Looking forward to seeing you all in Cardiff for the Welsh Championship on 28th October.

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