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K1 Midland Area Championship at Barnt Green Sailing Club

by Hilly King 25 Mar 12:34 GMT 23 March 2024

The K1 Midland Area Championship was held on Saturday 23rd March at Barnt Green SC. The weather forecast predicted winds from force 5 gusting to force 7 and the fleet of 16 boats who participated were not to be disappointed.

This Open Meeting was the first of the year and therefore an ideal opportunity to catch up with friends old and new. The K1 Class is run like an extended family and it was a great pleasure to see Alf Hawksworth (previous National Champion) coming to spectate and support the sailors. The early wind conditions looked less strong than the predicted winds, so after the briefing by Race Officer Bob Suggitt, the fleet all made their way to the starting area. No sooner had the fleet got onto the water than the wind picked up and gave us a taste of what lay ahead. Coupled with the lack of water depth in the vicinity of the starting area first to demonstrate how to pirouette a K1 whilst aground was Simon Patterson, gracefully exiting his boat, but not before two others had joined him stuck fast. None however could at this stage come close to Simon's artistic markings.

The race commenced and it was to give an early insight into how the racing was to develop. At the windward mark Simon Hawkes rounded first, closely followed by Leighton King and then Ian Duke and Hilly King arriving together. Behind, the place changing was significant depending on the gusts, taking the correct lifts and staying out of the lulls caused by the clubhouses. As the race progressed Simon and Leighton opened up a considerable lead on the rest of the fleet with Ian keeping them honest. Richard Sims was making a significant push to get on terms and he caught Ian but could not make any impression on the front two. Jeremy Hudson and Geoff King were making steady progress through the fleet after indifferent starts but too late to make any impact on the front runners.

At the finish Simon took the bullet with Leighton second, Richard third and Ian fourth.

After a relaxing lunch break a slightly depleted fleet set off for the second race. The wind strength was following a similar pattern to the first race with significant gusts and huge headers coupled with lifts which varied from one boat to another.

The pattern of the race was to prove similar to the first with Simon rounding the windward mark first, again followed by Leighton in second, however this time a small gaggle of boats arrived together. These included Richard, Ian, Geoff and Phil King with Jeremy closing fast. Clearly Simon Etter was still thinking he could gain better artistic marks than Simon so on the second lap did a perfect back flip with pike, however his entry caused a large splash so his marks were still shy. Likewise Peter Hogg was demonstrating that swimming is a skill for life, but alas his entry was reported as far less dramatic than Simon.

Whilst the race was progressing with Simon and Leighton giving a master class of sailing in very shifty conditions the chasing pack were joined by Jeremy only to see him hit something significant in the water, sail backwards, and yes a very large carp surfaced either stunned or worse, floating behind him. The beat from the last mark to the finish was to prove incredibly eventful with Simon now clear but Leighton was to fall foul of a vicious change in wind direction, with Richard the recipient of an equally unexpected lift. The finishing order was Simon first, Richard second, Leighton third and Ian fourth.

The last race was sailed back to back, after a significant number had retired from the second race due to either body or equipment failure.

With Simon having won the meeting there was all to play for with Leighton and Richard tied on points. Simon decided not to race the last race and from the start Leighton had a clear lead, however Jeremy having had a great start was close and keeping the pressure on Leighton. At the end of the second lap whilst leading Leighton noticed his jib furler was loosening and in significant winds clearly had a decision to make. Whilst deliberating with himself Jeremy slipped past, however they had a decent lead over Richard and Ian and the fast catching Jason King so Leighton decided to continue to race.

The following laps saw Leighton pull out a considerable lead over the chasers and at the finish took the bullet securing second overall. Jeremy took second with Richard third and the consistent Ian in fourth.

Overall Results:

1 Simon Hawkes
2 Leighton King
3 Richard Sims
4 Jeremy Hudson
5 Ian Duke

Masters: Simon Patterson
Seniors : Simon Etter
Veterans: Geoff King

1st Barnt Green Boat: Geoff King

All agreed the Open meeting sponsored by Ovington and Maypole was an outstanding success and we look forward to the next one which is to be held at Datchet Water Sailing Club on 20th/21st April. We look forward to welcoming more new members into the fold.

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