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Shustoke SC ILCA Midland Grand Prix sponsored by Sailingfast

by Olly Saunders 12 Apr 11:34 BST 6 April 2024

Despite the rather wild forecast of 40+knot gusts courtesy of Storm Kathleen, six visitors joined six home boats for the annual Shustoke SC ILCA Midland Grand Prix, sponsored by Sailingfast.

Eighteen hours before the first warning signal, the decision was made to hold the open meeting despite a number of similar events being postponed or cancelled. As a result, we were treated to a display of exceptional boat handling, skill, determination and some rather spectacular capsizes.

The first race got under way just after 11am with local helm Jamie Cuxson first round the windward mark, followed closely by John Ling of Bartley SC. The two looked set for an epic battle, however Cuxson suffered a windward dunking on the second beat that cost him the lead and was unable to regain his position at the front. Ling led the fleet for the majority of the race except for when Simon Hardiman (Bartley SC) got past him on lap 2 for a short period of time.

The fleet consisted of a number of ILCA 7's, 6's and two ILCA 4's. Megan Hardiman sailing her ILCA 4 sailed an exceptional race, was never far from the very front of the fleet and demonstrated fantastic technique in the conditions. After 3 laps, the race officer shortened course, only to find the committee boat drifting and having to hold the line under power against the battering wind! In the end it was Ling who took line honours, followed by Keeling and then Megan Hardiman. On corrected time however, Megan took the win by over 3 minutes, showing just how dominant she had been.

Race 1

1st Megan Hardiman
2nd John Ling
3rd Paul Keeling

The conditions had built throughout the first race and at the warning signal for race 2, which was back to back with the first, it seemed as though the peak of the forecast was being reached. A number of capsize casualties from race 1 had retired and the fleet on the start line had shrunk by four. Again they were away first time and it was Ling and Keeling battling each other at the front of the fleet. Unfortunately the weather took its toll on some of the competitors who started the race and a number of them retired after several capsizes.

The award for most spectacular capsize of the day goes to Jamie Cuxson, who was unlucky as a massive gust downwind caused him to pitchpole, then flip into a capsize, before righting the boat without getting wet! I asked how he managed it but he doesn't know either! All sailors suffered multiple capsizes and the rescue crews were becoming increasingly busy. After 2 laps, the race officer shortened course, leaving Ling to claim the victory by 3 minutes and 10 seconds from Paul Keeling in 2nd place and Jamie Cuxson in 3rd, while race 1 winner Megan was in 5th after suffering some long capsizes.

Race 2

1st John Ling
2nd Paul Keeling
3rd Jamie Cuxson

The sailors came off the water for lunch and decided for themselves that two races in the conditions were enough and so called it a day. This meant that John Ling won the meeting with Paul Keeling 2nd and Megan Hardiman 3rd.

At the prize-giving John thanked the club and all the volunteers who helped throughout the day.

Overall Results:

PosRigSail NoHelmClubPYR1R2Pts
1stILCA 7 / Laser224155John LingBartley SC1102213
2ndILCA 7 / Laser108827Paul KeelingBlithfield SC1102325
3rdILCA 4 / Laser 4.7212087Megan HardimanBartley SC1213156
4thILCA 7 / Laser8Jamie CuxsonShustoke SC1102437
5thILCA 7 / Laser212061Simon HardimanBartley SC1102549
6thILCA 7 / Laser186067Alex HomerMidland SC11026RET19
7thILCA 6 / Laser Radial166142Tim MardonShustoke SC11547RET20
8thILCA 7 / Laser197774Carl AveryBurton SC11028DNC21
9thILCA 4 / Laser 4.7198166Lucinda ThorntonShustoke SC12139RET22
10thILCA 7 / Laser200088John DransfieldShustoke SC1102RETDNC26
10thILCA 6 / Laser Radial178350Tim MakepeaceShustoke SC1154RETDNC26
10thILCA 6 / Laser Radial161552Andy WardShustoke SC1154RETDNC26

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