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Sailingfast Thames Valley Grand Prix ILCA Open at Papercourt Sailing Club

by Andrew Hill-Smith 25 Apr 09:11 BST 21 April 2024
Papercourt ILCA Open © Peter Snow

Bright, blustery, and cold - the conditions set the stage for a testing ILCA class event at Papercourt Sailing Club, Surrey, on Sunday, 21st April. The event is part of the Sailingfast, Thames Valley Grand Prix ILCA series. With 21 competitors including 8 in ILCA 7 and 13 in ILCA 6, there were visitors from Wembley, Fairlop Waters SC, Reading and elsewhere, braving the elements.

Breezy conditions and unpredictable gusts made for a test of skill and strategy on the water. The wind tracked left in the afternoon, which opened up opportunities for some gains on the larger shifts. In both the ILCA 6 and ILCA 7 fleets, the competition was tight, with leading positions changing hands multiple times in each race.

In the morning in the ILCA 7 fleet, Simon, who was clearly still revved up from landing that morning from an internation flight, took poll position for the first race. Then Bruce gathered himself from an earlier messy start to take first place for the second race.

In the afternoon, most of the ILCA 7 sailors took a turn at the front, but Bruce held onto the habit of coming out ahead at the finish line, with a selection of others taking second.

A tasty and welcome hot lunch provided much-needed sustenance, fuelling the competitors for the races in the afternoon. Many thanks to Jill, Cathy, Colin and Sue for pulling together a great spread.

The ILCA 6 fleet was evenly spread with women and men and we saw rare appearances from club sailors Lauren Irons, who was fresh back from her 4th at the Youth Nationals, and Kaitlyn Wyatt, with her first sail back after a very recent appendix surgery.

Race 1 consisted of gusty and shifty conditions and quickly became a tussle between Lauren and Kaitlyn, the lead was constantly changing, with Lauren snatching the win on the finish line. Race 2 was a battle between Lauren and Andrew with Kaitlyn closely following in 3rd, Lauren was able to take her second victory of the morning.

During Race 3 we saw a close match between Christopher and Kaitlyn during the first lap, with Kaitlyn able to break away and secure her first win of the day. Race 4 began with a messy congested line, sending half the fleet off into the bank. This resulted in the fleet staying very bunched up, Kaitlyn managed to break away from the pack, leaving five fighting for room at the gate marks. This was particularly entertaining for those watching from the clubhouse although they missed taking photos. This resulted in Kaitlyn winning, Christopher 2nd and Lauren in 3rd.

In the ILCA 7 fleet, the winners were all from Papercourt SC. It was Bruce Ramshaw who emerged triumphant, with Simon Hamment finishing in second place and Andrew Hill-Smith from claiming third. He was very pleased.

Special mentions need to go to some open meeting first timers. Joe took time out from looking after his newborn, to chase the 7s around the lake. Russ completed all four races in the 6s and has definitely earned his ILCA stripes. Shirley came in a commendable 5th despite the tough conditions. And a final mention to Andrew Boyce, who has sailed a lot, but stepped across from his Solo to remind us that he knows what he is doing on Papercourt lake.

Race officers Martin and Ann played a pivotal role in ensuring the smooth running of the event. Their expertise in setting a course that maximized the usage of the lake, coupled with getting all races under way in good time, was commendable.

Many thanks go to the rescue crews. Their vigilance and quick response ensured the safety of the competitors throughout the day.

As the day drew to a close and the sailors returned to shore, there was a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in the air. Despite the cold winds and challenging conditions, the ILCA Open had been a resounding success, showcasing the skill, determination, and camaraderie of all the sailors. This last bit was AI generated so apologies if you think it is a bit cheesy!!

We had fun.

And thank you to Sailingfast for their role as lead sponsor for the Grand Prix Series.

The next event in the Thames Valley series is at Fisher's Green on 4th May. Other future events are on the ILCA events page:

ILCA 7 Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st197342Bruce RamshawPapercourt‑41113
2nd207591Simon HammentPapercourt1‑2225
3rd215492Andrew Hill‑SmithPapercourt235‑610
4th222771Richard LympossPepercourt34‑6411
5th209002Colin CarverWembly SC‑663312
6th204719Andrew McLeishFairlop Waters SC‑554514
7th136074Joseph WatsonPapercourt777(DNC)21
8th179587Gavin GoldblattPapercourt(DNC)DNCDNCDNC27

ILCA 6 Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st222770Kaitlyn WyattPapercourt2‑3114
2nd203312Lauren IronsPapercourt11‑335
3rd218940Christopher Kilshaw ‑44228
4th202214Andrew BoycePapercourt32‑449
5th203275Shirley VannPapercourt65‑7516
6th173517Liz Hill‑SmithPapercourt57‑8618
7th208650Victoria RobinsonPapercourt‑765718
8th181643Susan LewisPapercourt‑1086822
9th204965Paul Southall ‑12910928
10th160347Russell Bavington‑HallPapercourt‑111191030
11th200509Michael JamesPapercourt810(DNC)DNC31
12th181060Niall MaynardPapercourt912(DNC)DNC34

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