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The Chasewater Sprint Championships and Commodore's Cup

by Chris Anderson 9 Jul 19:36 BST 6-7 July 2024
The Chasewater Sprint Championships and Commodore's Cup © Grace Leszczynski

The Chase Sprint Championships took place on July 6th, 2024, featuring an intense series of 15 races. With a start planned for 11am and England set to play Switzerland in the Euro 2024 Quarter Final at 5pm, OOD Chris Anderson and his team faced a tight schedule. They kicked off promptly at 11 AM, launching all boats on time.

The first block of 5 races was to be sailed on a Trapezoid course. The fleet of 20 club boats, ranging from a Lightning 368 to an RS300 and Blaze, sailed in steady winds of 8-10 knots, gusting up to 15-18 knots. The starts were strategic, and the first beat crucial due to the one-lap format. Nine boats secured top 3 results in this initial session, with Paul Lester in his Finn achieving a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, setting him up well for the rest of the day.

After a lunch break and score tallying by the race team, the OOD briefed the sailors in the clubhouse. The next session, races 6 to 10, used a Triangle-Sausage course setup. These races proved tricky due to shifting winds causing a biased start line. Race 7 saw the only general recall of the day when Sam Coxon attempted to sail through the committee boat. The wind continued to shift, making subsequent starts challenging, but the race team adapted by adjusting the windward mark and start line. In this session, 10 boats secured top 3 results. Graham Flynn in his Laser won three of the five races, Paul Lester took race 10, and Mark Blackham in his Blaze won race 8. The GP14 class, including Neil Davis and Michelle Evans, Rob Stringer and Pete Tate, and Steve McCarthy and Isabel Tate, also performed well.

The second session concluded with a well-earned break. Signs of stress and fatigue were evident, but the OOD called the fleet back for the final 5 Windward-Leeward courses. Race 11 started around 3:15 PM, with only 1 hour and 45 minutes left to complete the championship before the big Euro football match. The wind had settled but dropped to 5-10 knots. Each race lasted about 8 minutes, and the competition was fierce as sailors vied for the podium.

Paul Lester in his Finn excelled in this last set, winning 3 of the 5 races. The GP14 of Neil and Michelle secured a 3rd and 2nd place, while Graham Flynn took a 1st and two 3rds. Racing concluded at 4:30 PM, allowing sailors just enough time to pack up, change, and grab a pint before the football match.

The evening featured a grand BBQ organized by Trish Blackham and her catering team, with two barrels of fresh cask ale on tap. Over 80 friends and family gathered in the bar for an evening of football, sailing stories, and excellent food. At halftime, the Commodore, Dave Watkins, thanked the team and sailors for enduring 15 races. The results were announced: Graham Flynn took 3rd in the Laser, Neil Davis and Michelle Evans secured 2nd in the GP14, and Paul Lester, with a stellar performance, won 1st overall in his Finn.

Sailors enjoyed a fantastic evening, with the bar the busiest it's been all year and an electric atmosphere. However, work awaited on Sunday, July 7th.

With three handicap races to complete the Commodore's Cup. The intense 15-race sprint championship from the previous day seemed to have taken its toll on the sailors, as turnout was slightly lower, but it was wonderful to see some new club members joining the fun.

OOD Chris Anderson continued with the championship courses for those who missed out the previous day. A briefing was held at 10:30 AM for an 11 AM start. Race one featured a Trapezoid course with a gate a third of the way up the first beat. Eleven boats lined up at the start, and the race commenced on time. With a stellar start from Finn Watson, Sam Coxon, and Elsa Minton, it was bound to be a close battle. Sam Coxon led around the windward mark and dominated the first race to the finish. Close racing across the fleet was a joy to watch and the race team noted how great it was to see Sunday rookies smiling and laughing. Once the handicaps were calculated, Sam Coxon took 1st, Finn Watson 2nd, and Elsa Minton 3rd, with Brian Westley, Dave Blackburn, and Paul Gibara finishing 8th, 9th, and 10th respectively.

After lunch, race two was delayed as a storm system passed over the water, shifting the wind. The race team quickly adapted, setting a Triangle-Sausage course. With the wind now down to 5 knots and constantly shifting, this race was tricky. Ten boats got off the line cleanly. Russell Lutwych and James Harris in the Icon joined the mix, with Finn Watson's Laser closely following in 3rd. Big wind shifts led to constant position changes. Ant Morris and Margaret in the Enterprise, Mark Blackham in the Blaze, and Dave Blackburn mid-fleet sailed hard for points. The race concluded with Sam Coxon 1st on the water, followed by Russell and James in the Icon, and Finn Watson 3rd. Handicaps placed Finn 1st, Sam 2nd, and Russell 3rd.

With the wind dropping, the race team decided to run the third race back-to-back without a break, keeping the same Triangle-Sausage course. The third race saw close sailing and constant place changes over 50 minutes. Sam Coxon finished first on the water, followed by Mark Blackham in the Blaze and Russell and James 3rd. However, once handicaps were applied, Elsa Minton in the ILCA 6 emerged victorious, with Finn Watson 2nd, Mark Blackham 3rd, Ant in his Enterprise 4th, and Sam in his Phantom 5th. It was a spectacular race to watch.

Sailors packed up in the rain and retired to the bar for refreshments and prize-giving. The Commodore thanked the OOD and rescue teams for a great day. The results were announced: 6th and 5th places were tied on 8 points and went to countback, placing Ant and Margaret in their Enterprise 6th overall and Russell and James in the Icon 5th. Mark Blackham in his Blaze took 4th, and Elsa Minton finished 3rd in the ILCA 6. 1st and 2nd were also tied and decided on countback; 2nd was awarded to Sam in the Phantom, and 1st went to Finn Watson in his ILCA 7.

In conclusion, The Chase Sailing Club hosted an exhausting yet rewarding weekend with 18 races, a huge BBQ, and an amazing social evening. The effort was well worth it to see so many club members and families joining in the fun, whether on the water, volunteering, or just supporting The Chase Sailing Club. Personally, I am proud to be a member of such a great, successful club and credit must go to the Commodore Dave Watkins for his continued hard work.

Chasewater Sprint Championships Results:

PosFleetClassSail NoHelmCrewPYR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12R13R14R15Pts
1stFastFINN658P Lester 1047‑521‑732‑942111.512222.5
2ndSlowGP1414032Neil DavisMichelle Evans113833314‑92‑533452‑7336
3rdSlowILCA 6 / Laser Radial195242Graham Flynn 1154(DNC)(DNC)42811215(DNS)733138
4thFastBLAZE774Mark Blackham 103371‑1065.54‑7.514731.551(DNC)46
5thSlowGP1413751Rob StringerPeter Tate11381‑853‑774‑95.522465448.5
6thSlowGP1413326Steve McCarthyI Tate11384‑9245.553‑6(RET)45346550.5
7thFastICON11Russell LutwycheJ Harris9766‑129‑11‑10368797684679
8thSlowENTERPRISE23141Anthony MorrisMargret and J Vyse11339.5‑1412‑12.51111111110(DNF)88787113.5
9thFastRS300346E Hyland 96521379267.535.5(DNF)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC118
10thFastRS200970Adam FroggattE Minton10461110(DSQ)8113107966(DNF)(DNF)DNCDNC123
11thSlowGP1413253N VyseN Spur11389.57111012851088(DNC)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNC130.5
12thFastICON8J VyseF Watson976124131515121212(RET)(DNF)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC179
14thSlowLIGHTNING 368407Bryan Westley 1160151181414(DNF)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC209
15thFastRS4001249Peter FaulstrohCrew9391715161616(DNS)(DNC)1311(DNF)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC209
16thFastPHANTOM1403Steve Turner 100014161412.59(DNF)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC212.5
17thSlowILCA 6 / Laser Radial210917Elsa Minton 115486(DNS)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC224
18thSlowLIGHTNING 368404Carmen Evans 11601617151717(DNS)(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC229

Commodore's Cup Results:

PosFleetSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3Pts
1stSlow210288Fin Watson ‑2123
2ndFast1450Sam Coxon 12‑53
3rdSlow210917Elsa Minton 3‑514
4thFast774Mark Blackham 4‑637
5thFast11R LutwycheJ Harris53‑78
6thSlow21810A MorrisM Cameron‑7448
7thSlow5463Dave Pickering 6‑8612
8thSlow407B Westley ‑87815
9thSlow4955Trish Blackham (DNS)9918
10thFast1359D Blackburn 910(DNC)19
11thSlow1531P Gibera 10(DNF)1020

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