Avian Flu Outbreak in Birmingham and the Midland District Winter Series IOM Event Regrettably, following…
Bournville RS&MBC were hosts to this years R36 National championship on Sunday 7th November, twelve skippers had booked in for the event which was being run by Vic Bellerson as officer of the day. Whilst the skippers were assembling their boats, Vic donned the waders and moved a couple of the buoys at the leeward end of the lake. The wind was coming from the NW direction over the bridge in the top left-hand corner for those who know the lake layout.
I measured the wind speed before the first race and got a reading of 3-5mph with gusts around the 7mph mark, so all the skippers had opted for their largest rigs.
Vic called the skippers together for the initial briefing at 9:50am welcoming everyone to Bournville and once all the basic instructions about safety and it being a public park had been completed, he described the course.
Basically, the start line was almost at the far right of the lake with the first mark being in the top left-hand side, at times this was in a wind shadow from the trees and at others it was ideally placed, then to a spreader mark and a run down the control bank side to a gate at the bottom. Vic said that they would sail two laps and finish on a beat at the top end between two marks. Before racing started Vic also said that we were going to take a break at 11:00am to gather in the club house for a minute’s silence. After our break the bells around Bournville were rung out in memory of the fallen.
So, let’s just go back a bit first, in the run up to the event I had met Chris H at the IOM Ranking at Two Islands RYC, and he said that he was getting a new boat for this year’s National, and a second was being built for Bill Green. These were to a new Martin Dovey “Dark Matter” design, and this event would be the first time on the water for both as I understand they were still being finished on the Saturday before the event. Chris H (21) was ready for the first race whilst Bill G (145) was doing a few last-minute adjustments so missed the first couple of races.
Chris was fast out of the blocks winning the first race in style, with Peter Moore’s Sybora (24) in second, it was shaping up to be a good test of the new boat against a proven design.
Race two and it was Peter M who pipped Chris H this time with the older Deception design of Simon Pope (19) in third. Simon P was sailing the only boat in the fleet using a swing rig.
After race three we took the break mentioned above, a quick brew and re-trim for most of the boats and we were back on the water. Conditions were similar with a few more gusts coming down the lake, this lead some of the boats being slightly over pressed and washing the dust off the decks. Chris’s new boat did appear to handle these conditions well and was running quite flat, he remarked to me at the time that when water got onto the deck most of it appeared to run off the back.
Just before lunch Simon P (19) was having issues with his swing rig towards the bottom gate, it was just being over powered in the conditions and he broached a couple of times with the mast flat to the water, this was not the only bit of excitement though as Mick Barnett (45) and Peter Moore (24) were very close at the finish line and Peter was concentrating on his boat so much he stepped off the side of the lake straight into the water. He was helped from the water and quickly escorted into the boat house where he could get out of the wet clothing. Bournville had a box with dry towels and some basic clothing in, so Peter was able to get changed quickly whilst the other skippers started to recover his boat and equipment. By the time Peter had changed he was given a hot drink and his car keys, mobile phone, and radio equipment were being dried out with paper towels and a fan heater.
We all took a break for lunch at this point and once Peter was warmed up, he decided to retire from racing for the day, as it was felt that it would be best to get home and sort things out.
Hope that you are all OK now Peter.
It is easily done and the fact that Bournville had thought about this as a possibility and had put things in place just in case was proven to be a sensible precaution.
With Peter safely packed away and off in his car we got back to the racing. I again measured the wind speed and this time it was up to 10mph with gusts around the mid-teens, and a lot of the skippers were changing their rigs for something smaller. We even had some reflected waves from the leeward bank to deal with.
Chris H (21) was back to his winning ways, showing Martin Dovey exactly what his new boat could do, John Brierley (70) and John Burgoine (35) were also joining in with the fight. John B (35) taking the win from Chris H (21) in race 10.
It was at this time that Vic B donned the waders again and made a slight adjustment to the start line and changed the windward mark to the centre one of the three making it a little closer and this had the benefit of more wind around the top mark. Vic called the skippers together and told them of the course change and said that he was going to make the last few races a single lap and final beat, this way he could get more races completed. By the start of race eleven we had three retirements.
Bill G (145) was staring to get to grips with his new boat as well by the end of the meeting, scoring two third places on the bounce. We had a final retirement in race sixteen when Mick Barnett’s main sheeting post came free from the bottom of the hull so in effect he could not sheet in fully.
So, our MYA R36 National Champion for 2021 was Chris Harris with a score of 15 points after discards from sixteen races, congratulations Chris, your second MYA National Championship this year, and a great first outing for the new boat. Full details and all the scores are here: R36 National.
Thanks to Bournville RS&MBC, Vic Bellerson and the Bournville race team for hosting the event, and we will see you all again in 2022 hopefully.
Pictures above by Martin Dovey.