Saturday 23rd October saw a fleet of 42 IOM’s gather at Furzon lakes for the first of two days of racing at Two Islands RYC. The first day race officer was Darin Ballington of the Manor Park RSC who was helped by a group of race officials from the home club. Unfortunately, I could not be there for the first day but looking at the results and speaking to some of the competitors it was a big course with several wind holes in it caused by the influence of the island and looking at the results it appears that Rob Walsh very quickly read the wind and water to take the first three races with a bullet. He then went on to score three more race wins in the next five races which after discards gave him a dominant final score of six points after eight races.
The next two places were close with Chris Harris just beating Graham Elliott, see the full score sheet here. I0M Ranking Race 5 – 2021_Final_Results
Sunday 24th October saw me up early for the drive down to Milton Keynes for the second day of competition, arriving at 8:15am a few of the competitors were starting to gather in the carpark and when I went around the headland to the control area the race team were assembling the gazebo for the scorer. After a few minutes the WSW breeze was cutting through the clothing and a return to the car was needed to get another layer on. Whilst there I managed to catch up with a few skippers who were assembling their boats for the day ahead. Back to the headland again and Chris Harris (PRO) held the first briefing of the day for the 38 skippers who were booked in. The course from what I understand was the same as yesterday with a long start line to the left of the control area, it had to deal with two large fleets after all. This then took the fleet to a windward mark and spreader, then down wind to a gate and this was sailed twice followed by a beat up to the finish line.
The conditions early on were a good top suit blow with some gusts but all within the sails wind range, the early grey sky was also helping as there was only a small amount of reflection off the water, this was to change during the day as the sun rose the glare off the water was becoming an issue for competitors and observers alike. The seeding complete and the top skippers were again showing up in the A fleet.
Not being involved in the race management this time allowed me to watch a lot of racing which was a bonus. In one A fleet race I watched Martin Roberts, he did not launch his boat until 30 seconds to go, he still easily made the start line, found a gap about a third of the way down from the starboard end and then whilst keeping his boat speed up sailed behind the others sitting on the line into a gap and as soon as the gun went he used the extra speed to be one of the first to tack onto port and be away with the leaders. A nice easy safe start but you just need enough nerve to able to find the gap and make good use of it.
Another thing that stood out for me was in another A fleet race and the leaders were beating on port tack, John Cleave with his Kantun 2 overtook three Britpop’s from the gate to the windward mark, the boat looked clean and fast through the water. Speaking to him later I mentioned that I saw him gain on the beat and we chatted about the sail trim. He said that there were numbers for each sail setting and you must keep making fine adjustments to match the wind and wave conditions in each heat, well he certainly got it right that time.
Looking at the final score sheet here: I0M_Ranking_Race_6_Final Results you can see that nobody dominated like Rob did yesterday, but Graham Elliott came close with two race wins and three second places to finish with a score of 18 points from the nine races. John Tushingham and Gavin Watson also scored two race wins but they were not as consistent as Graham was.
Thanks to the PRO’s, Mike Kemp, Keith Coxon and the other members of the Two Islands RYC for hosting the events.
Sorry no video this time as the sun was low and the reflected light was just too strong to get good pictures, saying that here are a couple from inside the control area, and hopefully a few more will become available when everyone has had time to recover and look through what they have taken.
Sunday 10th October started much brighter and a definite improvement to the wind strength, when I arrived around 8:00am there was movement on the water and a promise of better things to come.
Once the control cabin was open and the kettle put on, the outboard motor was attached to the rescue boat and Darin and the boat team were setting out the course, the wind had swung around and so we were now sailing left to right towards the dinghy club house where again three marks had been placed to form the windward buoys and offset mark.
John S (PRO) called the skippers for a briefing at 9:15am and explained that he intended to keep things running today to try and make up some of the lost time from yesterday, he would allow a short break for skippers to change batteries when needed and a lunch break, otherwise the intention was to run straight through to 16:00. Because the start line needed to be viewed from the control area a new buoy had been added downwind from the starboard end start line mark, this was placed so that the boats had to leave it to starboard when entering the starting area almost eliminating the bunch at the pin end and boats reaching down the line. If you crossed the line between the two starboard end marks you had to round the leeward one to re-enter the start area. Whilst it does not eliminate completely a group of boats at the starboard end it certainly stopped the diving in at the mark when the gun went.
A new race finish team were briefed, and we were away again at 9:30am. The first race of the day went to Rob Walsh with his Lightening, closely followed home by Peter Wiles sailing his Sweet 10 design. There was some close racing at times with several boats approaching the windward mark together, pinching here was a mistake as the wind was light around the top marks and you tended to lose way which resulted in a few buoy contacts being called. The top boats were slightly overstanding the mark and coming in with speed which left them with manoeuvring momentum and a straight reach to the spreader mark. It was possible to make or lose quite a lot of distance just around this part of the course. There was a nice wide downwind gate and dependant on which mark you took paid off on the following beat. Rounding to starboard and you headed out towards the island and what looked like sailing free, rounding to port and heading back towards the control area you were lifting on port, and it appeared that you were gaining on the other boats. This all changed though as once the boats coming towards the control area tacked onto starboard, they appeared to be headed, whilst the boats over towards the island were lifting on port. This allowed for plenty of tactical options where the right choice had a big difference on your finishing position.
John S called a halt for lunch at 12:40 saying that the next start would be called up at 13:00, just time to change batteries and get a brew, which was free all weekend long thanks to the Manor Park RSC. The skippers were quite happy to have a short time to rest their legs and grab a sandwich.
We started again on time and a really close battle then ensued between Graham Bantock and Peter Wiles which lasted a further 12 races, and the Championship was only decided in the last few races of the day when Graham continued with his consistent scoring and Peter had a few high scores that were going to be his discards, this unfortunately left him holding a few mid fleet places from earlier on, his final race was a RET as for some reason his receiver sent a signal that said it had switched off, and so he needed the services of the rescue boat.
Race winners were Graham Bantock (9), Peter Wiles (5), Rob Walsh (4), Shaun Holbeche (2), Darin Ballington (1) & Nick Martin (1) from the 22 completed races over the two days, which is good considering the first day we only completed 3. The HMS final results are here: 2021MYA-AClass-NationalChampionship
So, thanks to the skippers for their co-operation in keeping the Sunday going at a pace, and to John Smith and the Manor Park RSC team for again hosting a MYA National Championship in what is a very condensed season.
Manor Park RSC was host to this year’s championship over the 9/10th October weekend.
They welcomed 14 skippers from around the country and the PRO John Smith called everyone together for the first briefing on the Saturday morning saying the weather forecast for the day was a light NE breeze and the boat team had set out the best course they could considering the conditions, in fact there was three windward marks for John to choose from.
Racing commenced on time with all skippers sailing as one fleet. The conditions were very light, and it was a priority to keep the boat moving even if it meant that you sailed what looked like a further distance. We managed three races before John called lunch which was scheduled for thirty minutes, this in fact turned in to ninety minutes such were the conditions it was impossible to sail any course, there was just a complete lack of wind.
John called all skippers and the race team together and explained the situation and it was obvious there would be no further sailing today, so we all packed the boats away and had an afternoon off. John said we would resume tomorrow as planned.
Some notes and further pictures from day two will follow in the week when I have had the time to process the pictures.
The MYA A Class Champion for 2021 was Graham Bantock with his Sword design, so congratulations to him, and a full set of results are here: 2021 MYA A Class National Championship results
There are two pages of results as we finally got 22 races completed.
Thanks to the Manor Park RSC team and helpers, PRO John Smith, Colin Walton, Darin Ballington, Nancy, Roy, Simon, Rob, Sandra, Graham, Les, Dave B, Martin, SCO Gordon Sears.
Last weekend the team at Lincoln RSC held the Clive Hand Memorial Trophy race with 19 skippers making the journey to Scotland Farm for what turned out to be a good days sailing. For a full report and pictures follow the link to the Lincoln RSC website here: https://lincolnradiosailingclub.com/