Christchurch Report

23 June 2009

UKWA National Championships Round 3, June 20th - 21st 2009

Dave Hackford rounding the top mark.Last weekend the UKWA was again given a warm welcome by Christchurch Borough Council as the 2009 series moved on to Steamer Point Christchurch. Christchurch must be the most beautiful location on the UKWA tour and local interest brings out many interested spectators. The Camping field was a mass of motor homes, windsurfers, locals and holiday makers all enjoying the spectacle of the UK's top course racers in action and enjoying the summer sunshine.

87 sailors turned out to race last weekend 20th & 21st June for Round Three of The UKWA National Championships, Cup 3 at Steamer Point Christchurch.

Saturday greeted competitors with clear sky's and sunshine. Saturday was predicted by all the various forecasts to be the best day for racing so Race officer Jay Williamson and his crews took to the water early and a course was soon set.

This was always going to be a challenging and difficult weekend for the race officer and his dedicated team. Light offshore breezes with big shifts and a strong tide, made constant course alteration essential. Wisely Jay set a windward, leeward course with a well positioned bottom gate which added interest and provided an element of decision making to the racing.

The race officer ran only 1 round of racing for all fleets in the morning session as the early promises of wind subsided. After lunch as the wind built briefly a further two rounds of course racing for raceboard fleets & one for formula were held. Unfortunately the wind subsided and shortly after the leaders had finished the wind dropped and the back of the fleets struggled to the finishing line and the races had to be shortened. Despite the efforts of the crews who stayed on the water until 6.30pm it was decided by the event organizer to call racing off for the day.

On Saturday night there was a committee meeting for the UKWA faithful, but for the rest of the competitors and their families it was barbeque time the traditional way to spend Saturday night at Christchurch.

Sunshine was the order of the day on Sunday but the wind was far more challenging. Big wind shifts combined with gusts and lulls tested even the most experienced campaigners but the race officer was not to be deterred. Using the same course as Saturday to make adjustments as quick as possible the raceboard fleets had two further races before lunch, which tested the strength and fitness levels of all not to mention the saw hands and blisters. Conditions made formula racing impossible.

After lunch the Sea resembled a millpond but as the crews monitored conditions something began to stir. With the wind blowing off shore 6-7 knots a wind line could be seen some mile off shore, however as the crews approached it became evident that here the wind was blowing 12 knots on shore. Jay gave things a little time to settle and with last possible start at 4pm suddenly a window opened at approximately 3pm. Formula sailors were sent afloat and as promised they were to go first, this induced panic on the beech as most had no kit ready. Jay asked. Bob to try a practice start, planning was no problem and as Bob put the thumbs up to the committee boat, up went the Formula flag. How disappointing then that within 5 minutes the wind dropped and the formula start was abandoned. The fleet stayed out for almost an hour waiting for wind but as time ran out most ended up taking the long walk back along the beautiful beech, unable to make any progress against the strong ripping tide. There was a further round for all raceboard fleets but again in extremely challenging conditions.

Thanks to Christchurch Borough Council for making us so welcome, to Christine Mockett for all her help behind the scenes, Karen from Christchurch Board Sailing Club, the rescue crews & support boats, the race officer and his team and the admin staff who all contributed to make this such a successful event

Particular thanks to Overboard, for the product prizes going to all fleets. To Tushingham / Starboard for the prizes awarded to the techno fleet. To North for the T Shirts given to the raceboard fleet.

22 Raceboards

13 RS:X

1st George Bowles

2nd Tom Eskdale

3rd Charlie Money

28 Techno

20 Formula

4 Freerace

For full results by John Eskdale go to (will be on UKWA site soon).

Event photos by Andy.