28 May 2012
Sat 19 & Sun 20 May: UKWA Inland Series Event 2:
It promised to be a light wind day for the 2nd Event in the UKWA 2012 Inland Series, the first day of which was to run concurrently with the a one-day LWA Summer event. This meant that there were several rather good sailors taking part on the Saturday, such as Paul Leone and Nick Kidd who unfortunately were not able to continue to make life difficult for the front of the fleet on Day Two. If Andy Gibson from Hythe, who only managed to sail on Day Two, might well have figured in the top half dozen if he had been available to race on the Saturday
Because the wind was forecast to die off around 2pm our Race Officer James Palin decided on the unusual step of keeping us out for three races before lunch. The day was to be a battle of attrition between James Moon, Rob Kent and Paul Leone, who filled most of the first three places during the day. Paul was sailing the latest Starboard 377 "with wings", as were Rob Kent, Bob Ingram and John Pete.
It was great to see Bewl Valley member Mike Henderson on the start-line for a major event for the first time in many years. Mike was sporting his 1990 vintage Bellway Homes Icebreaker sweatshirt later that day when he entertained us on his guitar at the "open mic" session later that evening.
The sun cream and neoprene shorts were very much in evidence and it made a pleasant change to be windsurfing in nice weather. The Junior fleet spent Saturday with a Team 15 Coaching and Racing Event based just along the shoreline from the Bewl Clubhouse and we had only one Techno and two RS:X sailors mixed in with the 23 strong raceboard fleet.
Rob Kent took the honours in Race One, followed by James Moon and Paul Leone. James however began to assert himself in Race Two and Rob was pushed down to 4th place behind Nick Kidd and Paul Leone. James consolidated his position in Race Three by taking another first place ahead of Paul, with Rob only managing third.
In the Ladies there was another needle match taking place between two World Champions, Annette Kent and Harriet Ellis. Harriet was going like a rocket on her 8.5 Demon in the lighter winds and led the entire fleet round the windward mark in the first lap of Race One and by the end of the day was in 6th place overall, quite an achievement when you realise that she was sailing with a whole square metre of sail less than the men. Maybe Annette was still finding her feet as she has recently swapped from an Equipe 2 to a white Starboard Phantom.
We all came in for lunch, hoping that the weathermen had made a mistake, but the wind did indeed die off almost completely and around 4pm the Race Officer called it a day, by which time most people had already de-rigged. Peversely enough, the wind did kick in again for a short time, but no voices of protest were raised.
On the Saturday evening in the bar there was an "Open Mic" session which kept a good crowd of sailors amused for several hours - maybe the excellent "Bombardier" bitter helped! James Palin, Jane Volans, Mike Henderson, the Kent and the Gibson girls, a Bewl member called Moya, Bill Keeling, Rod Davis and even the RYA Coach, Ali Yates, revealed their hidden talents.
Sunday however produced some of the best racing for ages and those of you who did not make it to Bewl missed out Big Time! The wind was mostly 10 -15 knots with more than a few gusts of up to 20, so it was very lively action.
At the very front of the fleet James Moon and Rob Kent continued the cut and thrust, with Rob striving to ditch his 3rd and 4th place from the previous day as they traded first and second place without letting anyone else get a nose in. The bunch immediately behind them, which included Chris Gibson, John Pete, Andy Gibson, Alan Jackson, Andy Lacy and UKWA Chairman Bob Ingram, were breathing down their necks hard however.
After three races back to back we went in for lunch and the wind began to drop, however no sooner had we gone back on the water for the last two races than it picked up again and delivered two more spanking races.
At the very front of the fleet James Moon, who had led the field until the very last race let the cup slip from his lips by coming in second to Rob Kent and they finished on the same points, fours wins and two second places apiece. Rob was able to discard two poor Saturday resultsth and because he won the last race collected the honours by a whisker.
Annette Kent took advantage of her 8.5 XR: Race and revelled in the stronger winds, even managing a 3rd place overall in the next to last race. She succeeded in discarding her two poor results from the previous day and pulled ahead of Harriet Ellis who was obviously not as happy as she had been on the Saturday.
Other notable performances came from young sailors on raceboards - Aidan Liddy on an 8.5 who finished 13th overall, and from Owen and Jenna Gibson who came in 17th and 19th respectively, but would have been much higher had they sailed on the Saturday as well, and Emily Kent, 23rd overall. Nick Welsh was the only RS:X sailor to take part on both days and he finished top of the trio. Jack Bassets was the only Techno to race on the main course both days.
The Juniors had joined the nearby T15s for coaching and racing but on Sunday it was a delight to see ten Technos enjoying the breezy conditions. Toby Cave was the only 4.5, Jack Bassets was joined by Zara Petts in the 6.8s and the seven-strong 5.8 fleet was won by Guy Carney.