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Carsington Open 26-27 Jun 2014 - by Sam Woolner


Day 1

Having arrived late on Friday evening to erect tents in the midnight fog and rain, many of the competitors for the RYA National Hornet Open at Carsington Water rocked up at the club on Saturday morning with a somewhat debatable night's sleep.

We were greeted with a promising north westerly force 5-6 and 6 boats to join in with the Javelin and 505 classes for a fantastic days' racing. A fairly leisurely 12:30pm first warning signal gave everyone time to sample the bacon and sausage baps which were definitely needed. All fuelled up, we lined up on a very fair line given the shifty conditions for the first of 3 back-to-back races.

Race 1 immediately saw lots of changes in position, with starts and shifts playing a crucial part in the results. Will McGrath and Sam Woolner from Exe Sails in 2108 rounded the top mark in first followed closely by the rest of the fleet only boat lengths apart. Jo Powell and Corin Westley (2115) came through to take the win, with 2108 in 2nd who were soon followed through the line by Steve Cooke and Alistair McHardy (2080), Geoff Furlong and Jim Ingram (2114), and Mike Owen and Andy Holmes (2158). Dean and Adam Saxton (2181) scored DNC due to a broken tiller.

A change in line bias for Race 2 made for an interesting start with 2108 flying off the pin end to take the lead up the beat. The shifts started to really make things interesting near the windward mark. Gusts brought the fleet together on several occasions down the first downwind legs. 2181 was back in the race, battling for 3rd against 2080 who managed to break away from the challenge for the final laps. 2108 took the win with 2115 in 2nd, with all 6 boats making the finish.

A very competitive third start of Race 3 saw everyone bunched right up against the committee boat. At least two boats were over and two extra guns sounded, the fleet turned around only to find the individual recall flag flying - serves us all right for not looking at the flags! 2115 and 2108 spun back around at the same time to cross again up the beat and still have a good race, but somewhat unfortunately the same luck didn't reach the other boats. 2108 and 2115 were neck and neck down the final run, but 2108 had the inside line around the leeward mark and just held 2115 off by less than half a boat length in 15+kts of breeze for an adrenaline filled finish. 2181 came in third and 2156 in 4th, with the other two heading in after the unfortunate start. Aches, pains and bruises were nursed by time at the bar and a fantastic meal in the clubhouse while stories of the eventful day were exchanged.

Day 2

Sunday started with an opposite wind direction to the previous day and the promise of a more constant and reliable wind. Unfortunately due to car trouble one team didn't make the racing for the day so we were down to 5 boats at the first start.

Race 4 started with a committee boat biased start line and a fairly true beat, with 2108 leading into the first mark with 2115 hot on their heels, the rest of the fleet in close pursuit. With a far more constant breeze, there was a lot more emphasis on boat speed than playing the shifts and with a little more wind on the last reach, 2108 maintained the lead followed closely by 2115, 2181, 2156 and then 2114.

Race 5 started with only 4 boats on the line and a fight at the committee end left 2115 leading up the beat closely followed by 2156, 2181 and 2108 bringing up the rear after a few missed shifts. After some close racing and a short 2 lap race, 2115 covered the fleet well to take the win, all 4 boats finished very closely with 2156 in second, 2181 3rd and 2108 4th.

Race 6 was the decider, either 2115 or 2108 would win the event and this was evident from the preparatory signal. There was lots of manoeuvring before the start and with a committee biased line again, 2108 just got ahead across the line. With all the stops pulled out, by the windward mark, 2108 had put a gap between themselves and 2115, who had also pulled out on the other boats. The wind had become shiftier again and playing the shifts seemed to be key. With a perfect reach to the line on the final lap, 2108 took first place, closely followed by 2115, 2181 and then 2156.

Overall Results:

1st 2108, Will McGrath & Sam Woolner
2nd 2115, Jo Powell & Corin Westley
3rd 2181, Dean & Adam Saxton
4th 2156, Mike Owen & Andy Holmes
5th Steve Cooke & Alistair McHardy
6th Geoff Furlong & Jim Ingram

Then there was the more serious event, the raffle for the 2014 European Championships early entry prizes.

With very generous donations from our sponsors, we received 18 early entries which is a great increase on previous years for April. The prizes on offer, a Spinnaker from Ullman Sails, a Genoa from Michael McNamara and a Mainsail from Exe Sails.

First out of the bag was the Ullman Sails Spinnaker won by Gary Haylett
Next the McNamara Sails Genoa won by Dean Saxton (who had carted it all the way to the event for the draw)
Finally the Exe Sails mainsail was won by Strangler
All in all, a great event, good fun and excellent racing, food and services put on by Carsington Sailing Club. Many thanks to them and we look forward to the Stone Open on the 17/18th May.
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