|The RYA National
Hornet Open at Maylandsea Bay Sailing Clubby Dean Saxton on 6 Sep2-3 September 2017
The Hornet fleet descended on Maylandsea Bay on the banks of the River Blackwater in Essex over the weekend of 2nd & 3rd of September to share an open meeting with the Kestrel fleet.
A very early start on the Saturday morning meant that competitors had to arrive on Friday night and the customary Indian take-away was ordered. Up with the sunrise and breakfast served, race officer Geoffrey Walkley set the course to be sailed out of Lawling Creek and into the main channel of the Blackwater. The forecast of light airs was delivered and at 9am the fleet got underway.
After rounding the first mark it was clear that there was going to be plenty of place changing as the boats explored the river trying to find the breeze whilst avoiding the current and lack of water at the edges. Several boats came to an abrupt halt as they discovered the soft mud in the shallows, allowing those that risked the tidal current to overhaul them. Toby and Rich (2125) showed incredible speed in the light breeze, pulling away from the rest of the fleet and at the end took the win by 200 yards ahead of Strangler and Jamie (2132) and Dean and Adam (2181).
In race 2 Toby and Rich proved that there was no luck involved in race 1. Again they revelled in the light airs and left the minor places to be fought out, although towards the end of the race and on a running finish, the breeze filled in from behind allowing all boats to catch up. Looking like it was going to be a Browlee brothers style finish, Toby and Rich found an advantageous puff to carry them over the line and take their second bullet from Dean and Adam and Strangler and Jamie.
Saturday night entertainment in the bar was a challenge between the Hornet fleet and the Kestrel fleet with many fun games and plenty of drinking.
An increased breeze on Sunday allowed the race officer to set a much longer course into the main channel. Toby and Rich led from the start closely followed by Dean and Adam, but their superior boat speed made them difficult to keep up with. Strangler and Jamie challenged Dean and Adam for second place, but an early gybe at the last mark allowed Dean and Adam to take second. With 3 firsts Toby and Rich had the open meeting sown up, but who was going to take second?
The final race got underway over a very skewed start line. Toby and Rich got the jump on everyone and led all the way back to home, closely followed by Strangler and Jamie who finished second, enough to finish second overall on count back from Dean and Adam.
1st 2125, Toby Barsley-Dale & Rich Nurse, 3pts
©The RYA National Hornet Association