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Great Britain, British Inland Championships 2008

Northampton Sailing Club, 4-5 October

Report by Jonathan Fish

Despite the forecast of extreme weather, 27 OK Dinghies convened at Northampton Sailing Club on Pitsford Reservoir for the 2008 Inland National Championship held in very wet and windy conditions. Five races were completed, with four different race winners showing the closeness of the fleet, despite the conditions.

Dave Rose powered up the first beat of the day to round in the lead, closely followed by Robert Deaves, Jon Fish and Terry Curtis. At the end of the first reach, the first monster gust of the day took Curtis out of contention for the race. Fish then decided a cavalier gybe was worth the gamble, but predictably capsized, leaving Rose and Deaves with a useful margin at the front. Over the rest of the course, Rose’s conservative sailing and upwind speed enabled him to take the race win. Deaves escaped the carnage of a leeward mark pitchpoling by Fish and held onto second at the finish. Mike Edwards recovered well to take third, while Alex Scoles nailed the last beat to just grab fourth.

Race 2 started in a nice ‘little’ 30 knot puff with Edwards, Rose and Deaves in command at the first mark in a heavily reduced fleet. Fish managed the first gybe this time to take him back into contention after a late start.

Edward’s race was cut short by a snapped kicker, leaving Fish and Deaves to battle it out for the race win. Fish had a great third beat and looked to have a comfortable gap, until the last beat when Deaves reeled in 100 metres. Fish won by a boatlength from Deaves, with Curtis coming through to take third.

At this stage, the fleet decided to retire for the day to try to use beer to recover, looking forward to more moderate breeze (and rain) on the Sunday. As the beer flowed, Commodore Ian Castle informed the fleet of the 42 knots recorded just prior to the start of the second race.

On Sunday, with the breeze in the opposite direction and a few knots less, the races remained hectic, but there were fewer capsizes. Edwards and Curtis recovered from their Saturday issues - with Curtis particularly enjoying the reaches to overtake Edwards and hold on to the win race 3. Edwards kept second easily with Deaves in third. Unfortunately gear failure put pay to the rest of Curtis' event at this stage, changing the landscape somewhat.

Fish won the pin in Race 4 and used the advantage to round the top mark clear ahead. However, Deaves rolled Fish on the penultimate upwind leg to take the race win, with Edwards third. Hans Elkjaer, over from Sweden for the event, started showing some form to take fourth.

The numbers meant that going into the last race, the top three were clear, with Deaves just ahead. Fish could still steal the event if he won the race, but Edwards could take second if he finished in front of Fish.

In the final race in 15-20 knots, Deaves didn’t bother taking Fish out at the start, but kept him in close check, knowing that his upwind pace should get the job done. Edwards had a great first beat, opening up a good lead from Deaves and Fish at the first mark. Elkjaer caught Fish downhill to round the leeward mark third, with Scoles coming through into forth and Julian Burnham fifth.

Deaves wasn’t to be upstaged though, taking his second race win of the day, and the event, by overhauling Edwards at the end of the final upwind. Edwards’ second was good enough for second overall, even without Fish inspecting his centreboard again. Scoles' fourth place kept him safe in fourth overall, with Julian Burnham fifth.

Weary bodies gathered for the prizegiving, with the top six being rewarded for their efforts. The Junior prize of a ‘skateboard’ deservedly went to Ed Dutton, who sailed like a Ninja to finish eighth overall. Richard Burton also sailed like a Ninja to finish tenth overall, second junior and first vintage boat.

Dave Cooper found something special to win the Masters prize, but more impressively finished in eleventh place. The team trophy was snapped up by South Staffs SC with three boats in the top ten.

Special praise needs to go to Hans Elkjaer who endured a mammoth journey and some traditional British weather to come over from Sweden for the event.

Thanks again must go to all involved at Northampton SC for organizing and laying on such a great event. For rescuing us, watering and feeding us, but most of all for making us feel so welcome….Thank you!

12119Robert Deaves Waldringfield223116
22126Mike EdwardsSouth Staffs Sailing Club3dnf23210
32122Jon FishWaldringfield5142dnf12
42117Alex ScolesOvery Staithe44dnf6418
52101Julian BurnhamUTSC8765523
62127Keith DuttonSouth Staffs9687627
7SWE 99Hans Elkjaer12dnf114330
82128Ed DuttonSouth Staffs SC108910734
92118Terry CurtisUpper Thames1131dncdnc43
101774Richard BurtonWest Oxford13dns15121353
112031Dave CooperOvery Staithe S.C.17dnc14131054
122125Neil GoodheadSouth Staffsdncdnc109855
132130Deryck LovegroveKingsmead15dnc1714955
142092Bill BradburnSouth Staffs16dnc17141155
152124Dave RoseBHYC15dncdncdnc62
162107Daz PriorSouth Windermeredncdnc12111263
172120Dan AgerWaldringfield6dnc5dncdnc67
182084Keith ByersMorecombe & HeyshamDNFdnc78dnc71
192065Simon ShawDeben14dnc1616dnc74
202123Andy TurnerOvery Staithe7dncdncdncdnc91
212104Paul PikeCovenhamdnsdnc2017dnc93
221728Chris Murraydnfdnc1918dnc93
232116Sam MinnsDabchicks SCdncdnc18dncdnc102
242049Adam WilsonWelland Yacht Clubdncdnc21dncdnc105
252074Roger CooperUpper Thamesdnfdncdncdncdnc112
251927Colin PageCalshotdnfdncdncdncdnc112
251959David TaylorSouth Staffsdncdncdncdncdnc112