Friday, November 24, 2017

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2017 Osprey Scottish & Northern Championship, Kielder

Kielder Water SC were the welcoming hosts for the Osprey Scottish & Northern Championships, held on 9/10 September. Visitors from Coniston, Hayling Island, Carsington and Prestwick joined the hosts.

Mostly they were established teams, though one suffered some disruption as Kielder Commodore Alec Vallance had suffered an injury onboard his Osprey, and was unable to sail. Alec was promoted into making his debut as Race Officer instead. Undaunted though, His helm Graham Thumwood recruited a star substitute to take his place, as Alastair Raynard, best known for steering his super duper Mark V Osprey to End of Season and Inlands titles, made his debut at the front end of an Osprey.  In a weekend of debuts, new Osprey team Chris Davies and Lorraine Ball came to their first Osprey Kielder open.

Kielder’s breezes often tend to ups and downs, and the Northerly breeze, sometimes struggling to clear the forest just beyond the windward mark, kept the sailors on their toes. However Alan Henderson and Alastair Barrie forged ahead, winning the first two races by some margin, while the very close racing behind offered plenty of scope for snakes and ladders. But Rob Shaw and Ian Little managed to emerge from the bunch most times, as did fellow locals Viola and Mike Scott.

But the third race of the day was the closest at the front, with Race Officer Alec Vallance forced to pore over his video footage to determine the placings. Sailing on Olympic triangle sausage shapes, choices of routes down the runs were critical, and Rob Shaw/ Ian Little seized the lead on one of the runs, and looked comfortable front runners. However Alan Henderson/ Alastair Barrie sneaked up the other side of the mini beat to the finish to draw level. On the line, neither team could tell who won, but a very well timed tack through the line had sealed it for Shaw/ Little, as the video replay showed.  Alec Mamwell/ Arthur Butler followed the two leaders in third.

Overnight Henderson/ Barrie led, while Shaw/ Little’s record of improving in every race took them to a close second place, with the Scotts third.

After mostly light breezes on the Saturday, weather forecasts for the Sunday varied from medium to unsailable, but in the event were mostly medium SW, allowing another two good races. Henderson and Barrie took a generous lead in the first race, but the unexpected is never far away at Kielder and the fleet duly took a large bite out of their lead, pausing from scrapping each other for a while. However they were unable to close further on the leaders, who took their third race win and the Championship.  Behind, it was the Scotts this time who emerged at the front of the tight bunch to take second place in this race, with Mamwell/ Butler third. Winds continued very changeable, but the weathermen’s more excited imaginings were not borne out, and the last race included light as well as fresh spells.  But when the going got tough, it was the class’s leading lady helms who got going.

Among a four boat leading group, another good choice on the run brought Viola and Mike Scott to the front ahead of previous leaders Rob Shaw/ Ian Little. But Alexandra and Nick Willis were also finding the brisker breezes to their liking, and they scrapped their way into second place. A battle of the ladies then ensued, as Viola Scott fought hard to hold off the street fighting Willis’s. Plenty of determined overtaking attempts, with accompanying sound effects, then ensued to the entertainment of those following, but the Scotts held on to take the race win from the Willis’s. The Scotts had the best scores of the day, to jump into second overall, with Shaw and Little third overall. The Willis’s exertions in the last race took them just ahead of Mamwell/ Butler. Racing was equally close throughout the fleet, and Graham Thumwood had the distinction of being involved in three photo finishes out of five races. One was so close a dead heat was given.

Next event for the Ospreys is the End of Season Championship on October 28/29 at Rutland, where Alastair Raynard, reunited with his usual crew Rob Burdekin will be defending their title. Will Alastair’s new found understanding of the front end of the boat give them the edge?

Results

1.       Alan Henderson & Alastair Barrie, Prestwick, 5 pts

2.       Viola and Mike Scott, Kielder, 8 pts

3.       Rob Shaw & Ian Little, Kielder, 10 pts

Link to full results at https://www.sailwave.com/results/kwsc/2017_September_Open_Ospreys.htm

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