Flying 15 Inland Championships 2011 re-run was organised by Grafham Water Sailing Club over the weekend of 25th and 26th June. The re-run was held due to lack of wind earlier in the year preventing any racing.
Sunny skies and a steady force 4-5 from the south west greeted competitors on the Saturday with a forecast for lighter winds on the Sunday.
Principal Race Officer Heindrich Fedderson set a standard Olympic course and the fleet got away on time for the first race – exactly as would be expected with German Race management!
By the second beat Mark Longstaff and Jon Ward from the home Club were ahead of the pack with Simon Kneller and Andy Palmer second and Pip Hudson with daughter Alice in third. The Hudsons tacked off onto port whilst Longstaff and Kneller held to the right on what seemed the favoured tack. In fact the Hudson’s tack away paid off handsomely giving them a lead of at least 10 boat lengths which they held to the finish, a well-deserved win. Longstaff and Ward battled closely with Kneller and Palmer, the latter finally squeezing into second place, and Nigel and Gavin Tullett from Windermere fourth.
The second race resulted in a general recall, although the fleet was otherwise well behaved all weekend and the black flag wasn’t required.
Conditions were once again ideal with a good strong breeze for the second race with Kneller and Palmer taking the pin off the start line with Longstaff and Ward holding station out to windward. Left of middle seemed to pay with Longstaff making the windward mark first and driving off down the first reach with plenty of speed. Kneller and Palmer followed only to endure a twisted spinnaker at the hoist. Once undone a ‘lucky gust’ got them some way back. These two boats remained locked in combat round two more laps with Kneller and Palmer eventually just getting past to win. Julian Clarke and Mark Stott from Grafham took third place with Jeremy Arnold and David Brown from Notts County in fourth.
Race three saw those boats which started up the line lifting inside the pin end starters. One or two boats tacked off but most headed in towards the southern shoreline on starboard. The race course got a little congested at this point with boats trying to tack out onto port continually being put about by the starboard tackers coming in from higher up. A solitary windsurfer joining in the fun made things even more interesting. Out of the mayhem Clarke and Stott emerged well ahead with Chris and Marion Bowen from Northampton in hot pursuit. Lots of shifts and place changing then ensued which were difficult to keep track of but the upshot was that the final positions for race three were Kneller, Longstaff, the Bowens and Clarke fourth.
Sunday dawned with very light southerly winds which died out completely as the fleet sailed out to the start. A fickle breeze came and went several times; the hot sun burnt those without sun cream and the insects bit. After a two hour delay a course was set and the fleet got off to a clean start. Allen Cave and Ashley Painter made the early running with a commanding lead but on the last beat the Bowens went out to the right and lifted inside the fleet, including Cave and Painter. The Bowens went on to win followed by Cave, Tullet and Kneller.
For the final race a large shift in the final minute suddenly favoured those at the pin and Richard Ledger sailing with Grafham legend Graham Wadely drove off into a commanding lead. Conditions remained light, variable and very difficult to read and the top three boats sailed extremely well in the really tricky conditions. In the end the Tulletts just pipped Ledger and Wadely and Chris and Marion Bowen came in third.
Tim Tomlinson with Nick Maddison won the Classic fleet in 2433 and the Bowens were top Silver boat in 3351 and third overall.
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