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English Braids OK Dinghy UK Nationals at South Caernarvonshire Yacht Club - Days 1 & 2

by Karen Robertson 7 Sep 2019 10:30 PDT 5-8 September 2019

One of the strongest OK fleets in a while gathered at SCYC at Abersoch for their 2019 National Championships on Thursday 5th September to be greeted by a moderate to fresh breeze out of the North West.

At registration the fleet were kindly supplied with a free tow-rope and kicker strop courtesy of sponsors English Braids. With other sponsorship from North Sails, Ovington Boats, Rain and Sun Covers and Noble Marine the fleet are going to be treated to a plethora of spot prizes as well as winners prizes throughout the event.

As always in a competitive fleet like the OKs, it took a few attempts to get the fleet away for the first race with the PRO resorting to using the black flag for the third start, which saw Ben Falat port tacking the fleet after bravely pushing the line. Unfortunately for Ben, he pushed it too far and he was black flagged for it. More unfortunately for Ben, this was the least of his worries as a capsize at the first gybe mark saw his mast come loose from the boat and by all accounts it took a lot of swimming under the boat to recover the situation and get home safely.

Half way around the course a big windshift required the windward mark to be moved and while the fleet did hear and see the 'C' flag notification there was some confusion about what mark to go to as the original windward mark was still in place. This confusion did see some gain and some loose, but by the end it was Fergus Barnham who took the win from Terry Curtis (sailing a 25 year old wooden boat!) with Nick Craig following in third.

Race two was sailed in similar conditions with Nick taking the win from Richard Burton and Terry Curtis again showing the speed of his old boat and taking third.

The evening saw spot prizes being given out courtesy of Sponsors Noble Marine for both the top of the fleet and those at the back who worked just as hard but for longer. The award of the yellow suit to the 'Dick of the Day' to Andy Rushworth for being one of many who got their car stuck on the soft sand of Abersoch beach.

Day two started extremely blustery with the forecast being for the wind to drop from stupidly windy down to just seriously windy. As it turned out that was generally what happened but there were still a few viscous gusts making things interesting all day. UK resident Kiwi, Luke Gower who had missed the first day due to family commitments, made up for that with storming ahead to take the win after a hard fight with Nick Craig. Gavin Poullion, in his new boat sailed an absolute stormer of a race to take third in conditions he clearly loved.

With the fleet slightly reduced, race four of the series was sailed in similar conditions to the first. This time Gavin decided that a swim at the gybe mark was required to check his new hull condition even if he was near the front at the time. As the fleet tired, it was a day for the hard hikers to show their capacity to keep going with Nick taking the win from Luke and renowned heavy air sailor Richard Burton in third. This leaves Nick leading the fleet at the half way stage from Richard Burton in second, Ferus Barnham in third, Terry Curtis in fourth and the incredibly consistent Alex Scoles in fifth after scoring fifth in every race so far.

Friday evening saw a slightly riotous class dinner with Ed Bradburn being unanimously awarded the yellow jacket for being near the front of the fleet in the third race but tacking round at the first gybe mark. A prize draw was held for those who had entered early along with more spot prizes for the front and back of the fleet. The night was rounded out by Class Measurer Tim O'Leary giving a rousing rendition of his fabled 'Wild West show' monologue With the forecast being for the wind to moderate on Saturday, but very light on the final day on Sunday, it will be interesting to see how the positions change as more discards come into play and Luke Gower's first day absence gets negated.

Results after Day 2:

1stNick CraigFrensham Pond4
2ndRichard BurtonWest Oxford9
3rdFergus Barnham 11
4thTerry CurtisWeymouth13
5thAlex ScolesOvery Staithe15
6thEd BradburnSouth Staffs17
7thWill HeritageGurnard17
8thGavin PoullionWeymouth20
9thDave BourneRYA31
10thAnthony OsmanParkstone33
11thTony WoodsGlossop33
12thAndrew RushworthChristchurch33
13thBen PickeringChase SC34
14thLuke GowerDatchet39
15thIan HopwoodNantwich40
16thKaren RobertsonASYC / Loch Earn SC45
17thKeith ByersMorcambe47
18thTony RichBowmoor SC48
19thJamie HarrisBCYC50
20thDeryck LovegroveBurghfield56
21stIan HarrisBCYS60
22ndPaul CraigThornbury SC60
23rdRodney TiddOvery Staithe76
24thWill CroxfordSouth Staffs78
25thSteve CookeMinnis Bay84
26thTom LeeBurghfield90
27thBrian QuayleMSCC90
28thBill BradburnSouth Staffs90
29thPhil Benton 91
30thMary ReddyhoffParkstone94
31stPaul PikeCovenham97
32ndChris BainesMorcambe104
33rdRuss WardHayling Island107
34thBen FalatWaveney SC112
35thTim O'LearyFelixstowe114

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