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Europe Inland Championship at Oxford Sailing Club

by Lucy Boreham 22 Sep 2019 21:39 PDT 21-22 September 2019
Europe Inlands at Oxford © Ciaran Hurney

Twenty Europe sailors gathered at Oxford Sailing Club, Farmoor Reservoir, for the last event of the season, a chance to catch up with fellow Europe sailors and see who could bag the honour of becoming the 2019 Inlands Champion.

The weather looked perfect as the class welcomed a number of newcomers to the fleet.

On Saturday the fleet launched in sunshine and 10 knots, with the anticipation of the O flag to allow pumping. Sharing with the Finn class (we just pipped them on numbers) the Finns started first and set off on a trapezoid course. Looking up the race course it was starting to look obvious that it was going to be shifty.

The O flag went up, came down and went back up again throughout the day, meaning the sailors needed to keep sharp to ensure they didn't fall foul of pumping illegally.

Chris Gill made the best of the 1st two races, taking the win both times, a close fight for 2nd to 8th saw some close racing with Emma Pearson & Lucy Boreham taking 2nd & 3rd in Race 1 and Richard Eagleton & Tim Laws those slots in race 2.

Race 3 saw Jon Tweedle & Tim getting out of the blocks best, leading around the top mark with a busy chasing pack. Jon's local knowledge, which appeared to include hugging the shoreline downwind (avoiding the tide was the general consensus) paid off with him extending his lead on round 2 to take the win comfortably, with Tim in 2nd. The battle for 3rd went down to the wire, with the race officer unable to split Lucy & Emma after a tacking match to the line sharing 3rd place. The wind was very up and down as well as shifty, causing a few to take a close look at their boats underside, but the race team did a great job to get the 3 races in the sunshine.

The fleet retired to shore, to enjoy the late afternoon sunshine, a contingent set up camp at the local campsite and walked back to the club for dinner, a few beers and a quiz.

What a difference a day makes! Dark clouds, rain and the wind in a totally different direction.

Race 1 got under way after a general recall. It soon became obvious that the wind was moving right, so after 1 lap the race was shortened with Emma taking the win followed by Chris & Richard, with Steve Whitby in 4th, showing fantastic speed in the light conditions in his recently dug out of the hedge 1980's boat - proving that an older boat in the right hands can be quick.

A short pause to reset the course, allowing Malcolm Morley to tuck into his Apple with peanut butter dip (is that really a thing?!) and race 2 got under way in no less tricky conditions. Emma & Chris had a close battle with Steve taking third.

It was all down to the final race for who would take the glory, with Emma & Chris both having 2 wins apiece. Tim executed a perfect port hand flyer off the line, but boy was it tricky up that first leg. Chris snuck away, with 6 boats following in close contention. The reservoir took on the appearance of a mirror as everyone tried to find any puff of wind to fill the sail. Chris maintained his lead to take the series, Lucy just snuck round mark 4 into 2nd and Pete Bell took a well deserved 3rd, having been well up in the pack for most of the races all weekend.

With the rain finally easing the fleet packed away and enjoyed the lucky dip prize giving with everyone walking away with something. Three lucky sailors getting a 15% discount from Alejandro @ Sailtech.

With 3 wins Chris Gill took overall honours, Emma Pearson 2nd, Tim Laws 3rd and 1st Master. Richard Eagleton in 6th was the leading Grand Master and Dan Osborne in 12th 1st Junior.

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