Please select your home edition
Edition
Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Blaze fleet unveils new sail during the Southern Championship at Warsash

by Ben Harden 25 May 2021 03:12 PDT 22-23 May 2021
Blaze Southern Championship at Warsash © WSC

After what felt like an eternity, Warsash Sailing Club resumed open event racing and hosted the Southern Championship. With 17 boats in attendance, there was of course a little bit of palpable nervousness, a bit like when you start dating again, you are keen to get in on the action but worried you might be out of practice.

After the teasers during the week of course the first question on the lips of all Blazers was, would the UK get any points in Eurovision later that night. The second question, what does the new sail look like and how will it perform? More on that later.

With the looming Sunday forecast which unfortunately lowered expected entries, 4 races were scheduled in the hope a series could be completed.

Race 1 was a trapezoid that started in around 10 knots, but the wind was up and down all day and some decent shifts meant you had to be brave to bang a corner.

Off the start Ben "Hard'n Fast" Harden quickly got out in front, which was to be a feature of the weekend, Craig Richards in 796 showed good speed upwind with Nic "Tolly" Tolhurst hot on his heels. Not far behind was the rest of the fleet fighting it out in the choppy and shifty conditions. On the run Nic managed to make a break for glory surfing into the lead but it was relatively short-lived as Ben passed halfway up the next beat and went on to win, with Nic 2nd, Eden in 3rd and Malcolm "Malcy" Hutchings in 4th.

Race 2 was a copy of the first, except this time Hard'n Fast pulled off a glorious pin end flyer. Anyone else who managed to get out to the right side of the course was also promised a successful first leg. Malcy tacked off onto port early from the committee boat end and benefited from the tidal advantage and got to the windward mark first. Ben followed closely behind and a little further back Will Gould and then Nic who was slightly impeded by Eden swimming at the windward mark after a slightly aggressive roll tack. Ben managed to get past Malcy who then finished in that order followed by Nic then Will.

The wind then promptly made like a UK Eurovision song and dropped to zero for an hour, leaving us wondering what a beer might taste like now. With a few boats shuffling towards the exit the wind suddenly came back with a vengeance and was reportedly 20 knots gusting 25.

The younglings (Ben and Eden) made light work of the conditions and went off and had a race on their own leaving the rest of us to battle up the beats and scream down the reach's feeling we were always just a moment away from submarining. Ben completed with a full set of bullets, Eden second, Nick Ripley a well sailed 3rd and Craig rounding out the top 4.

It was wisely decided by the PRO that the 4th race might be pushing all our limits and that it was definitely beer o'clock.

Over many beers and a delicious club meal, the talk was all about the new "Fathead" sail performance and the chances of racing on Sunday. As the morning dawned and heads cleared our PRO wisely decided that all racing was canned and the overnight results stood leaving Ben as the Southern champ, again, and Eden pipping Nic on countback with Nick Ripley 4th.

A thanks must go to event sponsors, Allen, Rooster and The Old Salt Loft for the amazing prizes. And of course, a thanks to those at Warsash for running the event.

Overall Results:

1st Ben Harden: 1 - 1 - 1
2nd Eden Hyland: 3 - 6 - 2
3rd Nic Tolhurst: 2 - 3 - 6
4th Nick Ripley: 7 - 5 - 3
5th Craig Richards: 8 - 7 - 4
6th Malc Hutchings: 4 - 2 - 14
7th Martin Jones: 5 - 10 - 5
8th Tim Freeman: 9 - 8 - 9
9th William Gould: 16 - 4 - 8
10th Richard Botting: 12 - 12 - 7
11th Keith Gilmore: 11 - 9 - 12
12th Peter McFarlane: 10 - 15 - 10
13th Richard Hill: 8 - 11 - DNF (18)
14th Douglas Clow: 14 - 14 - 11
15th Andy Wilson: 15 - 13 - 13
16th Robert Cowan: 13 - DNC (18) - DNC (18)
17th Simon Mann: 17 - 16 - DNC (18)

The new Blaze sail

The Blaze Class Association was pleased to unveil a modernised and refined new sail design, produced in-house by Hartley Boats at the Southern Championships.

Saturday was the first "mass" outing for the new sail, with five lucky sailors taking delivery of the sail for the event.

It came as no surprise that when the first sail was hoisted, the fleet came quickly pacing across the dinghy park to check it out. First impressions - it looks very cool!

The sail has been modernised with a variety of design changes. The most noticeable is the change in sailcloth from Ax40 to Pxb10. This change in sailcloth is expected to help the sail last longer and make it much easier to read for the sailor on the water. An almost as noticeable change is the now squared-off head of the sail. This new design allows the sail to fold away more efficiently in stronger winds, which should make the sail more manageable and more easily depowered. Slightly less obvious is the subtle change to the radial panel layout, something that should again make the sail easier to read and make the Cunningham control more effective.

After the fleet had seen enough, we all headed onto the water for the first race of the day and to see how the new sails performed. The one thing the class had asked for from Hartley Boats was a sail that wouldn't offer a huge performance gain and annihilate the old design and with it write off half the fleet.

It's safe to say the performance gains from the new sail were marginal with the real "gains" coming from the usability of an easier to read sail. Head-to-head around the course, the new sail was not deemed noticeable quicker. Exactly what the class wanted.

Another design brief requested by the class was for a more reasonable price. The old sail had crept above £1000, which is one of the main factors for the class approaching Hartley Boats and requesting a new sail. The new sail has been offered at £699 for early bird nationals entries - a whopping deal!

So, with a new sail and a fleet that is about to hit the 70 entry mark for its National Championship, the Blaze fleet continues to go from strength to strength.

For questions about the new sail contact Hartley Boats or one of the class committee.

Thinking about joining the Blaze fleet? Get in touch! We are extremely friendly and social but second-hand boats sell quickly. So, join the Blaze Facebook group and keep an eye open. Feel free to contact the committee if you have any questions about the class.

Sailors using the new sail finished 1st, 2nd, 9th, 10th and 16th. A good spread, showing it's down to ability more than kit!

Related Articles

Fire Inlands at Burghfield
A forecast for the adventurous Like the four previous years, the forecast for the historical Blaze Class season opener looked like one for the adventurous - 16, gusting 28 kts. Posted on 25 Mar
The RCYC Snow Globe races 7 & 8
James Hutton-Penman goes to the top after winning both races James Hutton-Penman goes top after winning both races on the 4th day of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club' SnowGlobe series, on 2nd of December 2023. Posted on 5 Dec 2023
The RCYC Snow Globe races 5 & 6
16 boats lined up, including 4 Otters and 2 visitors The third day of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club' SnowGlobe series, on 25th of November, saw Charlie Matthews move to the top of the table, after a second and a first place. Posted on 28 Nov 2023
The RCYC Snow Globe races 3 & 4
The Blazes win the second day The Burnham Blaze fleet took two wins on the second day of the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club SnowGlobe series, on 18th of November, as Charlie Matthews and Malcolm Hutchings won a race each. Posted on 21 Nov 2023
Blaze Inlands at Yorkshire Dales
Great forecast attracts visitors from Pembrokeshire to Aberdeen, Essex and beyond Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club hosted the 2023 finale of the Blaze sailing calendar, hosting the Inland Championship and respectively concluded the Travellers' Series. Posted on 22 Oct 2023
Sea Sure Blaze Nationals 2023 at Warsash
A class-record 71 boats entered for the event The Sea Sure Blaze Nationals took place across the long-weekend of 9th-11th June at Warsash Sailing Club, with a class-record 71 boats entering for the event. Posted on 19 Jun 2023
Blaze Nationals 2023 - Runners and Riders
At the time of writing 68 boats are entered The Blaze Nationals for 2023 returns to Warsash Sailing Club with new headline sponsor, Sea Sure, for 3 days of (usually) champagne sailing on the Solent Waters off Solent Breezes. Posted on 2 Jun 2023
Paignton Open Single Handed 2023
Tor Bay was a sight to behold with over 100 boats on the water for POSH Tor Bay was a sight to behold with over 100 boats on the water this weekend as Paignton Sailing Club hosted the 2023 Paignton Open for Single Handers (POSH), sponsored by Sailing Chandlery. Posted on 25 May 2023
Battle of the Hikers preview
No trapeze? Get to Rutland this May! The very popular Battle of the Hikers will take place on the 27th and 28th May 2023. 30+ boats are expected. The Graduates were the biggest class last time. Nick Craig sailing his OK was the overall winner. Posted on 18 Mar 2023
Hartley Boats Blaze and Fire Inland Championships
The deemed wisdom at Draycote in a westerly is to go left up the beat On the morning of Saturday 1st October 34 intrepid Blaze and Fire sailors gathered at Draycote Water Sailing Club for their Inland Championships, an event combined with the RS300 fleet for their Inlands also. Posted on 6 Oct 2022
Doyle_SailWorld_728X90px-05 BOTTOMHyde Sails 2022 One Design FOOTERVaikobi 2024 FOOTER