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ILCA 7 class during the 2021 UKLA Masters Inland Championship at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Guy Noble 20 Oct 03:08 PDT 16-17 October 2021
2021 UKLA Masters Inlands at Grafham © Paul Sanwell

Another year, another surprising Inlands and Alan Davis would like that trophy back, but some new faces put pay to that. Colin Leonard from Ballyholme Yacht Club managed to hold onto an overnight lead to take the title of Masters Inland National Champion with Alan Davis and Gary Knott just two points adrift in the second and third respectively.

Along with Rutland Water and Chew Valley Lake, Grafham Water is one of the best inland sailing venues in the country - big enough to fit a decent course but no tides and flat water. Mastering the skills needed to excel in puddle sailing, as it is sometime often referred as, has helped some of our greatest sailors and so 64 ILCA7 and ILCA6 sailors (32 in each fleet) prepared to do battle.

Before they set off to these open meetings and championships many sailors will look to the race reports to give them insight into the venues sailing idiosyncrasies - south-westerlies in Portland Harbour usually means going left off the start line. However very minor changes in wind direction on inland water can produce massive differences in favoured sides of the course, not to mention huge pressure differences. You've been warned.

After a short delay race 1 got underway in very light conditions, 4 - 6 Knots at 170 degrees. The fleet split with those favouring the left coming out with a slight advantage. Graham MacWhirter claimed the race win with Colin Leonard 2nd and local Phil Bevan 3rd.

Race 2 offered up similar fare but this time Alan Davis took the win with Phil Bevan 2nd and Colin 3rd. You would think a pattern was now emerging but no. Race 3 gave Alan a very bloody nose in the form of a 24th - as he commented, one of his worst results he could remember. Top dogs were new Master recruit Clive Eplett 1st, Dave Goddard 2nd and David Binding 3rd.

With the prospect of much better wind on Sunday the leaderboard looked wide open and the championships were still well and truly up for grabs.

As is now becoming the tradition with Masters weekend events lavish spot prizes and prize draws courtesy of our incredible sponsors make the evening entertainment rather trilling. Bob Draper from Stokes Bay SC walked way with the Minorca sailing Holiday, Howard Green and Alison Stevens won quality Vaikobi Bouncy aids and others won some very nice kit. Graham water sailing club laid on some great nosh and we all left ready for Sunday…

The promised 10 to 13 knots did eventually kick in. But the first race, although a massive improvement on Saturday, was still pretty tame - 6 - 8 knots southerly. Maybe Mrs. Knott had obviously given Gary a talking to because he came out fighting hard and took the win. Bill Busby (Leigh & Lowton SC) was starting to find his form with 2rd and Alan Davis bouncing back in 3rd. But Colin Leonard was now looking vulnerable with an 8th…

The wind increased for Race 5 and 6. The left was still good at the bottom of the course but depending where you were in the fleet getting in the pressure further up was crucial. Andrew Holdworth (normally seen in the USA at the Gorge and now new masters recruit ) stormed into the lead with Mark Greenstreet (Wembley SC) sailing almost perfectly, having his best race of the weekend to come in 2rd. Clive Eplett put in another good performance to get 3rd.

The Championships were now between Colin, Alan and Gary. Colin hadn’t won a race, Alan was surprisingly inconsistent and needed to win, and Gary, consistent but needed another win. In the end it was Andy Holdsworth who won the last race with Alan coming in 2nd, but this wasn’t enough. Colin Leonard just managed to do enough to become the ILC7 Inlands Master National Champion.

Notable performances - apart from those already mentioned several sailors achieved some excellent results - Tim Keighley, Malcolm Marsden, Howard Green, Peter McChrystal, Andy Fox, Michael Parker, Matthew Fletcher, Keith Videlo (former Open National Champion eased his way back, finishing 3rd in the final race - he will be a contender next season) all with a top ten result. Nick Stoten came close in several races but lost out at the last mark roundings.

6 great races orchestrated and brilliantly choreographed by Nigel Denchfield and his excellent team from Graham Water SC. UKLA say Thank you Grafham.

We are proud to be sponsored by:

  • Sailingfast - Duncan brings his battle buss down from Scotland for most the big events, which is so ridiculously well equipped, you could replace everything on your boat. Although based in Scotland they will get anything to you super fast. He also supplied many of the prizes for the draw on Saturday evening.

  • SouthEast Sailboats - Max brings bespoke quality at affordable prices to the class. His passion for detail has made his products a must have for anyone who wants quality. He also supplied many great prizes for the event.

  • Ovington Boats - Chris Turner lives dinghies and has been a significance presence in the boat building world for decades. OB are now the official UK builders of ILCAs. A very smart new Ovington ILCA Dinghy was on display at the Masters event.

  • Vaikobi - A brand born on the waters of Sydney Harbour, out of a passion for all ocean sports. Across the team, we paddle, Surfski, SUP, Wing Foil and Sail. Sailing has been a passion within the business right from the start. The senior management team at Vaikobi comprise more than fifty years of marine industry and sailing experience between them.

  • Minorca Sailing Holidays - Specialists in sailing holidays in Minorca. Whether you'd like to learn to sail, windsurf or just improve your sailing Minorca Sailing Holidays will guide you with great instructors and a perfect and safe environment.

Overall Results:

PosSail numberHelm NameAge CategoryClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st204159Colin LeonardAM 236‑84419
2nd213699Alan DavisGMParkstone Yacht Club91‑2436221
3rd216380Garry KnottAMOgston SC64515‑921
4th213558Andrew HoldsworthGM 1210‑1861130
5th164436Clive EplettGM 1061113(DNC)31
6th214073David GoddardMWeir Wood SC7527‑201031
7th213052David BindingGGMWeir Wood SC593412‑1433
8th191871Phil BevanGMGrafham Water Sailing Club32‑151511738
9th217429Guy NobleGMQueen Mary SC81195‑16538
10th214942Tim KeighleyMWest Riding SC4‑1816127645
11th213697Keith VideloGMFrensham Pond SC11‑20121010346
12th180672Bill BusbyGMLeigh & Lowton SC‑20154291848
13th209831Graham MacwhirterGMScammonden Water SC119‑261981158
14th182219Malcolm MarsdenGMBlackpool & Fleetwood YC1412219‑221268
15th211111Howard GreenGM ‑2771025151572
16th215231Keith CrebbinZero 19131316(DNF)1778
17th214299Peter McChrystalGM 15820‑24211680
18th213580Stuart BelfieldGMLeigh & Lowton SC182122‑26131387
19th209003Mark GreenstreetGMWembley Sailing Club1725‑272322289
20th218700Andy FoxGMLeigh & Lowton SC232319(DNC)17890
21st160551Michael ParkerGM 16‑26817262592
22nd188783Nick StotenGMMounts Bay SC‑31141118252896
23rd183153Matthew FletcherMIsland Barn Reservoir SC‑3230713272097
24th210560John RobersonGGM 211614‑29232397
25th215376Nicolas Van TienenAMStokes Bay SC2422‑29201821105
26th212146Gareth HumphreyGMSpinnaker Sailing Club2224‑25221919106
27th178823Terence OneillMSeafarers/ RSrnYC28‑3128141424108
28th201939Ashley DeakinGMOxford SC1327302124(DNC)115
29th197774Carl AveryMBurton SC25172327‑2926118
30th204719Andrew McLeishGM 26‑3217282827126
31st205187Michael MeakerGMNorth Lincolnshire & Humberside Sailing2929‑31303029147
32nd161435Nicholas PeelM 302832(DNC)DNCDNC164
33rd214415Chris EllyattGMQueen Mary SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC185
33rd209265Michael HicksGGMQueen Mary SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC185
33rd134447Mike HeapGGMOgston SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC185
33rd210139Simon StonehouseGMRutland SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC185

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