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Osprey Inland Championships at Blithfield Sailing Club

by Kevin Francis 21 Oct 2021 10:12 PDT 2-3 October 2021
Osprey Inland Championships at Blithfield © Angela Mamwell / Blithfield Sailing Club

The forecast did not look promising and along with the national fuel shortage numbers were sure to be affected. On Friday night the first teams arrived with a few managing a quick shake down sail as the dusk fell, among them Richard and Mark Hartley in the new Mk VI Osprey. This was followed by an impromptu curry and the mandatory tapping of the real ale, a great start to the weekend.

Saturday morning dawned and was in fact a perfect day to go sailing. The wind was due to drop as the day went along but it would be trapezing conditions to begin with. 15 Osprey teams had made the effort and would be rewarded with some epic and challenging conditions throughout the course of the weekend.

Five races were to be sailed and the race officer did a fantastic job in setting courses to cover all points of sail with the usual bingo numbers hanging from the committee boat, the first challenge was to remember where you were actually supposed to be going.

The early races established the teams to beat with local specialists Chris Gould and Nick Broomhall battling with multi ex National Champions Terry Curtis and Peter Grieg with another local pairing, brothers Eden and Josh Hyland making the most of the class association loan boat to keep the pressure on. It was great to see another previous National Champion winning pairing Gareth Caldwell and Jonathan Gibbons back in an Osprey together, Gareth no doubt enjoying the relative comfort of the Osprey in these conditions against his usual mount of the International Canoe. Team Hartley took a couple of races to find the fast button but in race 3 were off like a scalded cat and well deserved.

By the end of the first day the racing pace had slowed as the wind began to die away as expected and thoughts turned to the spectacle of the hog roast, as ever the club and helpers put on a magnificent spread for the sailors and members of the club. Suffice to say no one was left hungry or thirsty with guest ales aplenty and Richard Hartley doing a top rate job as the class sommelier, a very enjoyable night and the perfect ending to the day.

In slight contrast Sunday was to be held in conditions that were to get more spirited as the day progressed. A fairly early start would help clear some woolly heads, combined with the obligatory dunking by most. The course was fabulous including a long flat out two-sail fetch the length of the reservoir just perfect for the high performance Osprey and very enjoyable for all crews.

The batting order remained fairly consistent with Kevin Francis and Tim Bowden beginning to gel and a third place the reward. Team Hartley carried out a full buoyancy check on the new boat which passed with flying colours and satisfied with this the duo retired from the days racing. The wind by now was funnelling onto the reservoir in large chunks and most teams were experiencing some technical issues especially with the spinnaker launches and drops. The rigs were increasingly raked to find the happy medium and the racing got faster and faster.

Anthony Harper & Steve Watson had been plugging away all weekend with Osprey 1155 back on the scene for the first time in a while but wisely elected to sit out the final race of the weekend. The weekend ended with Chris and Nick taking deserved line honours but the overall prize was awarded to Terry and Peter, in a tightly contested event.

The class would like to thank Blithfield Sailing Club for a wonderful event, to the club members and helpers that made it possible. Osprey sailors are a hungry and thirsty bunch but were never far from sustenance in one form or another, greatly appreciated. Also a special thank you to Richard and Mark Hartley for those extra touches to make the class feel special, again it makes a difference. Let's do it all again in 2022.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1Plan B1234Weymouth114125
2Oh Spray !1311Blithfield522217
3Class Boat1360Chasewater2434312
5Contains Nuts1350Consiton65610522
6Bird of Prey IV1349Kielder7379623
7Robbers Alley1363Carsington46106824
8Hartley Boats1381Blithfield981DNFDNC34
9Able Too1175WeymouthDNF1053DNF34
10White Stuff1373Poole119137734
11Jane1316Small Heath10118DNF938
12Dark Matter1369Great Moor813128DNF41
13Just pogo1114Tata Steel131411111045
14Y Lost1341Ribble141214121149
15Ginger Tendencies1155Notts County12151513DNC55

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