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General Handicap and Challenger open meeting at Ogston Sailing Club

by Marion Edwards 5 Oct 12:44 PDT 1-2 October 2022
General Handicap and Challenger open meeting at Ogston © Marion Edwards

Sailors arriving on Friday afternoon at Ogston Sailing Club for the General Handicap and Challenger Open got very, very wet while preparing their boats. Once they'd finished, it faired up and remained that way for the weekend (so at least they had chance to get all their kit dry!).

There were eleven Challengers in the 26 boat general handicap fleet. There were six visiting Challenger sailors: two from Scotland and five from Rutland SC. One of the latter had kindly been loaned an Ogston Challenger. In addition, on Saturday there was a one day open meeting for the Supernovas and on Sunday one for the Comets.

The wind was typical for Ogston, that is to say highly variable in both strength and direction. On Saturday the wind was predominantly SWly and mostly F3 gusting F5, though there were substantial wind shifts and numerous holes to trap the unwary (Duncan Greenhalgh (280) called it "devilish").

On Saturday the Supernovas had the first start with the Challengers starting two minutes later followed by the general handicap fleet. This led to some real handicap racing as the faster Challengers caught up the Supernovas and the general handicap fleet worked their way through the Challengers.

Fortunately the Challengers were launched in good time as two had to return for a brief pitstop. Graham Turner (4) was having problems with his mainsheet and Richard Johnson (6) had to sort out problems with both his sail and centreboard. With help from the shore crew both made it to the first start in time.

In Race 1 Graham Hall (270) was lead Challenger for the first two laps. However, he and Val Millward (312) encountered a Challenger backmarker and things got a bit "interesting". Ultimately Val made a more successful mark rounding than Graham H. (who tacked on at least two headers). Val was first Challenger in third and Graham H. was seventh.

The conditions definitely favoured the Albacores as they took first (Judy and Paul Armstrong) and second (Simon Law and crew). Lower down the fleet Stephen Laycock (238) learnt the hard way that Challengers sail better with their full complement of three bungs. Chris Keats-Hannan (5) had a more positive learning experience when Val diagnosed her wrinkly sail as suffering from having too much kicker to allow the downhaul to work effectively - after that things went better.

The fleet then returned to shore for an excellent lunch (as is usual at Ogston). After lunch the boats were launched for two back to back races and by this time the wind had increased which favoured the Challengers.

In race 2 Steve Lee (301) was first Challenger to the windward mark but lost out by having to do two separate penalty turns. Val was also required to do a penalty turn on the first beat after infringing a Supernova. Graham H. managed to complete the race without having to do any penalty turns at all! The race was won by David Tiney (quite an achievement for an over-canvassed K1) with Val and Graham H. taking second and third respectively.

In race 3 Graham H. was lead Challenger from the windward mark to the finish, and later found he had won the race. Challengers took the top six positions and apart from Chris and Stephen all the Challenger sailors achieved their best result. As for Chris and Stephen, when they approached the windward mark of lap two they somehow got entangled but eventually managed to sort themselves out (without requiring a safety boat). The main beneficiary of this muddle was Gillian Bates (3).

So Val was the clear overnight leader with Graham H. second and, Judy and Paul third in their Albacore.

Much of the fleet remained at the club for an excellent evening meal when many post-mortem discussions were held.

First thing Sunday morning there was a typical Ogston glassy calm over the reservoir. Gradually the breeze built but its direction was undecided. The briefing was delayed half an hour by which time the breeze had stabilised to a very light NWly. The race officer said the forecast was for F2 gusting F3. At times there was more than this and at times much less. This was not Challenger weather.

The Supernovas had now been replaced by the Comets. The General Handicap fleet had the first start, followed by the Comets and then the Challengers. This reordering made perfect sense in the lighter winds. The race officer wanted to avoid the Comets trying to start through a line littered with Challengers who had been slow to get away in the light breeze (or lack of it!). However, it meant that there was minimal mixing between the three fleets.

Graham H. and Duncan started race 4 badly. Graham H. was merely 10-15 seconds late whereas Duncan infringed David Driffill (275) and had to do a penalty turn. This led to them taking a different route up the beat and it paid off as Graham H. was first Challenger to the windward mark. He held on to the lead until the last lap when Duncan managed to get passed him. Duncan was delighted to be first Challenger but was down in seventh on handicap. The race was won by the Albacore of Judy and Paul, with David Tiney second in his K1.

The highlight of race 5 was Caz Jerromes (313) rounding the windward mark as second Challenger. Unfortunately she was unable to maintain this position but it showed her what was possible. Graham H. had managed to grab the Challenger lead and clung on to it to the end. During the second lap the wind became very light and shifted wildly. On the last downwind leg the wind filled in from behind and Graham H. was struggling to keep ahead of the chasing pack. As he rounded the leeward mark he found some breeze and was able to hold on the take the Challenger win (but was only seventh on handicap). Albacores took the first two places followed by David Tiney.

Once the final results had been calculated (and recalculated) the Albacore of Judy and Paul Armstrong was first overall with the K1 of David Tiney in second. Simon Law and crew were third in another Albacore. Val and Graham H. were fourth and fifth respectively.

However, when the Challenger results were scored separately, Graham H. came out on top and was presented with the Harry Fisher Shield as first Challenger with Val second. David (eight overall) leap frogged over both Steve (fifth overall) and Duncan (seventh overall) to take third. Sometimes the results aren't quite as expected!

All in all an excellent event which allowed the Challengers to excel on Saturday and the general handicap fleet to get its revenge on Sunday!

Thank you to Ogston Sailing Club, particularly the race officers Andy and Janet Gomm, the event organiser Craig Harrison, the galley team and safety crews. A special thanks to everyone, but especially Bob and Craig, who helped launch and recover the Challengers.

Challenger-only Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st270Graham HallRutland Sailing Club‑221216
2nd312Val MillwardRutland Sailing Club112‑437
3rd275David DriffillOgston Sailing Club4‑543213
4th301Steve LeeRutland Sailability3335‑614
5th280Duncan GreenhalghBassenthwaite Sailing Club‑5451515
6th6Richard JohnsonRutland Sailing Club‑6666422
7th313Caz JerromesRutland Sailing Club(DSQ)887730
8th4Graham TurnerOgston Sailing Club8978‑1032
9th6Chris Keats‑HannanOgston Sailing Club710‑119834
10th237Stephen LaycockSailiability Scotland(RET)71010936
11th3Gillian BatesOgston Sailing Club9119(DNC)DNC41

Overall Results:

PosClassSail NoHelmCrewClubPYR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1stALBACORE8228Judy ArmstrongPaul ArmstrongScalling Dam103815‑7118
2ndK1150David Tiney Ogston SC107041‑112310
3rdALBACORE8135Simon Law Ogston SC103827‑84215
4thChallenger312Val Millward Rutland SC1173322‑11916
5thChallenger270Graham Hall Rutland SC1173731‑8718
6thK1152John Mellors Ogston SC107058‑145422
7thChallenger301Steven Lee Rutland SC117394312‑1328
9thALBACORE8237Matt Metcalf‑SmithWilliam Metcalf‑SmithOgston SC1038810‑166529
8thChallenger280Duncan Greenhalgh Bassenthwaite SC117311657‑1229
10thChallenger275Dave Driffill Ogston SC1173‑109410831
11thChallenger6Richard Johnson Rutland SC117314116‑151142
12thSUPERNOVA412Phil Hind Ogston SC107512‑191291548
13thENTERPRISE20806Luke WilshireFreya WalkerOgston SC11221315‑18141052
14thChallenger313Caz Jerromes Rutland SC1173(DSQ)1313181660
15thChallenger4Graham Turner Ogston SC11731914919‑2061
16thSUPERNOVA523Matilda Harrison Ogston SC107516‑1715161461
17thLASER/ ILCA 7142116Mike Wiltshire Ogston SC1100(DNC)DNCDNC3663
18thLASER RADIAL189200Mike Heap Ogston SC114262110(DNC)DNC64
19thLASER RADIAL166336Daniel Dean Ogston SC11421518‑21171767
20thChallenger238Steve Laycock Sailability Scotland1173(RET)1219211971
21stChallenger5Chris Keats‑Hannon Ogston SC11731816‑20201872
22ndChallenger3Gillian Bates Ogston SC1173202017(DNC)DNC84
23rdFLYING FIFTEEN3816Jon LeeKaren BrailsfordOgston SC1015(DNC)DNCDNC13RET94
24thCOMET TRIO (MK I)408Daisy RossMaureen ShearerOgston SC1104(DNC)DNCDNC222197
25thALBACORE7407Paul Metcalfe‑SmithEmma Metcalfe‑SmithOgston SC103817(DNF)DNCDNCDNC98
26thCOMET Garyy Jackson Ogston SC1210(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC108

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