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Ronstan A-Class Catamaran Nationals during the Gill Cat Open at Grafham Water Sailing Club

by Neil Klabe 7 Nov 2022 05:06 PST 22-23 October 2022
Simon Longstaff racing his A-Class Cat during the Gill Cat Open at Grafham Water Sailing Club © Paul Sanwell / OPP

Grafham Water Sailing Club hosted the Ronstan A-Class Catamaran National Championship as part of the recent Gill Cat Open. Water levels in the reservoir had dropped over the hot summer making launching slightly difficult in the soft mud. The race committee lead by Nigel Denchfield had extra work to do to ensure that the event got the green light to proceed.

Seven A-Class sailors entered the Nationals: 1 foiler and 6 classics. What we lacked in numbers we made up for in quality having Grafham sailors Hugh MacGregor and Julian Bosch fresh from competing in the Europeans in Lake Garda. Clacton sailors Peter Boxer and Dan Brzezinski making the journey from the east coast. Gordon Upton representing Rutland and Neil Klabe and Simon Longstaff also from Grafham.

The first day's sailing was a typical fantastic Grafham Autumn day with blue skies and a nice force 3 -4 wind. The race officer John Reynolds put to the fleets the option of having 4 races on the Saturday and two on the Sunday as the forecast for the Sunday did not look great.

So, battle commenced, and the race officer set a Great Course up wind down wind avoiding the area of the lake where an Island is beginning to surface due to the water level, which was last seen in 1976!

Race 1 - Hugh who has been adopted by Grafham as he has been training over the summer months at the club ready for his Europeans campaign normally sails in Largs in Scotland was the on-form classic sailor to beat and sure enough he proved too good for the rest of the fleet over the weekend winning all 6 races. However, he was pushed at times by Neil also from Grafham and Peter from Clacton. With first place going to Hugh the competition was for 2nd and 3rd place. Gordon was showing great up-wind speed on the first race however he rounded the leeward mark on the first lap and promptly capsized and was out of the race due to gear failure. Neil managed to hold on to Hugh's transom and came in second, Dan in third then Peter and Simon. Julian Bosch was the only foiling A-class entered so he had loads of fun flying around the course showing great speed and boat handling skills.

Race 2 - Hugh again was away in the distance with Dan in second Neil in third followed by Peter. Simon did not continue as he was suffering from an old skiing injury.

Race 3 - Hugh started again from where he left off and showed us how to sail the A-Class, his speed up wind was a good 10% faster than anyone else he was pointing off the wind but going much faster and downwind he was sailing a higher angle and driving the boat hard. Second place went to Neil and third to Dan.

Race 4 - Hugh did his thing again and disappeared into the distance but the rest of us mortals fought it out, with many place changes Dan came in second Neil third and Peter fourth. So ended the first day and we were all glad to have a great meal in the club house and chat about the days racing, overnight Hugh (no surprise was in first) Neil and Dan tied for 2nd and Peter 4th.

Sunday

Race 1 - The rain was chucking it down so hard that you could not see the other side of the lake but the wind was great. We had another competitor on the Sunday Tony Welch from Grafham sailing his beautifully restored Unicorn. As soon as the race officer set his course the A-Class fleet was off, and again Hugh was away, being chased hard by Peter and Neil and as the wind was lighter than Saturday Peter the light wind specialist was doing great. At the finish it was Hugh first close behind was Peter followed by Neil then Dan. This race was much closer.

Race 2 - As first place overall was now guaranteed to Hugh it was all to play for second place with Neil, Dan and Peter in with a chance. As the gun went off to signal the start of the last race Neil was over the line and had to go back letting the rest of the fleet sail up the beat. Hugh was in first place and lead all the way to finish first, however Neil fought back and at one point passed both Peter and Dan to be in Second.

On the last downwind leg Peter got in front and Neil and Dan ended up match racing down the run. Dan managed to get the upper hand and came in third followed by Neil just feet behind.

Overall Results:
If you took part in the A Class Catamaran nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

1st A-Class Foiling National Champion Julian Bosch
1st A-Class Classic National Champion Hugh MacGregor

PosSail NoHelmClubSCHRSR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st18Hugh MacgregorGrafham Water Sailing Club12611‑21115
2nd16Julian BoschGrafham Water Sailing Club0.981‑62145214
3rd30Daniel BrzezinskiClacton Sailing Club12633‑524416
4th3Neil KlabeGrafham Water Sailing Club12624433‑516
5th1963Peter BoxerClacton Sailing Club1264‑5352317
6th1097Tony WelchGrafham Water Sailing Club126(DNC)DNCDNCDNC6639
7th166Simon LongstaffGrafham Water Sailing Club1265(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC41
8th4Gordon UptonRutland SC126(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC45

A great time was had by all. Grafham again did a fantastic job under difficult circumstances with great race management both on the water and off. Thank you to all the race officers, mark layers and competitors. See you all next year! A full set of results can be seen here. Grafham Water SC would like to thank their sponsors Gill for their generous support of the club and the prizes. Special thanks to all the club members who volunteered for race and rescue duties. More photographs of the event can be viewed at the Grafham Water SC Photo Gallery.

Grafham Water SC is based in Cambridgeshire and offers some of the best inland sailing in the country. The club is open to all classes of boat with strong fleets of Sprint 15's, catamarans, Lasers/ILCAs, Solos, D-Zeros, RSs and Flying Fifteens. For more information about the club please visit the website at www.grafham.org or call the club on 01480 810478. Follow the club on Facebook at www.facebook.com/grafhamwatersc

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