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2023 Hansa National Championships at Rutland Sailing Club

by David Durston 12 Aug 2023 09:06 PDT 4-6 August 2023

The 2023 Hansa National Championships returned to Rutland Sailing Club on the 4th-6th August, although we experienced 3 seasons during the event, none of which were summer. The forecast for Friday was a yellow warning for thunderstorms. As luck would have it the reservoir seemed to have its own microclimate with a 15-24 knot westerly and sunshine.

Making hay when the sun shines, the race team decided to bank a third race, two were scheduled, but the forecast for Saturday was for cold, wet, and windy. The racing took place in front of the club house, and the audience were treated to the colourful sight of 36 Hansas battling it out. The 2.3 class set out first on the outer trapezoid course, followed by the Liberty's on the long outer, and then the two Hansa 303 classes on the inner course. The winners on the day were Lindsay Burns in the 2.3 fleet wth 3 firsts, the same as Natalie and Alan Hillman in the 2-person 303 fleet. In the Liberty and 303 1-person fleets, David Durston and Rory McKinna both achieved 2 firsts and a second.

It's not all serious competition on the water. The Hansa Class is a great community, and it was fantastic to spend an enjoyable evening after the day's racing with a dinner followed by a light-hearted quiz, hosted by Nicky Durston. Apart from being fun, the purpose of the quiz was to raise funds to help the Class to support a team of 20 who are heading to the Hansa World Championships in Portimao, Portugal in October. Marie Pears arranged a very successful evening and we're very grateful to those who donated raffle prizes. £1000 was raised on the night. If you'd like to support the team, donations can be made https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/hansa-class-uk-1

It turns out that the decision on day one was good. Although the wind was within the safe limits on day 2, the promise of cold and wet was definitely realised. The sailors were sent out with the ambitious target of 3 races back to back, but the conditions and time on the water meant that this was cut short to 2. The course was set towards the dam to enable the long mark to be positioned. Some of the less experienced sailors had a bit of an eye opener that they were on the water for 4 hours in quite battering conditions. All of the fleet leaders extended their leads, with only David dropping one result, coming 2nd to Paul Phillips.

Again, a pleasant evening was enjoyed by all involved. Rutland Sailability put on a lovely BBQ, which followed a brief AGM. Many of the sailors and volunteers were exhausted from two days of competition in testing conditions.

Day 3 was at least dry and a little warmer, with a dropping wind. Two races were scheduled, leaving the event one short of the target 8 race series. That said, this was a minor miracle given the forecast before the weekend started. In Race one the fleet leaders did enough to secure victory, so the top positions remained the same as at the end of day 1. It was good to see some new faces on the podium, with Debra Pennington finishing in 3rd place in the 303 class. Also of note was Logan Bell's performance. This promising junior achieved a 2nd and two 3rds but missed out on a podium place. He was awarded the Endeavour Trophy, and I'm sure will be one to watch for the future.

At the prize-giving Ron Sawford gave an emotional speech as he stepped down as Secretary after 24 year's service to the Class. The members gave generously for the gifts that he was given. Pauline Harrison was thanked for all her efforts in the organisation of the event, as were all the volunteers involved. We are also very grateful to the two International Race Officers, David Wilkins and Antonio Dionisio.

All results can be found here.

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