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OK Southern Area Championship at Hayling Island Sailing Club

by Paul Childs 2 Oct 2023 04:16 PDT 30 September - 1 October 2023

There are not many times you head to an open meeting to line up against such a stellar fleet as assembled at Hayling for the OK open. There were a couple of absentees, but this was almost THE who is who of OK Sailing.

Eight of the thirteen competitors have won national titles in their careers and with the current UK & Belgian National Champion - Andy Davis, Current European Champion - Charlie Cumbley, European Bronze Medalist - Matthew Howard, FF15 National Champion - Russell Clark and current Hornet National Champion Gavin Poulloin in attendance there was some good form on show!

With all this talent on show, it was Matt 'Reido' Reid in a borrowed boat, who showed early promise, hiking like only an ex-pro laser sailor can and Paul Childs (Less hiking, more lard) who led the way early in R1. As expected, Childs threw the anchor over the side as soon as he turned downwind and Howard and Cumbley showed what happens when you have the technique and time spent in the boat to wriggle through on the run. Both looked very classy and comfortable in the wind and chop to sail through with Reido taking 3rd.

As the day progressed and the tide turned, the sea state built - It was getting lumpier and windier, sailing in the mouth of Chichester Harbour the fleet battled for two more races.

Howard, Russ Clark and Cumbley rounded well in R2, with Howard looking like he would take another win, however, and to much delight of the chasing pack. Howard went for a swim on the reach. This was particularly amusing, as the Olympic coach - famed for his own and for his expertise in coaching downwind sailing was due to give a talk on downwind sailing later that evening. Reido took 2nd, followed by Clark.

R3 and 4kts of tide pushing the fleet over the line saw some interesting starting technique, some favouring the head downwind and spin up, and others a timed run from deep. Other than the start being chaos I cannot remember much of this race - fatigue, lack of fluid and an increasing hangover from a wedding the night before meant that race was pretty hazy... However, it looked like much of the same... Cumbley the master downwind took the win from Howard with Davis finding some pace to take 3rd.

A great day of racing in wind and waves was enjoyed by all, some wobbly moments were captured by Peter Hickson, local photographer and most amazingly - he even managed to capture a smile on Taxi's face! Proof can be found here.

Sunday dawned and it was looking GLAMOUR! Hayling Bay west was calling and the wind started at 10kts. The only complaint was from - you guessed it, Taxi. "Its too hot for October!"

R4 and it was same again, Cumbley sailing brilliantly, Antony Osman mixing it in the front, but the final result was Cumbley, Howard, Davis.

R5 and possibly the easiest race for Davis, he stormed out the traps and was never seen again. Howard continued his string of 2nds and Cumbley 3rd.

R6 dropping even lighter and the tide building made it all about finding the pressure upwind and the downwind pace - something I failed to do on both counts, but the battle up front was fierce.

With Cumbley taking the last race, he was crowned Southern Champion, Davis' 2nd secured S4B and Howard finished 3rd taking 2nd overall.

The racing all day was brilliantly tight, any mistake punished and each sailor pushing the others in fair, tight, fun racing!

It was a really tough event, with quality sailors on the course, each race was highly competitive and incredibly fun, just what sailing an OK is all about.

Thanks must be given to Adrian Ward and his race team for setting good courses in challenging conditions, Andre Ozanne and the team at HISC for making the event happen and to the sponsors - North Sails, Suntouched Sailboats and Allen.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st6Charlie CumbleyHISC2111‑316
2nd2279Matthew HowardHISC1‑4222310
3rd11Andy DavisSouth Staffs SC5‑7331214
4th42Matt ReidParkway YC325‑64418
5th91Russell ClarkStokes Bay SC‑73656525
6th87Paul ChildsHISC46877‑932
7th28Anthony OsmanHISC‑99945734
8th49James DownerGurnard SC85489(RET)34
9th2036  68‑12108638
10th2241Nigel KingLyme Regis‑11117910845
11th2053Peter NormanParkstone YC‑12121111111055
12th2104Charlie MaunderHighcliffe SC101010(DNC)DNCDNC60
13th25Anthony RichBowmoor SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC75
13th2088Gavin PoulloinWeymouth SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC75

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