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Cyclops Marine 2023 November - LEADERBOARD

Blaze Inland Championship at Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club

by Trevor Bawden 22 Oct 2023 11:15 PDT 14-15 October 2023
Blaze Inlands at Yorkshire Dales © Paul Hargreaves Photography

Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club hosted the 2023 finale of the Blaze sailing calendar, hosting the Inland Championship and respectively concluded the Travellers' Series. The prospect of a fantastic forecast for a weekend's sailing attracted visitors from Pembrokeshire to Aberdeen, Essex and beyond.

A lot of the long-haul travellers arrived on Friday evening and were greeted by near freezing temperatures. Autumn had definitely arrived - or, for most Southerns, it seemed more like winter!

The club made up for cold temperatures with a very warm welcome and a takeaway from the local curry house to fuel us for the weekend ahead, and to keep the frost off the tents!

Saturday morning dawned with a building breeze and by the time we were all briefed of the local racing marks, the wind was blowing a steady 18-20+ knots. During the preparatory signals the wind built a little more, which was testing everybody's boat handling skills and saw the first of many capsized boats of the weekend.

Race 1 got under way and it quickly became evident who'd had more practice in the stronger winds than others. Our ex-Chairman, Richard Botting, found himself questioning his weekend choices whilst trying to work out which way up his boat was quickest! The race concluded with Christian Smart, Will Gould and Malcolm Hutchins claiming 1st, 2nd and 3rd spots respectively.

An unusual format for a lot of us, we returned ashore for lunch after just one race. To be fair, it is said that no sailing is good enough to deprive the Yorkshire folk of their Tea!

Venturing back out from the warm clubhouse fuelled by a warming lunch, we were greeted by darkening skies and reports that the RO was recording 34 knots of wind, which led to most of us taking shelter while the weather front passed.

Malcolm, on the other hand, still revelling in the great first race result decided to launch, then rapidly spent the next ten minutes inspecting the underside of his boat.

Race 2 got under way with the passing of the weather front leaving us with some champagne sailing conditions. The compact fleet, saw some great racing throughout.

Race 3 brought the return of the dark clouds and fairly testing gusts. Making gains through the fleet with good boat handling was the key to success. Christian showed us all how it should be done, taking a lead by over a leg, while many of the fleet opted for a safer tack-at-the-gybe-mark tactic, known down in Essex as the Pink Gybe.

Ashore, once again we met for a great sociable evening, catching up with some new and old Blazers whilst enjoying a lovely meal cooked by the chef of the local Clarendon Hotel. Many of us watched Wales and Ireland fight gallantly in the Rugby World Cup while other non-rugby fans were relaxing in the club hot tub!

On Sunday morning we were greeted by a ground frost and frozen boats, and a steady 8 knots. There were scenes likened to a LeMans Start with no one wanting venture out in the cold until the last possible minute.

Race 4 proved to be tricky for the RO to get under way with the breeze slowly increasing and veering left creating a substantial port bias on the line and up the beat. Keith Gilmore read the situation perfectly and capitalised on an early lead, staying ahead to the finish.

Race 5 brought a strengthening breeze and a test of tired bodies. This made for some tough racing throughout the fleet and one-on-one battles. A perfect end to a great championship.

A huge congratulations to Christian Smart for taking top spot in this year's Blaze Inland Championship.

2023 Inland Championship Results:

1st Chris Smart - Pembrokeshire Yacht Club
2nd Will Gould - Carsington Sailing Club
3rd Nick Hunt - Scaling Dam Sailing Club

Blaze Class thanks go to Tim Heaton and Yorkshire Dales Sailing Club for a warm Northern welcome and a well-organised event, to Imogen the well-tested RO and her safety boat team who were kept pretty busy. The caterers from the local Clarendon Hotel who provided a delicious Saturday evening meal and manned the bar. Thanks to Paul Hargreaves Photography for braving the conditions to return with some excellent work.

Also, of course, thanks to Hartley for their support of this event in providing the super glassware that every entrant took home.

About the Blaze Class Association

The home of Hartley Blaze, Fire and Halo sailors

The Blaze Class Association exists to assist the development, promotion and organisation of Blaze sailing. We welcome you to a community of friendly, fun-loving sailors, focused on maximizing smiles both on and off the water, whether you're a competitive racer, racing newcomer, casual cruiser or just revel in the camaraderie.

As the Yorkshire Dales Blaze Inland Championships draws us to the end of another competitively fizzing year, the Class looks forward to the 2024 season with a busy programme of championship events and training, as well as some lower-key race meetings specifically built-in for the less-confident to get involved. So, get involved!

Selden SailJuice Winter Series 2023/24VariousNov 23 - Feb 24
Fire Inlands and Blaze Open 2024Burghfield SC23rd March
Carsington Training and Blaze/Fire openCarsington SC13th‑14th April
Blaze Eastern Championships 2024Isle of Sheppey SC4th‑5th May
P.O.S.H 2024Paignton SC11th-12th May
Fire Nationals and Blaze Open 2024Warsash SC1st‑2nd June
Blaze National Championships 2024Pembrokeshire Yacht Club21st‑23rd June
Blaze Northern Championships 2024Yorkshire Dales SC20th‑21st July
Blaze Southern Championships 2024Pevensey Bay SC14th ‑ 15th Sept
Blaze Inland Championships 2024Chase SC12th‑13th Oct

Visit www.blaze-sailing.org to browse regularly updated Class info, news and events, and cruise over to our Blaze Sailing Facebook group - an open platform for general questions, specific advice and relaxed chat.

If seeing the boat up close, or hearing about the Class has sparked interest, contact the Blaze Class Association for more information and to arrange a Blaze or Fire test sail. Class boats available for try-out, racing or just for fun.

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