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Supernova Winter Championship at Bowmoor Sailing Club

by Alex Reeve 7 Mar 04:33 PST 2 March 2024
Supernova Winter Championship at Bowmoor © Georgia Viggars

An excellent turnout of 31 boats competed in the Supernova Winter Championship at the now-traditional venue of Bowmoor Sailing Club. The forecast of light winds and low temperatures proved only half accurate as the wind picked up to a gusty, shifty breeze, providing plenty of fun for competitors and spectators.

Before the racing, the hot topic was the performance of the new square-topped sail, which is now standard on the Supernova. Hartley Boats are still working through the more than 230 orders, so only the lucky few had one. Would it prove quicker than the old sail? With a high-quality fleet, including three former national champions, we were excited to find out.

The first race got away cleanly, with Sam Knight quickly finding the front and extending away. Cliff Milliner led the rest home after a tussle with Hugo Hansen in third, while Gavin Young had to work his way through the fleet to take fourth, with Will Gifford fifth.

The second race was back-to-back, and a bundle of boats at the pin end pushed the line, resulting in a few recalls. Will Gifford took an early lead, followed by Hugo Hansen and Alex Reeve. Shifty conditions shuffled the pack, with Cliff coming through to take over the lead from a very tight five or six boats. Will capsized, putting paid to his chances, while Cliff and Matt Williams extended, duelling for top spot. Cliff eventually took the win, followed by Matt and then Sam, who’d sliced through the fleet after a poor start. Hugo was fourth and Gavin fifth.

After a fine lunch and the chance to get some feeling back into our fingers, the fleet set out for the final race. It was all to play for, with any of Sam, Cliff or Matt still able to take overall victory.

Cliff and Hugo led the fleet around the first mark, followed by Matt and Alex. The racing seemed settled in that order until Cliff uncharacteristically took the wrong course, pulling Hugo with him and gifting Alex the lead. Racing remained close, with Cliff, Hugo, Gavin and Matt chasing Alex, while Sam was once again making steady progress. In the end, Alex was unable to hold off Cliff, who took a narrow win, or Sam, who finished second.

So, did we answer the question about the new sail? Early impressions are very positive, and it certainly looks smart, but any performance improvement seems quite small. Cliff and Sam were first and second with the old one, leaving Matt as the leading boat with the new sail in third place, and the next being Alex in sixth, all of which seemed roughly in line with expectations. However, it is a sign that the Supernova has evolved and is now a thoroughly modern, lightweight one-design racing boat, sailed by a friendly, Corinthian fleet. No semi-pros marketing the latest gizmos here, just enthusiasts who want to go sailing and have fun. And we already have 100 entries to this year’s nationals in Plas Heli, so whatever the special Supernova magic is, it’s clearly working.

Many thanks to Bowmoor SC for hosting an excellent event.

Some idiot messed up the prize-giving (and I should know because I was that idiot). The correct results are below:

1st Cliff Milliner
2nd Sam Knight
3rd Matt Williams

Platinum division: Cliff Milliner
Gold division: Tom White
Silver division: Paul Undrell
Bronze division: Matthew English

First female: Lizzie Fewings

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1st1245Cliff MillinerCotswold SC‑2112
2nd1192Sam KnightLyme Regis1‑323
3rd1248Matt WilliamsCotswold SC‑6257
4th1218Hugo HansenCotswold SC34‑67
5th1261Gavin YoungCotswold SC4‑548
6th1344Alex ReeveCotswold SC‑97310
7th1337Tom WhiteOlton Mere SC‑126814
8th1281Alan BishopGirton78(NF])15
9th1257Mike GibsonBartley8‑9917
10th1201Chris WilliamsCotswold‑1412719
11th1160Paul UndrellCotswold SC10‑111020
12th1307Martin RootsCardiff Bay1310‑1723
13th1318James GerwatShoreham SC11‑131324
14th1239David CannCardiff Bay SC‑17151126
15th1188Kevin ReedRoadford Lake15‑171227
16th1275Ian BarlowWinsford Flash‑16141428
17th1298Matthew EnglishBowmoor1916(DNS)35
18th1223Jon PebodyHunts Sailing Club‑23211536
19th1299Willam GiffordCotswold SC5(NF])DNS37
20th1176Mark HitchmoughBowmoor1819‑2537
21st483Lizzie FewingsBowmoor21‑221839
22nd1315Steve JohnsonCotswold SC‑28182139
23rd1305Stuart StephenBartley‑25241640
24th1080Craig RussellOlton Mere SC2020(DNS)40
25th1260Ben ViggarsBowmoor22‑232042
26th1309Serena StewardsonEmberton Park24‑252347
27th1180David StephenBartley SC‑29291948
28th1177Pete BinghamBowmoor27‑282249
29th1134Tom BaldwinOgston‑26262450
30th1069Andy MarshallBowmoor‑31272653
31st1118Ian HancockOlton Mere SC3030(DNS)60

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