Thursday, October 10, 2013
Very close racing in sunny autumn weather summed up the Squib Inlands at Rutland. 35 boats had 5 races in a series that went to the last beat of the last race to decide the Inland Trophyas well as the winner of the coveted Travellers Trophy.
Race one saw 6-8 knots of WNW with big variations in strength and direction. Mike Budd and Wendy Martin in Harry3 crossed the line first but retired after accepting that their attempted port tack cross of Nigel and Jack Grogan in Helmut Shoing II , on the first beat had been a foul. Behind them places had changed on the upwind and downwind legs according to who managed to balance shifts and pressure best. Malcolm Blackburn and Dave Shiel in Moonstone were winners followed by the on form team of Martin Harrison and Sarah Sullivan in Hussar and Dave Best and Pete Richards in Crossfire.
After the obligatory recalls, race two saw similar conditions and Gerard Dyson and Tony Saltonstall in Alchemy start at the committee boat end and head out to the right and victory from Malcolm Hutchings and Andy Ramsey in Lady Penelope with Moonstone behind.
Race 3 was delayed while the wind swung for a while to the NW then back again, Alchemy demonstrated their mastery of shifts which lesser teams maintained were unfathomable to win again by a fair margin, at the end of the last reach a sudden gust found the boats immediately behind Alchemy momentarily head to wind with their spinnakers up and some desperate defensive measures by Brian Holland and John Stevenson in Dream On who had been second, saw them and the Grogans lose two places to Ian Gray and Ian Simmonds in Chequemate who craftily sailed around the melee for second and the ever improving team of Phil Aspinall and Howard Enkells in Guy Fawkes for third.
Overnight Alchemy led the Grogans with Lady Penelope in third.
Sunday saw sunshine, mild temperatures and a consistent 8 knots from the SW. The Grogans went hard left and when they returned they crossed in front of Mike Hughes and Gary in Pocohantes, with Lady Penelope behind. The Grogans then proceeded to gain on every leg to win by a long way with Lady Penelope second. Bill Webber and event organiser, Mike Barnsby in Yes M'lady from the home club were an impressive third.
The wind proceeded to fill in to give champagne sailing conditions for the final race. Alchemy still needed a good result to offset their 10th in race 4 and Lady Penelope needed to finish in the top 4 to beat the Grogans.
Three generall recalls and 5 boats black flagged saw the pressure on with a good start a vital part of Squib racing. Best away were the Lady Penelope team with Alchemy and the Grogans looking distinctly mid fleet. The Grogans and Alchemy came together at the wing mark and the penalty turns with their spinnaker up saw the prize slip away from Alchemy although it earned them the not so coveted jacket for “Dick of the day”. But the Grogans had to watch helpless as Malcolm and Andy ground their way through the leaders to second place on the last beat behind Harry3 .Hussar had another good race to finish 3rd.
Lady Penelope finally won a “big one” in a much deserved fashion having come close to winning in the two of the last three National championships. The Inlands is considered by many to be even more difficult to win than the Nationals because of the closeness of the racing on the shifty venue which is compounded by the minute differences in speed in Squib racing. The Grogans had to settle for second, Gerard and Tony showed their mastery of Rutland racing but were a little unfortunate to slip to third.
The Travellers trophy which combines the best 4 results from 8 open events in the year showed the same three boats in the same positions!
On the water the top 6 had three old boats and three new boats, but Martin Harrison's performance continues to stand out especially as his boat , number 500 is supposed to be slow!
5 out of the top 6 boats had Hyde Sails .
The team trophy went again to the RCYC who really seem to be threatening the Abersoch elite after Malcolm and Andy's win.
Next year sees the 20th anniversary of the Squib Inlands Championships which promises to see epic racing for this iconic keelboat event.
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