GBR: Charlie Whelan, Richard Hall and Richard McAdam are 2011 UK SB20 Inland Champions
Laser SB3 Inland Championship 22-24th April, Rutland Sailing Club
Held in what the winner called the “August sun “ and heat over the 3 days of Easter(!), the Inland Championship held at Rutland Sailing Club proved highly competitive , with no clear winner until the last race. And each race was won by a different boat.
Good Friday and 24 degrees C – who would have believed it? For those racing, and not sunbathing, in the 6 knot wind the PRO shifted the course for each race. Race 1 had to be re-started, as the wind swung 90 degrees up the first beat, so letting the late or barging starters off the hook. Scots Ross Lang, Dan Challis and Matt Thomas, racing in their first SB3 event, then won the race, and they held the overall lead throughout the weekend until the last race!
The day’s challenge was to spot where the pressure would be coming from, with a few strong gusts and many shifts thrown in for interest. In race 2 Dave Atkinson featured notably, but sadly unsuccessfully. Having returned to SB3 racing by buying back his old boat “Kit Off” the previous afternoon, he led on the short upwind leg to the finish and full-bloodily tried to carry his kite to the line, only to fail in the last boat length and fall back to 5th. The Huttons – Richard Wharam, Nick Wright and Ed – took the win, but then managed to be OCS in the next race, which was won by another Scots boat helmed by Doug Paton.
Saturday proved to be hot and windless, with the boats left lying alongside the brand new extended Rutland Club pontoons, which the SB3s had christened. But in the late afternoon plans to cycle around the Water were interrupted by PRO Chris Wright attempting to catch the usual sea breeze from the Wash, but it failed to materialise. Chris said that as a PRO at many years of major events he had never before lost a day’s racing. But the SB3s had had 3 races for a Championship, while other major weekend regattas had not yet raced in 2 days!
That night there was a fleet dinner, lubricated by free wine generously donated by David Atkinson.
Sunday brought steady 10 knots of cooler N breeze. Callum Calder’s Young Pretender won the shortened 4th race so that now every Scot had won a race. In race 5 Peter Saxton’s Rola-Trac alone headed along the leeward shore in pressure and a lifting starboard tack, to win by 400 metres – the biggest winning margin of the weekend. Behind him Charlie Whelan in Here Comes Bod was one from the back as he started the final lap, but climbed up, covered and overhauled 4 boats after a quick early gybe, and finished in 5th place.
All came down to the last (6th) race – could it be Ross Lang, or Charlie or Peter, or 2 – 3 others? With a lighter and warmer breeze Charlie overhauled Dave Atkinson, and held off Peter Saxton by a boat’s length to win the Championship with his crewmen Richard Hall and Richard McAdam.
Coming up from the Solent Charlie said it had been a fantastic weekend in every respect, sailing and socially, racing against people with such good spirit many of whom he had never met before. Thanks go to MarineGlaze, Crew Fuel and Gill for the prizes.