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07/05/2016
Inlands Welton Sailing Club

A warm and sunny weekend at Welton S.C. in the East Riding of Yorkshire and a fleet of 31 Streaker dinghies were the ingredients for an excellent Inland Championships. Several of the boats were very new, their owners having taken possession of them in the last few weeks and so there was lots of interest in seeing who would be at the front of the fleet.

Saturday’s three races were sailed in a north-easterly breeze which strengthened and became gustier as the day progressed. In race 1 Ben Hollis, a newcomer to the class sailing a borrowed boat, took the lead early on and, despite being chased hard by last year’s Inland Champion Ian Jones, took the win. Behind these two there was a good scrap for third place; Veronica Falat had moved up into third by the last lap but capsized in a gust at a leeward mark and it was Doug Horner who took over that place, with Jon Aldhous fourth.

The fleet came ashore for lunch and then races 2 and 3 were sailed back-to-back. These were tough races with the wind not only quite strong at times but very shifty and gusty. In race 2 James Dawes made a good start but gradually Ian Jones took control and at the finish Horner had moved up to second, with Dawes third and Ian Lees fourth. Several people decided to sit out Race 3 but it was good fun for those with confidence in their boat handling! Again Jones was out in front with several boats fighting for second. In the end it was Horner who finished ahead of Hollis and Lees.

So, overnight, Jones was leading, with Hollis and Horner both still in with a chance. The forecast for Sunday was for a south-easterly to build during the day. After the only general recall of the weekend, the morning race (race 4) was sailed in a pleasant force 3, with a windward leg that was the length of the lake. Jones took the win, ahead of Ben Ratcliffe with Steve Blackburn taking third after a string of fifth places the day before.

The final race, after lunch, was dominated by Graeme Bristow who led from start to finish. Behind him, Horner and Hollis were fighting for second place overall. Hollis had a narrow lead over his rival but this wasn’t enough; he needed Horner to drop back into the chasing group of Ratcliffe, Jones and Falat but that wasn’t to be and in the final calculations it was Horner who secured the runner-up spot in the Championships. Blackburn took 4th overall although Ian Lees’ boat finished with fewer points – but it was sailed by Lees on Saturday and Ratcliffe on Sunday and so counted as two separate entries.

For Ian Jones this was his third Inland Championship win in succession. Counting 3 firsts and a second, he looked comfortable whatever the conditions but it was also encouraging to see that several new guys in the fleet were able to push him hard. In fact, wherever you were in the fleet, there was close racing, especially as the courses tended to feature starboard-hand windward marks, always a provider of entertainment and shouting in gusty conditions!

The Silver Spars trophy for the first in the Silver fleet (as opposed to the Gold fleet)was awarded to Ed Wheldon of Welton SC in 11th place overall. Runner-up was Paul Noble of East Lothian YC who was 15th.

Welton SC were very friendly hosts and were sincerely thanked by competitors, especially for the lunches and delicious cakes. The whole event was most enjoyable. Roll on the Nationals at Rutland in July!



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