Europe sailors from across the UK descended on Oxford Sailing Club for the Europe Inlands for a fantastic weekend of sailing.
With three races per day, great hospitality, a diverse entry list, olds hands, newcomers, almost half the fleet under 23 with the eldest competitor in their early 70's and a third of the fleet female. Adding to this a fantastic forecast it was an event not to be missed. A number of 1st for the UK class, including Rosie Hill sailing a borrowed boat for the first time, brothers Daniel & Jack Osbourne making the trip from South Wales for their first event, the class using a leeward gate and experimenting with the O flag, allowing competitors the option of pumping when the wind was above 12 knots.
Saturday's racing was very close throughout the fleet. Richard Eagleton, Emma Pearson & Lucy Boreham having a great battle in races 1 & 2 with Lucy edging it to win both making the best of the shifty conditions, Hamish Morley in close pursuit to take 2 4th places. A slight delay due to the Finns being too eager at the start of race 3, meant the breeze had increased to 20 knots, making the downwind exciting with a few swims as the sailors got to grips with pumping.
The fleet returned ashore for a dinner at the club, a fun quiz and plenty of chat on the days racing and sharing of tips.
Sunday dawned with a bit more breeze, but sunshine. A further 3 races were planned. Race 1 saw a general recall with the fleet too keen to start, the race officer sensibly postponed the re start to allow the Finns to complete their 1st lap before the fleet got away cleanly at the 2nd time of asking. Another very close battle between Richard & Lucy in race 1.
George Crammond, sailing his new import from Belgium made a port hand flyer at the start of race 2 to take an early lead, but to find himself on the wrong side of a shift at the top of the beat dropped him to 4th to round, a very close battle between Emma Pearson, Lucy & Daniel Osbourne developed, Emma showing that technique over brute force can pay downwind taking the lead at the leeward gate, going onto take race 5, Lucy in 2nd, wrapping up the event and Daniel chasing hard to claim 3rd. Hamish Morley made a fantastic start to race 6 to finish 2nd, securing the under 18 prize.
A fantastic weekend was had by all, new friends made, new techniques learnt and big grins all round with all competitors going away with a goodie bag of excellent prizes.
A big thank you to Oxford Sailing Club, Jonathan Tweedle for his amazing organisation making this Inlands memorable.