Int. Europe UK Inland Championships - Draycote Water SC, Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th September 2021
For those arriving on the Friday evening it was a drizzly but warm affair, but Saturday (race-day 1) arrived with a very decent F2-4 and bright skies that cleared to streets of cumulus as the day wore on.
An outer trapezoid course was set for the Europes (with Finns on the inner loop), with the Race Office standing for no messing about and opting for the U flag from the off.
Race one saw a battle for the pin end of a long startline followed by a beat up to the first mark, set quite close under the West dam making it hard for even the class experts to predict the shifts. With a decent breeze at the committee boat the O flag had gone up from the off, allowing unlimited pumping; the outer loop downwind leg was actually rather light though and it took a time for the fleet to realise that pumping was allowed… once they had then the experienced pumpers started to really make some some gains and a pattern started to emerge with Steve Cockerill taking line honours, followed by Sarah Cockerill and Hector Cisneros.
Race two followed the pattern with Steve and Sarah establishing a lead early on, race three mixed it up a little though with Tim Laws taking line honours after some close racing to break Steve Cockerill’s clean sweep.
Race four saw an improved start from some of the fleet stalwarts with Jon Tweedle and Steve Whitby (unknowingly ruled UFD) all pushing the front runners for a time before slipping back and letting the more consistent sailors through. Race five was another great start from Jon, leading the fleet right up to the third mark but unable to hold on as the race progressed, leaving Steve C to bag another victory with Emma Pearson (always there or thereabouts) close behind and Jon a very creditable third.
There were notable moments of glory for most of the fleet through the day (not necessarily apparent in the results), George Cormack, Kat Walker, Richard Major, Luke Lazell and many others held their own for good periods against front runners.
As you’d expect from such an experienced and well-mannered class there were very few incidents all day; three boats UFD, three swims downwind (failed pumping), one fantastic save (Harry!) and one astonishing incident when Luke speared Richard Eagleton’s masthead between mast and halyard tail (releasing the halyard lock and dropping Richard’s sail!).
Five races back-to-back was a pretty gruelling day, despite the fine conditions. Many of the fleet were “camped out” on the car park and spent the evening cooking, chatting and chilling…. though it seemed that everyone had turned in by nine pm!
Sunday dawned with zero breeze and with that looking set for the day, racing was abandoned and the results declared.
Adam Catlow scored consistently well to retain his Youth title, and a notable mention for Gareth Tweedle, scoring a creditable 7th, as well as class newcomer Hector Cisneros who put a really strong and consistent performance to finish 3rd overall (just one point ahead of Tim Laws).