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Allen Flying Fifteen UK Inland Championship at Chew Valley Lake

2nd-3rd September 2023

Like many of us, I can remember when you just turned up at an Open Meeting and sat it out, drinking coffee, until some wind appeared. Unfortunately these days there are any number of online weather forecasts to tell you it’s likely to be a weekend of more sitting around than sailing, and the Flying Fifteen Inlands this year was a good illustration of the impact this can have!

Nevertheless, the fleet that did turn out at Chew Valley for the 2023 Inland Championship sponsored by Allen, over the weekend of 2 & 3 September, was of a high standard, including the current inland champions and many teams with a record of top results.

Saturday started still and misty, but by mid morning the mist was lifting, and by time the briefing was done at 1115 there was a steady breeze from the expected direction and somewhere above 7 knots. The fleet launched, navigated through a flotilla of fishing boats, and arrived in the start area in time for the racing to get under way right on schedule at 1230.

Race Officer John Smalley cautiously set 2 laps of a windward-leeward course for race 1, and the competitors started to get used to some extremely variable conditions. In fact, the fleet got round the course quicker than expected and finished well within the target time. Race 1 winners were John Hanson and Helen Selden, followed by David McKee and Mal Hartland, with Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett in third. Behind them, more than one of us found in the fickle conditions it was perfectly possible to lose 6 places on the final short run to the finish!

After that short race to become accustomed to the conditions, race 2 was doubled in length to 4 laps of the same course. It was becoming clear that the middle of the course was rarely a fun place to be, and there was a definite left/right split in the fleet on the upwind legs. Andy McKee and Richard Jones led for the first 2 laps but hadn’t spotted the increase to 4 laps and were passed at the bottom of the second run by David McKee and Mal, who went on to take the race followed by Dave Lucas and Nick Stone in second, and John and Helen in third.

Race 3 was more of the same, this time Dave Lucas, teamed up for the first time with local Chew expert Nick Stone, read the conditions best and took the win. Second were Ben Cooper and Richard Bundock, followed by Andy McKee and Richard Jones.

With a perfectly timed schedule for the afternoon, John managed to get a fourth race in before the wind started to fade, ensuring that whatever Sunday delivered we would have a discard. David and Mal took their second race win, followed by Ben and Richard, then Tim and Jo Johnson from the home club in third.

Sunday’s forecast had been looking a bit sketchy all week, and so it turned out. From the many available forecasts, the Race Team had managed to find one that hinted we may get a sailable breeze by midday, but it turned out just to be enough to tease for a few minutes before fading again. Racing was cancelled at 1200 and the results at the end of day 1 stood. The top 3 overall were:
Dave McKee and Mal Hartland were deserved winners
  • 1st 4065 David McKee and Mal Hartland, Dovestone Sailing Club
  • 2nd 3904 Ben Cooper and Richard Bundock, Grafham Water Sailing Club
  • 3rd 4094 John Hanson and Helen Selden, RYA
  • 4th 4017 Dave Lucas and Nick Stone, Grafham Water and Chew Valley Lake

The UK Flying Fifteen Association, and Chew Valley Lake SC, are grateful for the generous sponsorship by Allen, who provided prizes for the event.

The Flying Fifteen open meeting calendar continues through September, with events at Dovestone and South Cerney next weekend, and then the National Championships 21-24 September at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy – also the venue for the next World Championship in 2025.

See you all in Weymouth!
Sailed: 4, Discards: 1, To count: 3, Rating system: PY, Entries: 14, Scoring system: Default scoring system
Rank Sail_Number Helm_Name Crew_Name Sailing_Club R1 R2 R3 R4     Total Nett
1st 4065 David Mckee Mal Hartland Dovestone SC 2.0 1.0 (5.0) 1.0     9.0 4.0
2nd 3904 Ben Cooper Richard Bundock Grafham Water SC (6.0) 4.0 2.0 2.0     14.0 8.0
3rd 4094 John Hanson Helen Selden RYA 1.0 3.0 6.0 (7.0)     17.0 10.0
4th 4017 Dave Lucas Nick Stone Graffam Water SC (10.0) 2.0 1.0 8.0     21.0 11.0
5th 3760 Jeremy Davy Martin Huett Draycote Water SC 3.0 (5.0) 4.0 5.0     17.0 12.0
6th 4005 Andy McKee Richard Jones Dovestone SC (7.0) 6.0 3.0 4.0     20.0 13.0
7th 3795 Tim Johnson Jo Johnson Chew Valley Lake 4.0 (10.0) 10.0 3.0     27.0 17.0
8th 4055 Ian Pinnell Ian Cadwallader Chew Valley Lake 5.0 7.0 (12.0) 6.0     30.0 18.0
9th 4069 Bill Chard Josh Preater Chew Valley Lake (9.0) 9.0 7.0 9.0     34.0 25.0
10th 4080 Simon Patterson Simon Thompson Draycote Water SC 8.0 8.0 (11.0) 10.0     37.0 26.0
11th 3969 Peter Card Stephen Card Cowes Corinthian (13.0) 12.0 8.0 13.0     46.0 33.0
12th 4030 Alastair Stevenson David Culpan HISC 11.0 11.0 (13.0) 11.0     46.0 33.0
13th 4041 Simon Cooper Alastair Cooper Bewl Sailing Assoc 12.0 13.0 9.0 (14.0)     48.0 34.0
14th 3948 Rob Hiiggins Jaye Chew Valley Lake 14.0 14.0 (15.0 DNF) 12.0     55.0 40.0

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