A combined fleet of 26 boats contested the 2011 Crewsaver UK Mirror Inlands hosted by Northampton SC over the weekend of 16th / 17th July, where conditions varied from blustery and wet, to almost balmy and light.
With the Saturday morning having started with everyone preparing their boats in persistent rain following arrival at Nothampton SC, it was a nice break when the rain stopped just as the boats launched for the first race. Perhaps as a sign of things to come, Andy Smith proceeded to show a clean set of heels to the fleet to win this race, with brother and sister combination Milly and Nick Pugh posting a fine second place in the blustery conditions, and the Lulham-Robinson brothers in third.
After a break for lunch there were three races back to back, with the racing much tighter at the top and all crews having to balance flying the kite on some tight spinnaker legs and risk a dunking, or experience the thrill of some spectacular bursts of speed. There were some high profile capsize disasters during the afternoon (hullo Matt and Ben), but also some very fine sailing from junior crews of Matt & Ben Lulham Robinson, Rosie & Midge Watkins, Rory Mackenzie and Harvey Martin who, together with mother and son crew Sarah and George Richards, gave Andy Smith a hard time at the top of the fleet.
Mention should also be made of the younger less experienced crews that attended the event, and for whom the conditions were extremely testing. For a lot of them this was one of the first Nationwide events they had competed in as a crew. Well done to all!
The single handed fleet also put in some fine performances, with Eddy Grayson in particular revelling in the conditions, to regularly scream past the double handers on the off wind legs.
Sunday morning brought signs of sunshine, but the breeze became more extreme in its variability both in direction and speed. This resulted in some major gains for those that got the shifts correct, but some significant place changing for those that didn’t quite get it right. Rory and Harvey started the day off with a win, with Sarah and George second and Rosie and Midge third. In the second race Andy Smith banged in another first place, to remove the potential threat posed by the Lulham – Robinson brothers and Sarah and George Richards, and ensure first place in the Championship. Due to their two first places Matt and Ben managed to pip Sarah and George after finishing tied on points, and secure second place.
Eddy Grayson won the singlehanders event, with his father Matt in second place and Fred Gilbert in third.
Our thanks must go to Crewsaver for their sponsorship of the Nationwide Class Events, and to Northampton SC for hosting the event. It was a great weekend of sailing that was both entertaining to watch and, for those taking part, a good test event in what is the last Nationwide event before the Crewsaver UK Mirror Nationals at Restronguet SC in August.
Below are Helena Pugh & Libby Courage 'enjoying' the conditions - photo copyright Chris Bowen