420 INLAND CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE GOES TO IZZI DAVIES/GEMMA KEERS
Six races in big breeze testing conditions at the 2017 British 420 Inland Championships at Rutland Sailing Club, marked the first of the qualification events to select the British teams for this season's Championships.
A resounding victory to Izzy Davies/Gemma Keers saw them count a perfect scorecard of 5 race wins to claim the title with an 18 point margin. Second to Dan Atherton/Matt Viney, with Alex Smallwood/Ross Thompson in third. Click on the link to the right for full results.
Now take a read of the crashes and burns from the Championships as written by Izzy Davies & Gemma Keers:
An exciting weekend awaited the 420 fleet on the 18 March in Rutland Water as it was the first of our qualifiers for the summer events. The stakes were high and a focussed atmosphere loomed in the busy boat park on Saturday morning. 42 boats was a strong indication of a buoyant fleet with some excellent new sailors this season and included four Irish boats joining in for the weekend - just in time for the rugby!
After a quick briefing from our race officer, it was time for sailing. Woolly hats and dry suits were the attire for many. Acold westerly wind was forecast for Saturday. The sail out was a long downwind from the club to the far end of Rutland reservoir – resulting in a few capsizes and a ripped kite before the racing had even begun. Race one started with a general recall, but soon after the 420 armada was heading upwind. The wind ranged from 12-17 knots, the course mainly pressure driven with large bands of winds filling in from the edges.
Race three led to a dramatic capsize from the Heathcote-Boyle pair, leading to a protruding bolt entering a helm's foot meaning a quick trip to the hospital for stitches. Four races were soon complete on Saturday. Aching and tired, the fleet rolled into Rutland club house for hot chocolate and rugby at 5:00.
A disappointing loss for England vs Ireland didn't dampen the fleets attitude on Sunday morning. A fruity looking forecast meant many boats were launching on rake 4 - their most de-powered setting. A breezy and blustery first race saw a costly capsize to Davies- Watkins pairing, with Atherton-Viney taking the first bullet of the day.
Time for race two and the wind was really howling. Team Smallwood-Thompson were in the lead but took an unexpected tumble, losing their balance at the first leeward gate. Gusts now up to 36 mph and many boats upside down, it was time to shorten the course and send the fleet in. A special mention to Ollie Hawkins who managed to head butt a capsized centre board splitting open his lip and forehead.
Exhausted, the fleet just about survived another fantastic Inland championships hosted by Rutland Sailing club. Many thanks to all the volunteers of the race committee and especially the safety cover who were tested to their limits in Sunday's breeze.
We wish Ollie and Vita speedy recoveries from this weekend's sailing adventures. Well sailed everyone - the fleet will be reunited in two weeks at Hayling for the next qualifier.