There are times in any sport and event where preparation and hard work by the organisers along with the correct ingredients being added create a very special event.
Our IOM Nationals at Fleetwood were certainly very special, it had everything, from zig zag courses due to unfavourable wind, mental and physical challenges, fantastic social and camaraderie between competitors, sunshine and rain and last but not least C rig on the final day from the NW, Fleetwood at its very best.
Day one started with mid A rig and a breeze from the NNW but forecasted to shift to the WNW as the day went on.
Seeding races were won by James Edwards, Darin Ballington, Chris Harris, Rob Walsh and Gavin Watson.
With the seeding races complete the breeze then shifted as forecasted to the NW with the race team changing course and a windward leeward the length of the lake being used. After five races the top seven were all within seven points with the day finishing on race 6C, all skippers were treated to beers in the Fleetwood clubhouse and a free prize draw.
Day two dawned with very light airs and rain from the SW, not a particularly favourable direction but with some sound decisions made by the race team, racing moved along at a decent pace despite the damp conditions.
The Wind increased as the day went on with B rigs in use by midday and the majority changing rigs at least a couple of times in the afternoon as the conditions changed.
With time running out, race 9, heat A was to be the last for the day, with a protest in the prior heat and the wind shifting and increasing from the NW all skippers were found changing back to B rig. The best race of the day with Chris Harris taking a good win.
With racing finished, skippers attended the event social at the Venue in Cleveleys where all enjoyed a Hog Roast, part two of the prize draw and Uncle Derek’s quiz.
Day three started with Fleetwood at its very best, at times thirty knots from the favoured NW, with a course the length of the lake with wave conditions at the leeward gate like a washing machine!
The subsequent races were a joy to sail, fantastic courses at high speeds and a joy to watch. Rob Walsh produced a fantastic run of results on the final day to further consolidate on an impressively consistent day one and two to take the 2018 title by an impressive fifteen points. Brad Gibson after an 18 month break from class racing took second position with John Tushingham taking the final podium by two points from Chris Harris back in fourth.
(Rob Walsh Collecting the Championship trophy from Derek Priestley event PRO)
Most improved after day one was Austin Guerrier improving 26 places by the time results were tallied.
The prize for best sportsmanship was won by overseas entrant Hasan Guvan TUR, despite the trials and tribulations throughout the event was always found competing with a smile.
The Prize for top performance by a skipper that has yet to win a UK National Championship was won by Steve Landeau USA.
Full Results can be found here
A massive thank you must go to all at Fleetwood MY&PBC from the ladies in the galley, all volunteers and the race team who delivered in all conditions on every day to create a very special championship.
Not forgetting the Venue Cleveleys for a fantastic evening of great food and beverage during the class social.
Thank you Fleetwood, the 2018 UK National Championships will be remembered as a very special event.
Event images from Damian Ackroyd can be found here