The UKWA have just returned from a busy weekend of racing in Pwllheli in north Wales, Louis Morris reports the highs and lows…
The UKWA Cup series continued where it left off this weekend with event 4 which took place from the beautiful Abererch Sands near Pwllheli in north Wales.
The northerly and north-westerly winds bought sunshine, and gusty, shifty conditions to the 66 competitors. This meant that racing was very tactical: those who could seek out the gusts and play the shifts did well, those that didn’t had to rely on luck!
This report is mainly about the Raceboard class since I know what happened more or less, I’ve also reported a bit of the other classes, but don’t know the details of the racing.
Saturday morning had winds between about 8 and 14 knots. I had some good starts, but with the gusty and shifty conditions, there was a lot of swapping of places. I felt fast downwind in these conditions, but it was critical to find the gusts other wise you’d be in a hole and struggling to plane. Mark Kay pushed me all the way around the course to take 2nd behind me in both races whilst Tom Naylor and Rob Kent got a 3rd and 4th each.
Race officer Tessa Ingram decided to send all the fleets in for lunch whilst the Formula fleet completed a further 2 races before the wind died as forecast to that afternoon.With the gusty wind, it was tricky enough for them even on their biggest sails.
The wind did indeed drop to light non-planing conditions in the afternoon This made life easier for me to keep Mark Kay at a more comfortable distance behind me as he battled with Rob Kent for 2nd. Tom Naylor didn’t have such impressive speed in the light conditions, but Harriet Ellis and Annette Kent each had a top 5 finish. Youth Raceboard Gemma Grayston had some perfect starts and impressive upwind speed all day, but lost out downwind and finished the day just 1 point behind a slightly less consistent Aiden Liddy.
The wind was back up to marginal, gusty conditions on Sunday morning. More offshore this time. In the first race of the day, Annette Kent made a risky port flyer on the start line, but it worked out well. However, the fickle wind meant that others were able to catch up quick. Tom Naylor and Mark Kay both had amazing upwind speed, but it was Mark who worked harder downwind, allowing him to take 2nd in both races behind myself, with Rob Kent, getting past Tom to take 3rd.
The wind picked up in the afternoon and suddenly some guy called Chris Guest started making an appearance at the front of the fleet! He hadn’t sailed a longboard for 3 months, so was a little rusty, but his straight line speed is impressive when it’s windy. He couldn’t quite hold it together enough to finish higher than 4th though, but he wasn’t the only one making mistakes: me and Mark both sailed the wrong course a couple of times in the one of the morning races, luckily for me, Mark made his mistake on the last reach so I won that one. I also decided to stick with my big 52cm fin: big mistake, I really wanted my 46 down those reaches!
In the first race of the afternoon, I had good speed off the line, but soon found myself between Mark and Tom, and there was no catching them upwind. I managed to catch Tom downwind, but spent the rest of the race playing catch up with Mark. He also lead the last race perfectly from start to finish. In the end, I won the event with 6 out of 8 race winds, with Mark in 2nd and Rob Kent in 3rd. Annette Kent was only 1 point ahead of Harriet Ellis to be first lady. Aiden Liddy had the edge over Gemma Grayston on Sunday, so he was 1st youth.
In the formula fleet, Chris Bond and Dave Coles finished the event on equal points, both dominating the top two places in almost every race. Unfortunately for Dave, he sailed the wrong course in the last race, handing the win to Chris. Jason Clarke took 3rd, winning both races on Sunday morning to add to his super consistent performance.
Most of the Techno fleet had at least one big score to discard, proving the high level of the fleet and the tactical conditions. The win came down to the tie break as Henry Bloodworth just won ahead of first girl Sarah Labourne in 2nd, and Matt Carey in 3rd. Josh Carey finished 1st 6.8, miles ahead of his nearest competition.
Rob York dominated the 16 strong RS:X fleet, with the Sills twins taking the remaining podium places. Saskia was a little more consistent, but both had a few big scores. With 2 discards, Imogen took 2nd and first girl, two points ahead of her sister Saskia in 3rd.
Full results here: https://ukwindsurfing.com/results/
1st. Louis Morris, 1st lightweight (Starboard Phantom 377, Tushingham XR Race 9.5)
2nd Mark Kay, 1st master and 1st heavyweight (SB Phantom 377, Demon 9.5)
3rd Robert Kent, (SB Phantom 377, Tushingham XR Race 9.5)
1st woman: Annette Kent (SB Phantom 377, Tushingham XR Race 8.5)
1st Youth: Aidan Liddy (Fanatic Megacat, Tushingham XR Rce 8.5)
1st Robert York
2nd Imogen Sills, 1st girl
3rd Saskia Sills
1st. Henry Bloodworth
2nd Sarah Labourne, 1st girl
3rd Matt Carey
1st 6.8 boy: Joshua Carey
1st 6.8 girl: Marina Round
1st Chris Bond (Point 7 sails, Gaastra board)
2nd Dave Coles (Severne sails, Gaastra board)
3rd Jason Clarke (Severne, Starboard)
1st National 11m: Adrian Wallis (Gaastra sails and board)
I’m now leading the UKWA Inland series, and I’m 7th in the Cup series having only competed in two of the 4 events so far.
Stay tuned for my daily updates from the Raceboard World championships next week!