Manor Park once again provided a stern challenge to the skippers at the 2018 MYA Marblehead National Championships, but it wouldn’t do for all events to be the same would it?Fresh from their recent visit to blowy Fleetwood, most skippers arrived on Friday afternoon to a warm welcome and reports of a good forecast for the weekend, many talking up their chances; some tuned their boats, others fiddled, whilst many just stood and chatted.
Colin broke his mast!
Not to worry, the assembled skippers saw an impromptu masterclass from Brad Gibson on de-burring, bonding and carbon towing mast sections. Colin watching in amazement as his weekend was brought back on track, others just wondering how Brad could do this with so little mess…
The afternoon and evening saw a mixed bag of campers, tenters and hotellers (are these words?) arrive and register, many also had their fins and bulbs stamped ready for the big day. Many of those camping took the opportunity to enjoy fish and chips from the local “chippy” and an impromptu rig guide from Brad, the weekend had started.
Saturday morning saw the forecast breeze arrive, but with just a little too much South in it, giving RO Darin Ballington and his team difficulties in choosing which side of the Manor Park Island to set the course. The club had set out two sets of buoys on Friday just in case, however, and as always, the wind would not settle and constant tweaking was required.
A simple windward-leeward course was used all weekend with variations to the start line and gate allowing fair racing, even if it was a bit confusing for some skippers when 3 laps were called for. Counting to three should not be difficult but counting to 3 whilst also trying to catch one of the many Manor Park shifts. Darin had advised the fleet to pick wisely when choosing the shifts, but the fleet found it hard to distinguish between a good shift and the false ones, great to the onlookers who saw many changes of lead, but frustrating if you were the boat on the wrong side of the shift, but as they say, “it’s the same for everyone” although whoever said that had probably not been to Manor Park!
Like many clubs Manor Park RSC have an active fleet who wish to compete and in this instance the locals had been encouraged to race, so the club was a bit short of race team members, but with the assistance of Garry Box Darin managed to complete 10 races by the close of play. The other part of the race team being made up of our “Glamorous Ladies”, Min Edwards, Sarah Stollery and Penelope Ballington who kept Garry and Drain under control and ensured that the scores were recorded in the correct fashion.
Thank you ladies we would have been lost without you.
On the race course the lead was tight with no one skipper taking control on Saturday, Peter Stollery being the best, but even though Peter and his boat seemed suited to the conditions, the chasing pack were not going to let him get away. This pack including Andrea Roberts who was having a great time and showing many of the boys how to do it with her pink Starkers- maybe all those years at Birkenhead were paying off?
Racing was completed for the day around 6.15pm and the fleet retired to the clubhouse for the evening social.
Tracey Ballington and her Mum, Jacque, had prepared a mini feast for the skippers and along with Emily served hungry skippers, helpers and families with some wholesome home cooked grub. If RO Darin was expecting leftovers for his lunch on Sunday, he was sadly mistaken, as the fleet ate heartily and consumed all of the food, with Sam Roberts being heard to demand that his mum got the recipe so that she could cook it for him. We are no sure if it was the steak, the sausages or the port that he liked the most but he was a happy little boy by the end of the meal.
Thanks also to the visiting ladies who dropped off cakes and sweets for the meal, again by the end of the event nothing was left. Fortunately for the RO there was some left after Saturday night, but he made sure there was nothing to throw away by Sunday evening. A right little Billy Bunter he was. Special mention to Mrs Rensch who baked a gorgeous coconut cake which the RO almost singlehandedly demolished on Sunday.
Racing started promptly on Sunday morning with a course that was set for the SW breeze, one which was kept for the whole day with only minor tweaks to the mark positions. Austin Guerrier was particularly happy that the course had changed from Saturday as he would now be able to hit a different windward mark! Sometimes a boat just gets fixated on a buoy and hits it whatever the skipper wants… The same could be said for Derek Priestley who managed to park his chartered F-5 on both ends of the start line, sometimes before the racing began. Without these minor infringements his weekend could have been so much better.
Class captain Rob Vice was another who promised much on Saturday (1st in the seeding race) but went downhill on Sunday, the conditions should have been to his liking, being “Guildfordesque” although the empty bottle of rum outside his tent may give a clue as to Sunday’s problem; not that Rob was the only one who fully embraced the Manor Park social, some who improved (Brad) and some who had a woolly head (James) on Sunday.
The racing on Sunday continued to be tight, with many changes of position during the racing, the top three were pretty constant throughout the weekend, with the positions covered by only a handful of points until the very last races.
Reports concentrate on the winners, and rightly so but it was great to see some returning skippers and new designs on the water, Mike Cooke and John Stone did well with their new Rocket designs, Vinnie’s new pink Quark looked splendid as did his pink outfit. There was also a rare outing for the MYA chairman who dusted off his boat and allowed everyone else to show him the way around the course. Good to see you Terry. Vernon Appleton also returned to the fleet with a chartered boat displaying the 95 sail number, after a little bit of rebuilding, Vernon reported that he had made a boat out of it, but would be having a word with the owner before he borrowed it again!
As you will see the M’s are about more than just the racing.
Back to the racing, the final tally up saw Brad Gibson’s Sunday run of victories take him 12 points clear of the chasing pack with Peter Stollery finishing just one point ahead of Rob Walsh on the podium. Andrea Roberts sailed a clean and consistent event to finish in 4th place as well as top lady skipper and take home the classic cup (for boats over 10yrs old).
The rest of the top ten were:
7th– Duncan Ellis
10th (and 1st MPRSC skipper)- John Smith
2018 also saw all three pieces of the ToT’s trophy together again for the 1st time in a few years and this was presented to: Rob Walsh, Mike Parkington and John Smith. The Team of Three trophy (ToT’s) is presented to the team of three with the lowest overall points score.
The teams are drawn randomly after the third race into a skipper from the top, middle and bottom of the fleet after race 3. A bit of fun, but a great way of involving skippers from all parts of the fleet.
At the prize giving Colin Walton of Manor Park RSC presented the top 7 skippers with a piece of engraved glassware and a sample of the local Burton upon Trent brewing tradition; Brad thanked the organisers and PRO Darin wished everyone a safe trip home.
The next event in the 2018 calendar is the final ranking at Datchet Water RSC in November before the 2019 season will see the chase for places at the 2020 M Worlds- hopefully at West Kirby.
Sue Parkingtons excellent pictures of the event can be found here
Some great drone footage has been sent to us by our German friend Henning Faas