Didn’t we have a lovely time the week we went to Antwerp
There were 27 boats in the Antwerp City cup 2.4mR regatta, 6 entrants from the UK. We were split into two fleets, Gold and Silver at the beginning of the series to make for good sailing on the water. Some remained in the same fleets throughout the series, whilst others gained themselves a promotion from Silver to Gold. Only Megan started in the Gold fleet and no surprise, she stayed there. The fleet was very close overall, giving everyone the incentive to keep trying , despite frustrations when it felt like one had a bad day on the water. A small improvement gave big rewards in results.
After a somewhat daunting briefing where one had to quickly swat up on flags to know what might happen, we took to the lake. The winds on the lake were surprisingly challenging. Coming from Frensham I thought it might be a doddle.. how wrong was I; pressure differences and shifty winds all adding to the challenge (and enjoyment?!). In the end all races consisted of a straight foward windward / leeward course (flag W), no inner and outer courses which required flag R (inner) or O (outer) were necessary. There was one abandoned race, where a wind shift meant the Gold fleet had a fetch to the windward mark. The Gold fleet also had one general recall, showing how competitive their starts were.
For a few of the GBR boats there was successful sailing. For others there were successful races and for others successful moments. We all had our personal moments of glory on the water, with Megan winning the series for a 3rd time. There was a wealth of information and sailing tips to be picked up from the European (and American, who had a strangely German accent) entrants, who were only too happy to help a “newbie” develop her 2.4 sailing skills. A great way to learn and another reason to recommend attending such events to others.
The regatta has an extremely good balance (unlike myself – those of you who were there know what I mean) of sailing and socialising, making the entry fee a bargain. An endless supply of Belgian Bitterballen and beer following the afternoon racing lead to a certain amount of “what day is it? ” A continuous game of word bingo (I believe Martin, Megan’s Dad, was the winner of this particular event) where everything one said had another meaning, entertaining clothing at the gala dinner (Simon and Keith sporting port and starboard chino’s respectively) , all added to the fun of the event. A few of us ventured into Antwerp for the Friday (yes Ian - the Friday) meal, where there was a surprise visit from Gene Kelly (aka Simon) who did a rather marvellous rendition of “singing in the rain”, whilst riding his bike , lit up like a Christmas tree- (no tap dancing though).
Next year is the 5th anniversary of the regatta and has promise of being a very special event, so hopefully a few more Brits will make the journey.
Kate Hedley GBR 143
2014 Inland 2.4mR Championships at Rutland Water
A fine and interesting Inland Championships with 16 boats competing. In the fleet, competing for the first time were the new paralympic pathway squads from the home club and Queen Mary SC. Conditions overall were testing enough for us seasoned oldies and it was simply amazing to see how these guys managed to get their new RYA boats around the course each day. Enthusiasm and grit were well in evidence from these guys and for one I wish them every success over the next few years and finally hopefully one of them will realise the dream of a Paralympic place. We look forward to seeing them at other 2.4mR Class events.
Racing in the fleet was always pretty close across the front part of the fleet. Conditions were for most part very strong winds and a heavy chop on the water. All things which make a 2.4mR both exciting and challenging. The only issue which we had, which we haven't encountered at this venue before was copious amounts of weed lurking in large masses just below the water. Once a 2.4mR was in the grips of these it was game over for the place that you had in that race. Several good places were lost that way and a certain amount of angst seen in those boats affected.
By far the best two sailors were Martin Whittingham Jones sporting his own brand of sails with excellent boat speed and Bruce Hill sailing the only Stradavari 2.4mR. Somehow each time these two came to the top of the fleet excepting weed moments and by the last day it was not obvious whether they or Iain Stowe would be the winner.
Sunday dawned with appalling conditions, heavy rain, poor visability, thunder and lightening and the prospect of the races being called off. However thank goodness a window in the weather came about and two races were sailed, the first in near perfect conditions and the last with gusts of gale force proportions. Once again Martin and Bruce headed the results for each race and now with two discards the results went as follows:
Inland National Champion Bruce Hill Frensham SC Stradavari
2nd Martin Whittingham Jones West Kirby SC Norlin Mk3
3rd Iain Stowe Rutland Water SC Norlin Mk3
4th Steve Bullmore Poole YC Norlin Mk3
The prizegiving praised our able race officer and his crew both on the committee boat but also in the mark laying and rescue boats. These were testing and difficult conditions to both lay a good windward course but also to handle the marks and to provide rescue cover.
The 2.4mR Class looks forward to being able to return in 2015 for another great event.
Steve Bullmore GBR 146
For more news about 2014 events click here.