Musto Skiff 2017 GBR Inlands – 18-19 Nov Grafham Water Sailing Club
Report by Dan Kilsby
32 boats enjoy eight tight races as part of the Ovington Inlands.
Despite a number of key competitors having their boats half way round the world en-route to the world championships in Australia, a strong turnout of 32 competitors joined the other Ovington classes to enjoy some incredibly close racing on the 18th and 19th November 2017. PRO Peter Saxton organised 8 slick races in a light, relatively steady breeze over the weekend.
Race 1 started in 7-10 knots with Jason Rickards cleanly port tacking the fleet. By the top mark Dan Kilsby and Ben McGrane were in the lead and managed to pull out a small gap from the chasing pack. After a close battle over three laps, Kilsby lead McGrane home, with fleet new boy Peter Greenhalgh putting in an impressive performance to come home in 3rd. In the second race, Richard Pelley led a Stokes Bay shoot out to clinch a close race (involving an exciting gybing duel down the final run) from Kilsby and Ben Schooling. Ben Clegg showed everyone around the course in race 3 to have a clear win from Schooling and Bruce Keen. Keen then won the final race of the day from McGrane and Schooling.
The fleet enjoyed a great social meal; Jason Rickards organising a table for 30 during the run up to the event.
Sunday dawned sunny but with a lighter 5-7 knots across the race area. The wind had swung a little, allowing a slightly longer course over 2 laps which gave more tactical options to confuse the sailors! Schooling enjoyed the slightly lighter conditions to do a horizon job in race 5. Greenhalgh followed him home for second with Andy Tarboton getting well deserved third. Mike Dencher lead the fleet in from the left hand side of the course in race 6 and pulled out a significant lead whist the rest of the fleet struggled in his wake. Clegg and Paul “Pin-end-Podium-Paulo” Molesworth rounding out the top 3. McGrane and Kilsby led up the right side of the course in race 7 and although McGrane extended into a clear lead, Kilsby was overhauled by Dencher on the final run. With only 1 discard and plenty of big scores on the board, the championships now came down to the final race with McGrane, Clegg, Kilsby and Schooling all still in contention. Having now tasted his first race win, there was no stopping McGrane and he shot off for another victory. Greenhalgh pulled off another excellent second and Podium Paulo rounded off a good weekend in third.
7 different race winners over 8 races proved how close the racing was and close battles were evident all the way through the fleet. In the end, McGrane proved that he was a clear winner by showing consistency across the tricky conditions. Schooling and Kilsby rounded off the top three. Well done also to Ben Schooling for winning the Musto Skiff National circuit 2017.
With so many top sailors flocking to the class it is clearly a great time to be sailing a Musto Skiff. The next worlds are in Melbourne in January and the 2018 nationals are sampling the delights of Weymouth Harbour from the friendly Castle Cove Sailing Club. Three ten year old boats finishing in the top four show that you don't need to have a new boat to be competitive, so come and join the fun in 2018!
Full results here: http://www.grafham.org/wp-content/uploads/_results/Opens/2017/Ovington2017.htm