Musto Skiff 2017 Stone Open - 30/9 & 1/10 2017.
Report by Paul Molesworth
Photos by Tim Olin
After losing his national championship title Alex Knight is fighting back and has made it two from the last two open events of the 2017 calendar, with only the Ovington inlands to go. Although Alex and some others will be unable to attend opting to ship their boats to Melbourne for the worlds in January over a November weekend at Grafham, aka the coldest place on earth.
So, onto the Stone open event, it was a reduced 10 boat fleet that made the trip to Essex. With the wind swinging randomly, race one split the fleet into two groups for most of the race, with Dave Poston managing to hold on to take the win. Race two was a bigger battle between the fleet with Richard Smith taking the early advantage leading the way after Dave P took a swim on hoisting his kite. However, midway through the wind swung hard right and the windward mark had to be relocated, this allowed Alex to seize his opportunity as he picked his way upwind to take the lead and race two. After a short delay, the wind strengthened and with a lengthened beat, race three saw Dave P doing a disappearing act over the horizon, with Dave Annan picking up second and Alex third.
With that the fleet returned to shore for an evening curry and drinks, although special mention must first go to Dave Annan for winning the real event of the weekend and being crowned the conker champion, also to Tom Taylor who despite being new to the class had ruffled a few old timer feathers and was sitting happily in third overnight.
Sunday dawned, and with a steady breeze and the promise of more to come, it was agreed for the fleet to have a reaching start from the onshore race box. The main reason being stated that the committee boat was taking on water, although coming into Autumn I am sure the cosy start box was an added attraction. Being the designated driver the night before Richard Smith was clearly the most alert and took off like a scolded cat on the reaching start of race four down the estuary, with the rest of the fleet in hot pursuit. By the time the three laps where done Alex emerged victorious reaching back towards the club followed by Dave P. Race 5 saw a closely packed fleet reaching off the start however Dave P had popped his kite early was over the start. A quick U-turn and he set of in hot pursuit, as can be seen from his Go-pro footage, managing to fight back into second behind Alex. However, he was soon informed that his attempt to correct his early start had failed, leaving Dave A to take the second.
The final race saw a clear start and with the wind increasing led to a congested first mark with the whole fleet arriving under full power on mass. Richard and Alex came out worst and decided that taking an early swim was better than the inevitable contact. Despite this set back Alex managed to climb back to second on the final reach and with that secure his victory. With Dave Poston taking second overall and a consistent set of results Paul Molesworth took the final podium slot.
Thanks goes to stone sailing club and the volunteers.
Full results >>>