MUSTO Skiff 2018 GBR Inland Championships- 3-4 November 2018.
Report by Dan Henderson;
Photos by Tim Olin
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A Tale of 2 Halves
33 keen MUSTO Skiff sailors were greeted with a Gusty southerly breeze at the MUSTO Skiff Inland Championships hosted by Grafham Water Sailing Club. Grafham also known as the coldest place on earth was surprisingly tropical with temperatures above 10 degrees, this didn’t hold the fleet back from wrapping up warm, especially Andy Gould sporting a double huggy bear and dry suit, more on that later!
PRO Peter Saxton and his team were eager to get racing under way so the fleet made their way to the start line with a few taking a swim on the way in the gusty conditions.
The first race got underway in a solid 18-20 knots and it wasn’t long before the current national champion Bruce Keen found his way to the front of the pack. The rest of the lanky heavy crew including Dan Trotter, George Hand and Dave “Postonator” Poston followed in this order until until the end of the 3 lap race.
PRO Peter Saxton and his team did a great job of turning the races around throughout the day with race 2 following within 10 minutes of the final boats finishing. Race 2 started with the breeze building slightly from race 1 and again “yawn” Bruce Keen found his way to the front of the fleet with George Hand nipping at his toes. The 2 sailed away to a big lead from the rest of the chasing pack which was lead by Richard “Pelios” Pelley, followed by Dan Trotter and Andy “Turbo” Tarboton. Dan Vincent has also put in 2 solid results consisting of a 5th and 6th to keep himself in line for the UK Series Trophy.
The breeze continued to build as race 3 started in 20-25 knots. Finally someone was ready to take on Bruce as George Hand found his way to the front. George managed to hold Bruce off to take the race win followed by a great performance from Dan Vincent in 3rd and Dave Poston founding out the top 4. Newcomer to the fleet Pete Greenhalgh put in a great race to finish 5th showing that he will be one to watch going into next season. Ben Schooling finished 6th showing that the light weights at 75kg and under can take it to the big boys in the breeze.
By this stage the breeze was becoming fresh to frightening with winds of 28-32knots. The first 2 laps of the race were sailed before PRO Peter Saxton abandoned for the day and sent everyone in for a well deserved rest/beer/food/beer but not before Andy Gould tipped half of the reservoir back out of his “leaking”drysuit. Some would say that he filled it up on purpose to gain a weight advantage for the breezy conditions, others would say that he just left the zip open when taking a pre race toilet break.
The U.K. MUSTO Skiff fleet has a high % of South Africans including the New Class Chairman Andy Tarboton so it was only right that we watch the 2nd half of the Autumn Internationals, England VS South Africa. Owen Farrells perfect tackle finished the game with a 12-11 win to the English. Considering England put out their 3rd team it was a little disappointing for the South African contingent.
Sunday dawned and it was very much a different story with lower that forecasted winds of 8knots. The fleet got away cleanly and it quickly became apparent that the left hand side was the favoured side up the first beat. George Hand sailed away to a clear win, doing a great job of linking the gusts down wind. Dan Kilsby found his form and sailed a great race to finish second with flying fetus Dan Henderson following in 3rd. Special mention has to go to Graeme Oliver who sailed brilliantly to a 5th place showing that he hasn’t forgotten anything since leaving the class 6 years ago. The only thing he had forgotten is where he put the rest of his hair.
Race 5 got away clear with the breeze steadily holding around 6-8 knots. Again the left hand side paid with Dan Kilsby making his way to the front followed by Bruce Keen, Dan Henderson and Pete Greenhalgh. Bruce worked the left hand side a bit more that the rest and snuck past Dan to take the win, followed by Henderson and Greenhalgh.
The wind was still holding around 6-7 knots for race 6 however the race course was shortened by 150m to make sure we got the full 4 races for the day. Andy Tarboton led from start to finish to show that South Africa can win something followed by Ben Schooling and Dan Henderson. 4th place went to Bruce Keen which would wrap the event win up for him.
The final race of the day was sailed in 5-7knots and again the left hand side was favoured. Henderson started from the committee boat end and worked his way across to the left to lead around the windward mark. Henderson was followed by Graeme Oliver, Dan Kilsby and Ben Schooling. Henderson sailed clear to take the final bullet, as Schooling sailed a great final downwind leg to take 2nd from Kilsby and Oliver.
Although Bruce is a multiple MUSTO Skiff world and national champion this was his first Inlands title so a big congratulations goes to Bruce. Henderson fought his way back from 11th overnight to finish joint 2nd with George Hand however Hand won on countback to take second from Henderson in 3rd.
Because Ben Schooling had a great day in the light winds he managed to retain his U.K Circuit title from Vincent and Tarboton.
A big thanks has to go to Grafham Water SC for hosting a great event, class builders Ovi from for their continued support and MUSTO as the class title sponsor for their generous prizes.
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