UK Championships held at Rutland

by Chris Dabbs

The HCUK Hansa UK Nationals returned to Rutland for the two-day regatta with a 30-strong fleet and 38 sailors getting back together for the first time since 2019. Rutland Sailability chairperson Pauline Harrison summed it up perfectly when she said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to remind ourselves of what we are all about.” Which was everyone mucking in together to get sailors winched in and boats launched at the start of each day, and off the water promptly on Saturday to enjoy the tasty BBQ.

There was close racing across most of the classes as the weather conditions played their part with good breeze on Saturday, replaced by light winds, postponements and large wind shifts on Sunday.

It was third time unlucky for Frensham sailor and defending class winner Mike Everitt as Rory McKinna from Clyde Cruising carved out victory with three wins in the 303 solo class against eight other sailors. Everitt did take the last race as he negotiated the tricky top of the course next to the dam when the course had to be reset after wind swung round 150 degrees during Sunday’s races. “I kept tacking and went nowhere at that end of the course,” said Rory ruefully. Margaret Foreman came in third, despite only completing four of the five scheduled races.

Rutland sailors flew the flag for the powerful SKUD 18 class, which offer a rare opportunity for disabled and able-bodied sailors to compete together: “There’s an open invitation here at Rutland for sailors to try the boat out,” said winning helm Christine Spray.

Husband and wife team James and Maddy Woosnam from Frensham were competing together for the first time and almost took a clean sweep of wins in the 303 doubles, only losing out to Philip Hall and Tom Hepburn from Chesil in the last race. “Two days in a boat together and we’re still talking!” grinned Maddy. Chris Dabbs and Corinna Reynolds from Northampton came third.

Liberty class winner Paul Phillips was very happy to literally cling on to his boat’s controls in the last race when his hand gave up gripping. “All I could do was hit the line and hang on,” said Paul. In the end it came down to countback against Rutland’s Chris Emmett who said: “It was very exciting and nip and tuck. I love the fact that we’re warm and dry in a Liberty and the efficient electric controls of the jib and main are a great leveller in this class.” Chris Atkins for Hanningfield was third.

And of course, not forgetting the excellent ‘shore crew’, the supporting cast from home and away, who worked with the sailors throughout the weekend to enable a very successful event. Thank you.

2021 National Champions:

Hansa 2.3 Class – 2021 National Champion – Lindsay Burns – Frensham
Hansa 303 one Person Class – 2021 National Champion – Rory McKinna – Clyde Cruising Club
Hansa 303 two Person Class- 2021 National Champions – James and Maddy Woosnam – Frensham
Hansa Liberty Class – 2021 National Champion – Paul Philips – Frensham
Hansa SKUD 18 Class – 2021 National Champions – Christine Spray and John Williams – Rutland
Endeavour Cup – Ric Cassell and team of Ian McNair, Ben Measures and Steve Sawford – Rutland

Cover photo ©Ivor Barrett