The first day of the BKL Draycote qualifier certainly fed the appetite of all 7 teams, with the excellent conditions leading to a total of 14 races being hosted. It was clear to see competitors having bundles of fun duelling on the short windward leeward racecourse.

A good breeze was forecast from the North western shore of the reservoir, with a scheduled steady drop throughout the day, which was evident as racing was postponed due to the lack of breeze at 4pm. Matt Rowley, the event’s Race Officer, promptly got racing underway just out from the shore of the Warwickshire club with a 10.30 warning signal.

Racing was exciting and fast paced in the morning as teams worked hard to keep the RS21s tamed in the gusty conditions. Budworth Sailing Club took an early advantage by winning race One in the PA Consulting Group boat. Oxford Sailing Club also posted some great results in the opening races of the day with a 1st and 2 2nd’s making up the best of their opening handful of races.

As the races racked up and the day progressed, the breeze steadily dropped and shifted further West, which lead to infamously shifty conditions at Draycote Water. Teams were repeatedly attracted to the left side of the beat as the backing breeze and prevailing conditions seemed to produce more pressure than the slightly sheltered starboard side.
Leading team Budworth Sailing Club, did find themselves in a sicky situation in race 7, caught to windward of the Sheffield Hallam team, they were forced over the start line early and failed to response to X-ray flag displayed on the committee boat which lead to Budworth being scored an OCS. However, this was one of their few mistakes as Budworth still lead the pack at the BKL Draycote Qualifier. It will still be all to play for on day two as all teams are still able to reach the qualification spots.

The forecast for Sunday’s racing means that teams will have to adapt to increasing wind speeds and a new breeze angle as the afternoon unfolds. It promises to be a thrilling day of racing for the competing teams. Follow the action on day 2 by checking out the British Keelboat League facebook and Instagram pages.

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