The British Keelboat League Championships – two days of tight racing, feisty breeze and a lively sense of freedom on the water as many sailors competed for the first time this year.
A last minute venue change resulted in a huge push from all the volunteers and organisers to make the event happen. Berthon Marina, Lymington, saved the day and offered to host the Championships. Berthon were such immaculate hosts that you would have been forgiven to have thought that they had been planning the event all year.
With a huge forecast looming for Friday and tighter covid restrictions in place, the PRO Keith Sammons and his Race Team made an early call on Thursday and abandoned racing for the day.
14 teams headed to Lymington to #rockupandrace fresh-faced on Saturday morning. With a days worth of races to catch up on, Kieth and his team got the sailors off the dock early. West Hoe from Plymouth, had obviously had their Weetabix for breakfast that morning as in race 1 they committed pretty hard to a port tack flyer, the risk paid off though as they crossed the entire fleet. The move was bold but it laid down the gauntlet and set the tone for the next 28 races. The conditions were testing, with gusts, tricky shifts and plenty of Solent tide keeping teams on their toes, they got through an impressive 15 races.
Unlike in previous years, the sailors were sent home for an early night, with social distancing measures in place the usual black-tie do was off limits for 2020.
With the breeze moderating overnight, the RS21s headed to the racecourse early in a more manageable 12knots. The northernly breeze bit back and by mid-morning it was pretty lively across the racecourse again. True to form, the Solent tide really started to rip in the late afternoon which caught out some unsuspecting teams, with the smallest of errors costing teams gravely with such tight racing. Points were tantalisingly close at the top and the teams raced hard to secure their positions.
The top three teams were welcomed to a socially distanced prize-giving overlooking Berthon’s Lymington Marina. The PRO Keith Sammons lead proceedings and professed his relief that this year teams hadn’t finished the championship on equal points meaning that the results provided by Ksail were easy to compile. Plymouth University Alumni came in third place with 4.25 average points, West Hoe Sailing Club came a close second with 4.67 average points and Spinnaker Sailing Club took the Championship title with 5.25 average points.
Here are the overall results;
|1||Spinnaker SC (S)||5.25||average points|
|2||West Hoe SC (J)||4.67||average points|
|3||Plymouth Univerity Alumni (P)||4.25||average points|
|4||London Corinthian SC (M)||3.92||average points|
|5||Royal Thames YC (T)||3.92||average points|
|6||Imperial College 2 (F)||3.83||average points|
|7||Clyde Cruising Club (C)||3.75||average points|
|8||Royal Hospital School (K)||3.42||average points|
|9||Banbury SC (B)||3.25||average points|
|10||Haversham SC (H)||3.25||average points|
|11||Royal Lymington YC (L)||3.08||average points|
|12||Royal Western YC (W)||2.25||average points|
|13||Imperial College SC (I)||2.08||average points|
|14||Dorchester SC (D)||1.67||average points|
These events do not happen without an army of volunteers but huge thanks need to go to the following people. Jack Fenwick – Event Director, Jack has worked tirelessly for months to ensure these Championships went ahead, with the last minute venue change the week before and extensive assessments having to be carried out, it’s fair to say the event would not have happened if it wasn’t for Jacks relentless passion for the sport. Kieth Sammons – Event PRO, not only smashed through 28 races with his team which is not a small task but he compiled all the results, dealt with covid compliance with ease and kept everyone safe afloat in testing conditions.
Huge thanks need to go to Berthon Lymington Marina, who stepped up at the last hour to host the Championships, on behalf of the League and all sailors in attendance we would like to thank you for an awesome weekend racing in the Solent.
With the 2020 season being cut short, excitement is already building for 2021. The British Keelboat League will go back to its traditional format of regional qualifiers and an invitational final at the end of the season. Stay tuned across the British Keelboat League facebook page and website for announcements on how to get involved in 2021.