707 Eastern Area Championships 2009 15 May 2009
The 707 Eastern Area Championship was held at Burnham over the May Day Bank Holiday weekend, as it has been for many years. This year there was eleven entries, all based in Burnham.
Saturday was sunny and warm with a lights Westerly breeze which was likely to be affected by a sea breeze in the afternoon. Race 1 got under way at 11:00 and the majority of the fleet headed to the North shore to avoid the worst of the tide. Paul Gray’s Beaver Hunter was one of several who were over the start line but having restarted found themselves in slightly better breeze and relatively shallow water over the Horse Shoal. They led at the first mark and held the lead to the finish, followed by Phil Bennett’s Lineout UK Pica, helmed by Jamie Mears.
Third was Feeling Touchy, owned by Eugene Quinlan and Geoff Kimber. Race 2 was over a trapezoid course to accommodate w/l legs for both 707s and the Squib fleet. This time it was Lineout UK Pica who established a significant lead on the first beat which they held to the finish. The wind became more fickle as the race progressed and Beaver Hunter was fortunate to take two places on the final run to take 3rd place, just behind Andy Woodhill’s Black Sheep. The third race was abandoned after several attempts to get it started. Then the toga party started ….
Sunday dawned bright with a chilly Westerly wind of around 15 knots – perfect conditions for the scheduled four races. Once again the races were generally won and lost as result of decisions on which shore to pick on each beat against the tide. John Lewis’s Baby Beluga made the most correct decisions to score two firsts, and second, and a third. Lineout UK Pica and Richard Bavin’s Race Horse won the other two races, with Marlin, Lineout UK Pica, Pocket Battleship and Beaver Hunter picking up useful seconds and thirds.
At the end of the second day’s racing, Lineout UK Pica led with 14 points – which included a creditable 5th in the last race which they sailed three up after Jamie’s wife, Gemma Mears, had to be taken off with an injured back. Baby Beluga was second with 17 points, followed by Beaver Hunter with 18 points.
Monday was cold again, and started with a light South Westerly wind but with an increase forecast by lunchtime. Two races were scheduled. The first was started with barely enough wind to cross the start line although it quickly picked up to a decent sailing breeze. The race was a windward / leeward course, modified to keep the 707s and Squibs away from each other, which had worked so well
the previous day.
The changed wind direction restricted the race area available in the river, with the result that the race constituted five very short laps – a real challenge for crew work. Once again it was Lineout UK Pica that prevailed, and so wrapped up the championship with a race to spare. Geoff Kimber steered Feeling Touchy into second place, followed by Mick Hill’s Swordfish.
By the second race the wind had increased to 12 knots, and swung sufficiently for the Race Committee to set a more practical three lap course. It was Beaver Hunter’s turn to pick the correct side of the beat and so led comfortably at the first mark, and extended the lead to win by an outrageous entire leg of the course. Baby Beluga fought through to second place in race, and hence second overall, a point clear of Beaver Hunter. Pocket Battleship finished the last race third.
Thanks must go to the Royal Corinthian YC for hosting the event, and to Fleet Captain Phil Bennett and his helpers. As usual, management of both the racing and the socials was excellent. Full results are available here…
Then the Toga Party Started!
The 707 and Squib Fleets combined on the Saturday evening to hold a Toga Party club with dancing to a band new to us, ‘Dirty Wafer’. The party was very well attended with lots of imaginitive uses of sheets, accessories and foliage to create the togas which were a complement to the dining room, with gold laurel wreaths on the table and ivy covered roman columns. The band was great and we all partied away until the early hours with the wine flowing in true roman style.
The Championship dinner on Sunday was a far more formal affair compared to the antics of the previous night (perhaps people were a bit jaded!). However, there were plenty of Squib and 707 fleet members on form for a second night to make the dinner very enjoyable.