Blazes at Burghfield 7 Oct 2020
RCYC and BSC once again saw a strong contingent of 9 boats turn up to a very wet Saturday at Burghfield Sailing Club for another Blaze Open Meeting.
With what little wind coming in from “the worst possible direction” according to the locals, it was always going to prove very tricky with shifty and patchy conditions.
The other challenge for us visiting Blaze sailors was trying to understand where the local course marks were! Fortunately it was light enough for the club to send out a lead powerboat to guide people round the course.
The order of the day was a balancing act of trying to gauge the quite significant wind shifts, finding the pressure and trying to decide which way round the island obstructions to go in the middle of the lake.
The first two races were set over M shaped courses which meant plenty of reaches but not much opportunity to gain downwind. This meant the biggest changes in places were made upwind.
Race one saw Ben Harden make his way through the field to take 1st place with one of the local sailors Mike Bell taking 2nd and Malcy Hutchings securing 3rd place.
Race two saw a shift in the position of the windward mark and the RCYC and BSC contingent took full advantage with Trevor Bawden rounding the windward mark in 1st, Charlie Matthews in 2nd and Ben Harden in 3rd. It looked like it might be Trevor’s day as he pulled away from the fleet on the following reaches but Ben Harden once again managed to haul himself into 1st place by overtaking Trevor upwind on the 2nd beat and held the lead for the win. The race finished with Ben Harden 1st, Trevor Bawden 2nd and, another local sailor, Mike Lyons 3rd. (7 of the top 10 in this race were Burnham boats)
After a short lunch ashore it was back out for 2 more races which saw a change in course to accommodate more downwind sailing and allowing for more chances to overtake.
Race 3 saw Malcy Hutchings lead for the majority of the race but he was once again overhauled by Ben Harden who secured 1st place and as such knew he had the trophy in the bag. Malcy finished in 2nd place whilst Mike Lyons took 3rd.
Race 4 had a bit more breeze albeit still very patchy and the trick was seemingly to balance finding the pressure and playing the shifts both upwind and downwind. Mark roundings were critical as boats converged together and huge gains could be made providing you had that all important overlap. Having already won the event, Ben could have been forgiven for taking his foot off the gas. Instead he took an incredibly commanding lead round the course and was finishing the race whilst the boat in 2nd still had two legs to go! The race finished with Ben in 1st, Mike Lyons 2nd and Mike Bell 3rd.
So once again Ben Harden took all 4 race wins and is proving a hard man for anyone to catch. Local sailor Mike Lyons took 2nd and Malcy Hutchings came in 3rd place. Full results – LINK.