Heat 4 - Scottish Nationals, Aberdeen & Stonehaven YC - August 28/29

A hearty bunch travel to Stonehaven near Aberdeen to challenge Nick Miller the current Champion.

Travellers from four corners of the UK (well, three), started turning up at Aberdeen & Stonehaven YC the night before the 2010 Blaze Scottish Championship, to attend the obligatory Friday night curry to discuss tactics, health and safety padding on wings, and the two faces of Christian Smart – as the sensible face of ‘Daddy Smart’ was on (the family were in attendance), and there was the hope that his lack of time at the bar as ‘Drinking Monster’ would dull his race head. Only time would tell.

Saturday came round soon enough and ten Blazes lined up on the beach along side the Scottish Skiffs, Solos, Fireballs and the handicap fleet. OOD’s instructions heard and understood, a traditional ‘triangle-sausage’ course was to be run for the Blazes (take note Nick Miller), the boats headed out onto the race area under a decent Force 3 wind, a short run from the harbour mouth. The NW wind was gusting and moving around, being influenced by some big rain clouds rolling over, as well as a couple of knots of incoming tide, made the committee boats job of setting a start line tricky.

Race 1: At the start, all lined up in orderly fashion, with the gun about to go, Christian was being pushed past the pin end by the tide and in a moment of indiscretion threw in a tack in front of the fleet, who were bearing down on starboard, catching Francis Neill and Nick in the process. I think balls were mentioned – why I don’t know, we were sailing not playing football. Nick, Martin Saveker and Bob Williamson rounded the windward mark first with the rest of the fleet being chased down by Christian now at the very back. The lack of beer the night before must have had an affect. (fyi for the next event – keep Christian sober the night before)

On the second windward leg, heading inshore out of the tide paid dividends allowing Bob to pass Martin and move into second, behind Nick who at this point was rounding the windward mark 50 yards ahead. For those who know Nick’s history of remembering race courses, you will not be surprised to hear that he bore away towards the wing mark to complete a second triangle, instead of heading south to complete the correct ‘sausage’ part of the leg. This allowed Bob to nip inside and too late for Nick to notice his mistake allowing Bob to take 1st, with Nick 2nd, Martin 3rd and Christian finishing 4th.

The recipe for the day seemed that between races there would be a decent F3/4 wind, which would then drop off to anything between a F1-2 as soon as the gun went. The peak in wind between races did allow a new helm to the Blaze, Pip Warner in a borrowed Mk1, to have some fun, and persuade him the Blaze was the boat for him. He just needs to find one now.

Race 2, was a far more orderly affair with Nick and Christian tussling for the lead the rest of the fleet following in their wakes, finishing with Christian redeeming his poor first race result with a 1st, Nick 2nd and Bob 3rd.

Race 3, once again saw Nick, Christian and Bob round the top mark ahead, followed closely by Martin and John Deacon. Nick seemed to catch a gust and was off, leaving the group of four behind with Christian and John discussing if there was (or not) an overlap at the wing mark. With the wind becoming lighter, it was important to read the shifts on the second beat, which Bob, with the precision and accuracy of a metronome - failed to do, enabling him to drop four places down to 7th in one beat. To underline Bob’s sailing skills, at the port lay line he also managed to put in a capsize, which confused some of the rescue boats as it was probably a F1 at this point.

Rounding the leeward mark for the second time and heading for the finish was a tactical game of picking the shifts and the breeze, which finished with Nick 1st, Christian, 2nd and John 3rd.

With racing over for the day, BBQ and beer was in order, and discussions about the forecast for Sunday...

On Sunday morning, the horizontal rain and enough white horses in the bay to win the Grand National, confirmed that the forecasters had got the 27mph wind with 47mph gusts correct, and there was no questioning the OOD’s decision to cancel the planned races. Which meant Nick retained the Blaze Scottish Championship for the second year with Christian 2nd and Bob 3rd.

A big thank you from the Blaze fleet to all at ASYC who helped make this event such a success, and to the Blazers who travelled north of the boarder to attend. The club members appreciated the effort and will be returning the gesture. See you at Bala for the Inlands.


Sail No Helm Club Points R1 R2 R3

757 Nick Miller Morecombe & Heysham SC 5 2 2 1

763 Christian Smart Pembrokeshire YC 7 4 1 2

778 Bob Williamson ASYC 11 1 3 7

774 Martin Saveker Shustoke 12 3 4 5

775 John Deacon ASYC 14 5 6 3

687 Francis Neill ASYC 18 6 8 4

749 Tim Heaton Bala SC 18 7 5 6

74 (633) Pip Warner Hornsea SC 24 9 7 8

642 Andrew Grant ASYC 26 8 9 9

721 Mike Fleming ASYC 30 10 10 10