Warsash Blaze Open 7th and 8th June 2018

What a glorious hot and sunny weekend on the Solent. With competition from the World Cup, Wimbledon, Round the Island Race and the British Grand Prix, combined with a forecast of light winds there was a turnout of just 10 Blazes. The event was combined with the Buzz Nationals and a Hadron Open.

SATURDAY

Boats were launched in a W 5 knot wind which enabled us to get to the race area for the 1230 start of the first race. The wind had moved to the SW but was still around 5 knots. Our PRO Nigel Russell set 2 laps on a trapezoid course for Race 1. There was a clean start and Blaze National champion Charlie Chandler led from the start up the long beat correctly reading the wind shifts, holding his lead and finishing first. He was followed by Simon Beddows and Bob Cowan.

Race 2 was set on a similar course following some slight adjustments. The conditions were very similar to Race 1 and Charlie again showed his expertise in the light winds taking first place followed by Simon and Mark Blackham.

By the start of Race 3 the sea breeze was building from the southwest to around 10 knots and steadily increased to around 15 knots by the finish of that race. In the stronger wind, waves formed and the sea sailors from Warsash were able to benefit with Bob taking first place, followed by Martin Hattersley and Simon. The stronger wind tested Charlie’s boat and he retired after breaking his kicker.

Our PRO wisely decided to take advantage of the sea breeze and added in a fourth race in winds of 15 to 18 knots. The waves had built up leading to ideal Blaze conditions with surfing on the waves. The race was won by Martin, followed by Tim Freeman and Simon. Charlie had repaired his kicker but was again forced to retire after suffering breakage of one of the racks. That ended his racing for the weekend.

We sailed home in winds of 15 to 20 knots leading to some exciting reaching, conditions that often occur at Warsash in our Opens. Boats were swiftly recovered by the shore team, with very welcome tea and cake (sponsored by Vantage Sailing).

All competitors were provided with a beer token (sponsored by Kayospruce). A lively evening followed with good food and entertainment by our resident band 2 Drunk 2 Dance supported not only by the competitors but also club members, some of whom had returned from a slow Round The Island Race.

SUNDAY

With light winds forecast from the North the fleet sailed out to the race area. The wind kept changing direction resulting in a long delay and course changes. One race was finally held in a light NW wind, shortened to one lap. There were several wind shifts but those inshore were favoured with the race won by Simon with Paul Taylor second.

The wind continued to change direction and hence racing was abandoned. A fun race back to the club was held with all 3 fleets starting together. Slow progress was made in the light NW winds with the sea breeze finally coming in around 1530 hrs as we all entered the river.

Swift recovery was again followed by welcome tea and cake in the hot conditions.

At the prize giving glasses were awarded to Simon, Bob, Martin and Mark. The “best club” prize of 4 bottles of beer went to Chase SC with a £5 note to Charlie to put towards his boat repairs!

A most enjoyable weekend with something for everyone! We all look forward to meeting up again at the Blaze Inlands on 6 & 7 October.

PLEASE PUT 29 & 30 JUNE IN YOUR DIARIES FOR THE 2019 BLAZE OPEN