With a record 36 entries this was always going to be a fantastic weekend, when the weather played ball too it make it better still.
Saturday dawned bright with a shifty force four wind that kept the sailors on their toes. OOD Gavin Johnson and his team set a trapezoid course that used as much of the lake as possible. The first race brought multiple swims - Oscar Cubitt (Alton Water) in the Pros continued to work on his signature nose dive and pop back up backwards. Toby Hatsell (Middle Nene) in the Sport fleet and only eight years old raced his first open meeting in these testing conditions. The morning races were dominated in the Pros by Will Caiger (Bewl Valley) and Matt Taylor (Alton Water) was doing what he does best in the Sports.
After quick lunch the OOD decided to race three further races as the Sunday forecast wasn’t great and the wind stayed with him. While Will continued to dominate the Pros, those right behind him changed regularly, Max King (Alton Water) suffered a broken tiller extension that didn’t help him capitalise on some good results, while Dylan Collingbourne (Burnham) started banging in some consistent good places too. The Sports remained true to the order from the morning except for a superb win for Andreas Purse (Bewl Valley) in race four.
After the Saturday racing Richard O’Sullivan had organised ‘fun’ games which seemed to involve blind fold canoe relay races but most parents were looking the other way by then! After this damp children were taken for Rugby practice by Marcus “DJ” Collingbourne before returning to the centre for an all-in social.
Sunday dawned with more wind than forecast and the three scheduled races got away well. Matt Smith (Brightlingsea and Alton Water) and Oscar Cubitt won a race each in the Pros and got a second each as well. In the Sports Matt Taylor banged in two bullets again. The final race, in a collapsing shifty wind, was far more interesting from the spectators point of view. Thanks to a wind shift the Pro fleet was completely re-organised with all of the front runners right down the in field which led to really close finish with the main players fighting for positions between fourth and tenth and working out on the water how these scores would affect the overall results and if and how they would effect count back. Tristan Richardson (Royal Hospital School) won the final race in the Sports from the dominant Matt Taylor.
After a fantastic two days of racing the prizes were presented by Alton Water Chairman (and Ex Tera dad) Mark Hainsworth and Eastern Head Coach Mike Taylor who both thanked the many parent volunteers, the centre café and the centre staff who made the weekend go so well.
The Main Prizes went to: Best Under Ten Jack Oakley (Graham Water), Sports, 1st Matt Taylor, 2nd Tristan Richardson, 3rd Andreas Purse. Pros 1st Will Caiger, 2nd Matt Smith, 3rd Oscar Cubitt. 8 year old Toby Hatsell won the outstanding performance in Sports prize.
In the Eastern Traveller Series, the series has attracted 44 boats from 14 sailing clubs. Leading the Pros after 3 events is Oscar followed by Tim Hire (Royal Lymington), but with 4 points seperating 5 sailors behind them who have only done two events so far. In the Sports, Matt Taylor has 3 bullets followed by Jack Oakley with just 6 points seperating the next 5 sailors.
The next Eastern event is Brightlingsea - a day of training with Eastern coaches on 11th July followed by a day of racing on 12th July.