IOM Nationals - Castle Semple 2007

The IOM Nationals were held on the first bank holiday in May at the Castle Semple Water Sports Centre near Glasgow under the control of Race Officer Alistair Law from Buchanness MYC. Alistair was assisted by a race team drawn from all the other clubs in the Scottish District of the MYA.

The event was run using the 6 up 6 down option in this year’s MYA SSIs – there were also 3 RYA umpires present to back up observers drawn from the competitors. With the same wind direction throughout the weekend, a windward – leeward course was used with a very short reach at the windward end of the course and a two buoy gate at the leeward end.

Saturday

Day 1 got off to a quick start with 4 very short seeding races held in a good top suit breeze from the South West. Heat B seeding race winner Martin Roberts went on to register 3 additional first places to lie 6 points ahead of Heat A seeding race winner Robert Walsh at the end of the day's sailing.

Martin's performance today is all the more creditable when account is taken of what were quite challenging sailing conditions at the pond. Junior Champion trophy.

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During the day the wind remained generally at the top end of the A rig but with regular squalls which caused many skippers to nose dive on the downwind leg. There were also sizable shifts on the windward legs which, if you got them right, would give your windward mark rounding position a boost.  Although the overall results table doesn't show this, almost every one of the top skippers had a visit to the B heat, Martin being the only exception to this.

Sunday

Day 2 of the Nationals started off under grey skies with a strong westerly breeze of between 18 and 22 knots with frequent squalls of up to 30 knots. The layout of the course certainly helped to reduce the problems that usually occur at the windward and leeward marks in such conditions.

Most skippers started on number 2 rig which worked quite well to windward but resulted in frequent diving on the run as the squalls passed through. So, one's finishing place often depended on whether one could get down the run without burying the bow - this seemed to depend on boat handling, boat design and a bit of luck with one's timing on the run.

During the morning, the grey sky cleared and the sun came out. Also, the squalls started to become "more joined up". One or two boats tried their number 3 rig but it never seemed to quite pay off - the number 3 rigs either suffered at the top end of the beat where the wind was generally lighter, required a squall to come through while on the run (which for a while was only happening every second or third run) or didn't seem to be able to drive through the chop at the bottom of the course.

Once again Martin Roberts was sailing impeccably to record all top three places over the day. Robert Walsh was also sailing well in the difficult conditions but lost 4 points to Martin over the day. Peter Stollery overtook Graham Bantock to get into 3rd overall while Trevor Binks had a difficult day with a period spent in B and C heats. Dave Potter and John Arundell were having good days climbing from 12th and 13th respectively at the end of day 1 to 5th and 7th at the end of day 2. John in particular was finding the downwind conditions much to his liking in his clear gel Triple Crown.

General consensus amongst the skippers - a very difficult and challenging days sailing.

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Monday

The final day of the Nationals opened with nice top suit breeze which slowly built over the morning to again give some skippers a problem with getting downwind on A rig. Wind direction was the same as day 1 and 2 as was the course. However, the squalls weren't nearly as strong nor were they quite as regular as on Sunday.

However, about lunchtime, the only protest to be taken to a hearing coincided with a heavy downpour. Skippers and race team alike were glad to be able to take shelter. Once the worst of the rain cleared, the earlier stronger wind was reduced somewhat and for a short period was quite light. The final races of the event were held in light to medium A rig conditions.

(click on image to see a larger view)

Martin Roberts continued his excellent performance to produce an unbeatable run over the final 5 races, scoring an amazing 3 first and 2 seconds. At the end of the event, he finished well in front of second place Peter Stollery. Peter put together a better set of results than he had managed previously to overtake Robert Walsh for second place. Graham Bantock did not appear to have an answer to the performance of the top 3 boats and finished fourth overall.

There were 3 lady sailors, the best of whom was Victoria McNulty whose performance to windward was remarkable. Unfortunately she didn't seem to be able to manage the downwind legs quite so well. However, she finished in a creditable 31st position. The other two ladies finished absolutely together with Liz Tushingham being credited with 46th position and Lisa Reeves 47th.

Young Ben Martin (who is only 15) kept his cool and finished in 52nd place, taking home the Junior Champion trophy.

Overall Results: (top 10)

1. Martin Roberts, 25, Widget
2. Peter Stollery, 55, Isotonic
3. Robert Walsh, 68, Lintel
4. Graham Bantock, 75, Topiko
5. Dave Potter, 86, Lintel
6. John Arundell, 86, Triple Crown
7. Brad Gibson, 91, Windstar/Metric Magik
8. Chris Harris, 91, Widget
9. Graham Elliot, 108, Gadget+
10. John Tushingham, 122, Lintel

Number of boats competing - 56
Number of races sailed - 17
Number of non GBR competitors - 12