IOM Nationals - Eastbourne 2019
With a heat wave forecast and light airs some were expecting a drifter. However the expected forecast over the complete weekend of gradient winds predominantly from the South Quarter along with sea breeze meant that there was always some wind.
With fifty IOM’s measured over Friday and first thing on Saturday morning the briefing & seeding races started on time with Rob Walsh, Chris Harris and Mark Dennis taking the honours.
Racing moved at a good pace and whilst there wasn’t a lot of breeze there was more than enough to get quality races in with plenty of opportunity for coming back through the pack after a poor start or leg
Racing eventually finished at approx 17:00 hrs due to dying breeze and hold ups whilst three protests were heard.
Results at this time were tight, Ante Kovacevic held a two point lead from Rob Walsh. Chris Harris in third on 22 points with the following five skippers of Ballington, Jelacic, Watson & Richards all in close proximity on the scoreboard. A common theme down the scoresheet no matter where you were overall and further testament to how tight racing was on the water throughout the day.
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Day two started on time in good breeze with Nigel Brown taking out race 7 and making steady progress in to the top ten overall. At the front both Ante Kovacevic and Rob Walsh were having a good tussle from races 7-9 always finishing one place ahead or astern of each other. By race 9 the breeze was moving more towards the South West with Phil Holliday taking the race win, thereafter there was a short delay whilst the course was moved further to the West side of Princes Park.
Zvonko Jelacic on the new course had an impressive afternoon with two seconds and a first place in a bid to close on points to compatriot Ante Kovacevic and Rob Walsh.
With a protest in race 11b there was a short delay, whilst initially resolved, PRO Jes Collier after consultation with a regional judge decided with fairness in mind the hearing needed to be reopened, with the breeze now failing skippers were greeted with cold beers in the club house and then reassembled for the class social at Eastbourne Angling Club.
Monday morning dawned with plenty of sore heads after a great class social. With the original protest reheard subsequently two further requests for redress were submitted. Understandably this took a little time to resolve with race 12C being re-sailed late morning.
With the breeze continuing to shift following the sun as it had done on the two previous days the Eastbourne race team worked tirelessly to get three further races to take the final tally to fifteen races prior to the NOR cutoff.
Back at the front things were getting tight, with a demotion in race 14 to B fleet for Walsh and a first place for Kovacevic, Ante was only six points off the lead going into the final race championship decider.
After an extremely tight race won by Zvonko Jelacic with Ante Kovacevic second and Rob Walsh taking third place to retain the IOM UK National Championships.
Ante Kovacevic took out second place with Zvonko Jelacic taking the final podium position with Chris Harris a further 11 points back in fourth and Darin Ballington 19 points further back in fifth.
Craig Richards back in 8th was presented with the Vulturesoft trophy for the highest finisher to have not won a UK MYA National Championships or the trophy previously. Bob Conner in 21st place was awarded a prize for being the most promoted skipper. Eric Van der Kindere was awarded a prize for completing the most number of observer duties. George Startup was awarded the prize for oldest skipper.
Prizes were presented by PRO & Eastbourne District MYC Commodore Jes Collier &
Eastbourne Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd
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Thanks to the overseas skippers who joined us, Ante Kovacevic, Zvonko Jelacic, Martin Gray & Eric Van der Kindere, oh and Nick Martin from Wales!
A Massive thank you to all at Eastbourne & District MYC, despite not only difficult conditions on the race course Jes Collier and the team had the added issue of protest hearings, every opportunity was always taken to ensure that fair decisions were taken for all skippers no matter where in the fleet. The Galley functioned faultlessly and were kept busy not only feeding the fleet but watered in the humid conditions
All images from this report are copyright to Sue Brown @Catsails.