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NSSA Championships Farmoor, Oxford 23rd - 24th May 2009

NSSA Championships Farmoor, Oxford 23rd - 24th May 2009

KSSA Team : Stephanie Wicken, Ross Blackledge, Hannah Golton, Ben Gray and Alex Leonard

With very light winds forecast for the weekend, competitors were greeted on Saturday morning by a potentially useful south-westerly F3. This year racing was organised as separate fleets - Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Topper, Handicap and a Rookie fleet.

Racing began with some confusion when the windward mark drifted off station and the fleets headed for the wrong buoy. The sailors were recalled and the racing restarted. Two races were held before lunch and Hannah Golton made an excellent start for KSSA with a clear lead to take 1st in Race 1. In Race 2 she again built a comfortable lead, only to be threatened close to the finish line by Cambridge’s Lewis Steckelmacher. She held her nerve and added another ace to her score.

Meanwhile in the Radial fleet, Alex Leonard took 1st with Stephanie Wicken 4th. Race 2 saw a win for Stephanie with Alex 3rd.

Winds declined significantly over lunch and Race 3 proved rather tortuous with large areas of the reservoir suddenly becalmed shortly after the start. Ross Blackledge in the 4.7 fleet responded to the challenging conditions and secured 3rd place whilst Hannah in her Topper had to settle for 5th. In the Radial fleet, the KSSA result was a repeat of Race 1. Further racing for the main fleet was abandoned for the day.

Sunday dawned with a change of wind direction and there appeared to be a sailable light breeze. Racing had barely started when virtually all wind vanished. Sailors were becalmed and at the mercy of the fleeting zephyrs. Alex mastered the conditions and recorded 1st for the third time that weekend with Stephanie in 3rd place behind Cambridgeshire rival, Alex Alcock. In the 4.7s, Ross again claimed 3rd. After a long, drawn-out, difficult race, it became clear that the wind had indeed disappeared for the day as forecast. After lunch, an impromptu relay race in Laser Bugs was organised to entertain the sailors.

Meanwhile, in his debut event, Ben Gray dominated the 17-strong Rookie fleet. Sailing his Optimist with patience and concentration he proved a difficult match for the Fevas, Laser Bugs, Pico and Toppers in his fleet. He achieved five 1sts and one 2nd and celebrated his 9th birthday by winning the Rookie Fleet “Burning Ambition” trophy.

Overall KSSA was second-placed team, despite having no competitors in the Handicap fleet.

Final KSSA results:

Laser Radial – 1st Alex Leonard, 3rd Stephanie Wicken

Laser 4.7 - 4th Ross Blackledge

Topper – 3rd Hannah Golton

Rookie Fleet – 1st Ben Gray