2015 Oxford Carriers Winter Championships
[From Yachts and Yachting, courtesy of Alex Collins, photo Carolyn Hand]
An excellent fleet of 30 boats turned out for the Supernova Winter Championships at Bowmoor SC. This was the first event of the 2015 season for the Supernova Class, sponsored by Oxford Carriers, and visiting sailors were rewarded by glorious sunshine and a cold north-westerly light breeze which would eventually turn into a gusty force 2-3 for the day's 3 races.
After the morning briefing by Race Officer Mike Tustin, the fleet headed out to the start line at the eastern end of the lake to await the first race.
With the course set and the full size of the lake being used brilliantly, the sailors did their pre-start preparations before patiently waiting for the 5 minute signal. At the first mark, Alex Collins (Leigh and Lowton) led the fleet down the long broad reach across the lake closely followed by Mike Gibson (Bartley), Cliff Milliner (Cotswold) and Richard Pakes (Haversham). Positions through the fleet were changing constantly throughout the race with the gusty shifts adding to the excitement of the racing for the spectators, but also proving difficult for the sailors. The end of the race saw Milliner win as the boats fought for position throughout the race. Close behind Milliner at the finish line was Pakes in 2nd, Gibson in 3rd, Collins in 4th and Gavin Young (Cotswold) rounding out the top 5 respectively.
A quick race turn around by Mike Tustin and his team saw the fleet once again eager to get going into the next race. At the first mark it was Milliner leading with Gibson, Paul Earnshaw (Haversham) and Young right on his tail. Milliner managed to get away to cement the lead down the broad reach and run to win the race just ahead of Young, Gibson, Tim Hand (Sutton-In-Ashfield) and Earnshaw.
Bowmoor produced a fantastic lunch which the sailors needed after the morning's racing.
The constant wind had decreased slightly for the last race but the shifty gusts were still ever present on the race course. As the fleet rounded the first mark it was Pakes who lead away closely followed by Collins with the rest of the fleet hot on the tails of the leading duo. Midway through the race, Pakes had built up a gap after previously fighting off Collins on the 2nd lap to win the race by a comfortable margin. Behind him, Gibson had closed up to Collins rapidly but Collins held him off until the second to last mark as Gibson just got past with great acceleration and height after the mark rounding. Try as he might, Collins had to settle for 3rd. Behind the leading trio, places were changing throughout the race frequently as the true racing nature of the class was evident. 4th place went to Young and rounding out the top 5 was Ed Presley (Cotswold).
Milliner took the Winters Trophy on two firsts, followed by Pakes, Gibson, Young (Cotswold) and Collins 5th.