Astley-Joneses win at Emberton Park

Peter Willcocks reports on the Graduate racing

Tuesday April 15th 2003, Author: Peter Willcocks, Location: United Kingdom
Bright sun and a strong breeze greeted the fleet for the first Open of the season on Sunday 13th April with boats coming from both the Northern and Southern areas, with points to count to each of their respective circuit trophies. The first race got off to a clean start with Howard and Frances Astley-Jones (Milton Keynes SC) first to the windward mark closely followed by John Moore and Andy Henstock (Sutton in Ashfield SC) with David and Rachel Hammond (Ogston SC) third and Charles Dutton and Meg Crawley (Chipstead SC) fourth.

The three leading boats continued to hold their places, but Dutton had an unfortunate collison, which resulted in him shipping a lot of water and out of contention as it allowed David and Sandra Wilson (Maidenhead SC) to come through into fourth spot. AstleyJones extended his lead to take line honours from Moore second Hammond third and Wilson fourth.

The second race got underway with the wind picking up with very strong gusts, once again Astley-Jones was first to the windward mark with Moore following him round, Barney Proud and Richard Crocker of the host club were a close third and Stewart Eaton and Helen Hilton (West Oxfordshire SC) fourth. The first two boats were handling the conditions well and started to pull out a lead from the rest of the fleet, who in contrast, were battling against the elements. The gybe marks were proving to be very difficult in the gusty conditions, and Proud was the first to start falling back, then Eaton, which allowed Hammond to come through into third spot, with Wilson also picking up two places and into fourth. At the front however Moore was still trailing Astley-Jones, but only by a few seconds, but had to settle for second place with Hammond holding Wilson off to take third.

The third and final race had three non starters, early season fatigue must have set in. But another clean start saw Astley-Jones to the windward mark first, Moore was there too but came to grief in a huge gust, Wilson followed AstleyJones and Hammond came through into third place with Mark Edmondson and George Beck (Papercourt SC) fourth.
Moore eventually retired as the leading boats maintained their positions but half way through the race things started to change as the weather got the upper hand, Hammond went over and subsequently retired and Edmondson started to fall back and this let Eaton and Proud through into third and fourth places. There was no catching Astley-Jones and Wilson, who had handled the conditions well, for Astley-Jones to make it clean sweep of wins, Wilson taking second and Eaton holding off Proud to finish third.

Emberton Park Open Results - 13th April 2003:-

1st G2900 Howard and Frances Astley-Jones - Milton Keynes SC
2nd G2846 John Moore and Andy Henstock - Sutton in Ashfield SC
3rd G2974 David and Sandra Wilson - Maidenhead SC
4th G2882 David and Rachel Hammond - Ogston SC

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