Easter at Itchenor
The UK International 14 season kicked off this weekend at Itchenor with the Easter Tray on Friday and Saturday and the Easter Cup on Sunday.
Wind and rain put paid to all racing on Friday – apparently "everyone had gone soft after their sunbathing trip to Sydney".
On Saturday the wind had moderated and the fleet had two races in 12-16 knot southerly. In the first race the round the harbour course proved too complicated for Tom Heywood and Ed Clay who pulled out a very comfortable lead over Andy and Tom Partington on the first two legs but then surrendered it by going to the wrong leeward mark, twice, on the run down the Emsworth Channel. Andy and Tom proved better at navigating and knew where ‘Marker’ was – giving them the lead which they held to the line, followed by Tom and Ed, and newcomers Sam Pascoe and Alex Adams. However it was Mark Upton-Brown and Matt Gotrel who took the win as while the Partington’s could find the mark, none of the top three boats could tell their left from right and all rounded the leeward mark the wrong way and retired after finishing. Martin and Robin Pascal took second. The course for the second race was simpler and even Tom and Ed managed to get their head round it and lead from the start in what turned out to be fairly processional race after a series of rain squalls made every leg a reach. Mark and Matt’s third was enough to win them the day and the Easter Tray.
Saturday night was a Viking themed party and considering the potency of ‘Odin’s blood’ it was surprising that 15 boats made it for the start on Sunday for the Easter Cup and the first event of the Harbour Series. The course for the first race was a windward leeward up the harbour, in 15 – 18 knots, from East Head to Mill Rythe followed by a shorter lap. Tom Heywood and Ed Clay, now with a course card onboard and careful notes on the mark roundings had a comfortable lead at Mill Rythe after getting both less tide and a favourable shift on the left and avoiding running aground. They held their lead to the finish with Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane and Andy and Tom Partington leading the chasing pack. The second race was lighter and Tom and Ed lead from the start, again working the left hand side. On the second lap however they slowed in a wind hole and let Roger and Ben close the gap. The two boats rounded the top mark about ten lengths apart with a tight reach, requiring a mixture of two and three sail reaching, down the harbour to go. Roger and Ben judged the hoist and drop better and by the final mark had closed to two lengths and managed to roll over the top on the final run to the Gallon line – giving them the race and the Easter Cup. Mark Upton-Brown and Matt Gotrel took third after also catching Douglas Pattison and Mark Tait on the reach.
1st Mark Upton- Brown and Matt Gotrel GBR 1526
2nd Andy and Ed Fitzgerald GBR 1534
3rd Neale Jones and Jam GBR 1538
1st Roger Douglas and Ben McGrane GBR 1541
2nd Tom Heywood and Ed Clay GBR 1484
3rd Douglas Pattison and Mark Tait GBR 1500