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Maldon Yacht Club: 2nd and 3rd August 2008

Four races were held on the River Blackwater. Nine boats from five clubs and two countries were started on the Club line under the sword of Byrhtnoth, Anglo Saxon Earl of Essex, whose statue faced both the first mark and Northey Island, where 1,017 years ago to the week, his army was defeated by the Viking invaders. Just as the battle then was determined by the tide table so was the present racing. In race 1 under a Force 3-4 the fleet reached and ran against the spring flood down river close to Northey shore, then East to Osea Road buoy, South on a fetch to Clarkes, turning North Westerly with the flood on a long reach to round Ballast Hole and beat South Westerly to Nipper and finally to reach to the line; 5.3 miles in total. The race was won by Iain Marshall, experienced local helm, crewed by Ewan Harris, followed by national champions Liz Crouch and Alan Williams in a reversal of their normal roles. The second race of 6.2 miles total was sailed at the Maldon head of river against the strong ebb. Marshall led, keeping close cover on Crouch to over-stand some marks, giving hope and delight to the chasing pack.

The tide and wind on the second day dictated the races follow similar courses, with Race 3 extended to 6.8 miles, giving a long SW beat from Shambles off Osea to Midway off Northey. Large squall fronts blew through under glowering black clouds, gusting F4 to 5, giving fast planning legs in which Ian and Bridget Knight excelled, confidently booming out the large Snipe jib well forward of the forestay to steer expertly through steep wind-against-tide waves and achieve an unassailable lead. The leeward mark, Shambles, lived up to its name when a squall hit just as the fleet converged to round,  causing National Secretary Antonelli and Chairman Gregory to visit Davy Jones. Race 4 was held in lighter F3 winds with a heavy rain shower gluing tell-tales firmly to the sails. Gregory led until a non-racing day cruiser unhelpfully put its bows onto the third mark, letting through Crouch and Antonelli, with Antonelli taking line honours.

Final positions were 1st Marshall-Harris, 2nd Crouch-Williams and 3rd Gregory-Gregory. In addition to the excellent race organisation; Maldon Yacht Club provided an appreciated sociable venue for camping against the beautiful setting of sailing barges at Maldon town jetty and ancient salt flats.

Position Boat Helm Crew Points
1 GBR29501 Iain Marshall Ewan Harris 3.5
2 GBR30316 Liz Crouch Alan Williams 6
3 GBR30315 Brian Gregory Anne Gregory 9
4 GBR29164 Ian Knight Bridget Knight 9.75
5 GBR30226 Mark Antonelli Susan Robertson 10.75
6 GBR28451 Ian Gregory Cécile Munoz 14
7 BEL30357 Andy Gibson Jenna Gibson 20
8 GBR29408 Peter Wibrow Caroline 21
9 ?? Alan Kid David 28

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