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Allen Europe class National Championships 2023 in Plymouth - Day 1

by Lucy Boreham 1 Jun 2023 18:59 UTC 1-4 June 2023
Allen UK Europe Nationals in Plymouth Day 1 © Ben Harris

A break from the last few years, the venue for the 2023 nationals was selected as Plymouth, with the longer distance for most to travel a 4 day event was planned and a chance for some of us reminisce about our university days in the city and those legendary student fleet racing nationals of the 90's.

The majority of the fleet arrived on Wednesday, rigged in the sunshine and some ventured out into Plymouth Sound to check out the race area with a North Easterly forecast for the event it was always going to be tricky so good to get a feel for the venue.

A relaxed start with racing not due to kick off until 1pm allowed the rest of the fleet to arrive in time for a midday launch and a sail downwind to the starting area.

With the O flag an option and a jury boat on the water a few boats got caught with the yellow flag as the breeze was never consistent enough to allow the O flag to be flown.

Race 1 had a clean start with Sue Ogg quick out of the blocks, leading from start to finish, Steve Cockerill & Ben Harris found a few ladders on the race course to take 2nd & 3rd respectively with a close race for the next 10 places, lots of opportunity to make gains & losses. Going left on the beat seemed to pay, but it was also all about the shifts.

Jon Tweedle had a great race to finish 5th, proving that you don't have to be 60kgs to sail a Europe fast in 10 (ish) knots.

Race 2 saw the recall flag, but all boats returned to clear themselves, it was quite congested at the pin with the majority of the fleet favouring an early push out to the left.

Hector Cisneros was super fast and led the whole race, again with Steve chasing to take another 2nd, Emma Pearson found her groove and topped out the podium for race 2.

Consistency paid today, with Steve leaving after day 1, just 2 points between Ben in 2nd, Hector & Emma both on 9 points and Graham Hutching (probably winning furthest travelled, from Belgium) in 5th on 10 points and Jason Belben proving you don't need a new boat to be quick in 6th.

With the sunshine out, it's looking like a Captain Jaspers for dinner and a few beers in the Barbican, with more of the same forecast for Friday and 3 races planned with the leisurely start time of midday.

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