2017 FOOTY MYA National Championship Watermead MBC
With a good breeze forecast from the North, a number of class Footy skippers on the entry list, and the dedicated race team from the host club ready and willing it all looked set to be a classic, the forecast winds didn't materialise and the early light breeze swirling around the natural bowl in the area of Watermead lake where the local club sails the early races proved tricky.
The early difficulty the race team had setting a true course was equally matched by the difficulty the skippers had in coping with the ever changing conditions. After a couple of course resets it was decided to run with what we had as more often than not the changeable broken wind provided a beat and a run somewhere on the course! At least that allowed us to provide enough racing to satisfy the assembled skippers.
There was a strong representation of four skippers from Frensham Pond MYG in the South, the usual six suspects from the Midlands and one familiar face and one relatively new and welcome face from the South West. Six different clubs being represented in all. There was much to play for not only the honour of being the MYA National Footy Champion but also two skippers were toughing it out for the Champions League title and slightly further back two more were trying to win the 2017 NovIce title. From the off John Burgoine (35, ICE) set the pace with initially two race wins and two second places in the first four races, Peter Shepherd (65, Fat Boy) finished ahead of John in two of those races, Keith Bell (95, Ibex), Peter Jackson (30, Ibex) and Doug Penman (12, Fat Boy Slim) took races five six and eight respectively, the John Burgoines' win in race seven saw him go into the lunch break one point ahead of Peter Shepherd.
Before lunch rig choice was a tricky business catching a few skippers out and on the wrong rig for the wind strength, in the afternoon the wind filled in a bit and became more consistent allowing most skippers to stay on their maximum rig size. The afternoon session saw Peter Shepherd record wins in three races although in truth the afternoon belonged to Doug Penman who scored four race wins with his Una rigged Fat Boy Slim ultimately this wasn't quite enough to overcome the early morning scores but did move him up into fourth place, just one point behind Peter Jackson third, I predict we will see much more of Doug in 2018. Keith Bell remained consistent for fifth place, Geoff Raygada (41, Fat Boy Slim) took a win in race 11 and kept sixth place to himself. Behind him three skippers Sid Sims (05, Ice), David Wilkinson (46, Ice) and Keith Parrott (31, Ice) battled it out for seventh place in the end only two points separated the three of them. As the day moved on the high concentration level required with these small boats in the conditions people started to make a few mistakes, with one skippers calling "starboard" on his own sail number, I think this was the cause of the tears of merriment appearing in a number of skippers eyes, or perhaps it was the chill on the Northerly wind, which ever way it was the event was once again held in a very pleasant and jovial atmosphere throughout.
By a bit of judicious sailing in trying the stay just ahead of John Burgoine for the afternoon races, Peter Shepherd retained his MYA National Champions crown along with the Footy Champions League Trophy. A late charge from Keith Bell, saw him overtake Sid Sims for this seasons NovIce having long since shrugged off his novice status. Thanks must go to Brian Sumner, Roger Dunklin and the rest of the Watermead MBC club members who put on another most enjoyable National event for the Footy Class. Get your diaries out as next years event is being hosted by Frensham Pond MYG, 15th September 2018.
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