2023 Enterprise Inland Championship at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club.
by Ann Jackson
15th and 16th April 2023
Honnor retains Inland Champion title.
The last time Enterprises gathered at Bristol Corinthian Yacht Club for their Master Championship in June 2022 they were greeted by a fresh gusty northerly breeze which topped 25 knots on several occasions resulting in swimmers, lost burgees and various breakages.
This year for the Inland Championship conditions were rather different, a very shifty northerly-ish breeze of 5-8knots. PRO, the excellent Johnny Allen and his team had a difficult time laying a trapezoid course with the windward mark well and truly facing the steep sided hills surrounding Cheddar Gorge.
Martin Honnor and Isobel Henley-Fenn, Ogston SC took the first race in short order, drawing out a good lead. “Start as you mean to go on” Martin commented. Matt Jaycock and David Jackman, Looe SC and Nigel and Andy Bird, RYA following in. Our current National Champion, Darren Roach with new crew Sam Watson, Looe SC gave Martin a good chance by stuttering around the course in last place before working his way up to 10th, his decidedly uncharacteristic worst result of the weekend.
The second race progressed in a lessening breeze, leading boats Nigel and Andy and Ann Jackson with Alan Skeens, Burghfield SC found themselves virtually becalmed nearing the windward mark on the penultimate lap. Martin and Isobel spotted a fresh line of pressure to the left to gain some 300 metres streaking away from the middle of the chasing (creeping along) pack to ghost around Ann and Alan at the mark, some nifty tacking by all three going on there! Despite threatening to overhaul Nigel and Andy, Martin and Isobel remained in second place. Ann and Alan third. The wind faded to a mere zephyr as the rest of the fleet reached to the finish line. Alice Allen with Karl Evans, BCYC and Steve Sargent with Toby Bray, Looe SC were seemingly in danger of running out of time, but no, not with the current Mrs Allen being the spouse of the RO.
Johnny sent the fleet in for a late lunch, and though the bar was calling the wind unexpectedly later filled in from the North West allowing the third race to take place in the best conditions of the weekend. A slightly port biased line saw the Birds attaching themselves to the pin end buoy at the critical moment, whilst trying to restart and complete a 360 simultaneously they managed to attach themselves again. A veil has been drawn over that. Ann and Alan were first to the windward mark approaching on port tack, closely followed by Phil Ford and Jane Humpage, Looe SC and too closely for the starboard tackers were Vince Horey and Fresh Abendstern, King George SC who conveniently for Ann and Phil held everybody up. Vince took his penalty. Phil and Jane overhauled Ann and Alan on the second lap, these places held to the finish. Third were Darren and Sam back on form with Martin and Isobel unusually languishing in 6th.
Overnight Martin and Isobel led by one point from the Birds. Ann and Alan and Phil and Jane just a further point behind. With three different race winners the competition was wide open.
Excellent catering from Antonia’s team and efficient bar staff kept the Looe Boys well served. Their singing in the car park until the small hours enjoyed by a few.
Sunday dawned with mirror like conditions, with the wind gradually filling in from the South East as forecast to a familiar 8 knots in strength. A postponement flag had been raised, but with a tannoyed warning, “the start gun will be at 11:15”. Many disbelievers were not changed at 11:00 and there was a mad dash for the starting area as the wind settled steadily shifty (is that an oxymoron?) over the entire reservoir. Clean get aways from each of the three race starts saw Enterprises banging corners to both the left and right. Snakes and ladders of lifts and headers had the fleet changing places on each round. In the 5th race Martin and Isobel took a conservative middle of the course approach on the second beat to gain the lead as they exited from the middle of the pack, again. They convincingly won all three races with the usual protagonists, Birdies, Ann and Alan, Darren and Sam, Phil and Jane all trying to play catch up in their wake.
With an emphatic 4 wins from 6 races the Enterprises have been Honnored.
Thanks to Johnny Allen’s race team and the speedy mark laying ribs. Thanks also to our supporters this year, Fernhurst Books and Noble Marine Insurance Broker