The 2018 Allen Enterprise Inland Championship was held at Blithfield Sailing Club over the weekend of 14/15 April. In addition to being the Inland Championship, this event also kicked off the 2018 National Circuit series.
Being unusually early in the season, this was the first time out during 2018 for many of the entrants, resulting in not everybody being immediately on their “A game”…..which was evident when most of the fleet missed out a mark on the first lap of the first race, with many of the leading boats not even noticing the rest of the fleet return to sail the correct course, and banking their discard very early in the event…doh!
After this shuffling of the pack, the first win of the championship went to Alan Skeens, helmed by Ann Jackson from Burghfield Sailing Club, followed by Megan Ward & Paul Young from Midland Sailing Club, and Marc Heger and Charles Morrish from St Marys Loch.
As the day unfolded, what little wind there was disappeared, and the Committee and Race Officer made a great early decision to can the rest of Saturday’s racing, and to reschedule one of the lost Saturday races to Sunday, to give 3 back to back races to conclude the championship.
Sunday’s racing was a bit of a masterclass from current National Champions Becca & Jer Stephens from Penzance SC, with what appeared to be comfortable wins, leading from start to finish in all three races.
In Sunday’s first race, Laura & Phil Bevan from Grafham Water SC won the battle to be first behind Becca & Jer, followed by Craig Wheatley & Paul Hobson from Looe SC.
After a great start to Sunday’s second race, Abigail & Martin Honnor from Ogston SC pushed Becca & Jer closest on the day, finishing a close second on the water, but it soon became clear that their start had been just a little bit too good (/bad), and unfortunately they bagged an OCS to go with their DSQ from the first race, effectively ending their challenge for the 2018 event. This meant that Laura & Phil picked up their second second, followed by Natalie & Darren Roach from Looe SC.
Going into Sunday’s third, and the final race of the event, Laura & Phil were only a couple of points behind Becca & Jer, and with both already carrying their discard from the first race mix-ups, it was a bit tense… until Becca & Jer nailed the start & once again sailed off into the distance. Laura & Phil had a comfortable points cushion ahead of a half a dozen boats who had a decent chance of securing third overall, and it was Hannah & Tim Sadler from Yorkshire Dales SC who finished the last race in second, to secure third overall. Third in this race went to Julie Moore & Ges Brown from South Caernarvonshire YC.
So, the podium was filled with 3 daughter / father teams, with Becca & Jer Stephens from Penzance SC taking the title pretty convincingly, followed by Laura & Phil Bevan from Grafham Water SC and Hannah & Tim Sadler from Yorkshire Dales SC.
As a bonus, Becca & Jer also won a prize for being quite old (aka Master @ over 40 years old).