Ullswater International Canoe Open 2-3 May
Ten competitors from all over the country arrived at Ullswater for the first open meeting of the year. The warm spring weather from April was just a recent memory as a cold front crossed the country and seemed to park itself over the area for a few days giving very testing sailing conditions from a broadly easterly direction.
The canoes raced with the mixed fleet of fast asymmetric dinghies and we were able to compare our speed with the Musto Skiffs, 49ers, VX1’s . In very testing conditions, with big holes in the wind, from variable directions it was nearly impossible to draw many conclusions of who was on the money. Many of the capsizes and dips in form during the racing, were due to the difficult conditions and made swimming an over rated pastime and put an end to many good results.
It was however encouraging to welcome back to the class Charlie Chandler, sailing his imported canoe which was designed and built by Christian Knott in Oz. and setting a very good looking set of Alexander sails. With a little bit of final finishing this combo will take a bit of beating in the coming season.
Rob Stebbing arrived from his 10hour journey from Plymouth with his immaculate Chris Maas canoe which finished 2nd in the worlds last September, just superb.
Tony Marston brought the pretty all glass Slurp up from West Kirby and wisely stayed ashore from much of the time.
The last of the long distance visitors was Roger Howell with his AC. Now Roger will tell you himself that he has found the AC really difficult to sail in a blow since he purchased it. A new main sail, following on from the advice from chairman Gaz, supplied by H D sails has sorted out his problem. He is happy now to sail in 15-20 knots of wind and did so in the final race of the series. The moral here is that if you are struggling in the windy weather, it may well be the set up of the boat…please just ask for some advice!
Flashes of speed and brilliance were experienced at times from: John Robson, when not fishing with his kite; John Ellis, when his new all carbon seat stayed in the boat; ICF Chairman Phil showing off his San Fran. skills: Colin Brown when not moaning about the cold! ; And finally just had to mention the very brave Rob Bell, ran into an unmarked reef in 20 knots of wind on the bank holiday Monday while broad reaching, all very nasty. The boat stopped quicker than poor Rob and he planted his face into the mast, breaking his nose and having to be taken to the local hospital. His boat was towed home with surprisingly little damage for such a major crash and will be back in action sooner than Rob, get well soon!
All events considered a good showing of canoes to other classes and I leave you news that the new rules IC is ( very) fast for its handicap!
Results (extracted from handicap results)