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Reports: Corus 2009 PDF Print E-mail

Corus Open September 26/27th 2009

The International canoe fleet was greeted by glorious sunshine and a surprise visit from Elvis during the annual Corus open meeting in South Wales

The IC contingent arrived early - very early in fact: the gates were locked. Looking acrosss Eglwys Nunydd Reservoir things looked less than promising - steam and smoke from the steelworks rising vertically. It should be explained, for those who don't know, that the venue has something of a split personality. In one direction one looks across sand dunes (an SSSI) to the mountains beyond, with only an electricity pylon to spoil a rural view.

While the visitors arrived on Saturday morning the flat calm conditions looked a little depressing, but the local assurances of a sea breeze was soon to come true with a gentle sea breeze arriving late morning and strengthening throughout the afternoon.  A good field of competitors turned out in both AC and IC fleets with some very close racing being enjoyed by all. 



In the AC's at the end of play on Saturday Gareth Caldwell had a secured a good position with three strait wins with Dave Timson and Tony Robertshaw battling for second place.  The trailing Llandegfedd trio didn't quite have the pace to catch the other three but were having quite a battle with Martyn Osborne finding good speed having finally sorted his new Hyde rig.

The IC's elected to sail Windward Leewards with the ACs and the Cherubs we were sharing the event with so there was no shortage of boats of different sizes, speeds and gybing angles to keep everyone sharp and interested. All the Saturday races were quite similar really, with Colin Newman and Jim Champ in the Nethercot's having no an answer for Phil Robin in the new design Scarlet Morrison, with Colin showing superior boat handling. The wind was was pretty shifty and there was an overall trend for the wind to swing sharply to the left on around the rhumb line for the windward mark, and playing the shifts rarely got much benefit... Colin got one set of shifts going well in the middle race, but on the whole bang right tended to be the best option... Places were 1 Phil, 2 Colin, Jim 3 in all races, but the intervals varied considerably. We were also well mixed up with the ACs who's VMG downwind was actually pretty similar to the IC's in the light conditions. The IC fleet was dominated by Phil Robin with Colin Newman and Jim Champ claiming second and third place respectively.

The delights of the seaside town of Porthcawl were sampled on Saturday evening with the extra excitement and surprise of the locally arranged annual Elvis Presley extravaganza which was something to behold and apparently the largest in Europe.

Links between Porthcawl and the king seemed somewhat tenuous as we strolled through the pleasure park known as Coney Beach strewen with used chip papers and the glorious aroma of freshly poured beer but no body seemed to care and much of the local falling down juice was consummed to the sounds of "Viva Las Vegas" and the like by the four who had remained in town whilst the others caught up on their much needed beauty sleepCool.  

The impact was so great that it has been decided that the event will now be known as the “Corus Graceland Open” and the doning of Elvis wigs will be considered compulsory next year.


One or two sore heads (4 more likely - Ed) on Sunday morning looked out on another flat calm lake which was just as calm, and with an earlier start things didn't look so cheerful, and sure enough at 10 a postponement went up. However the steelworks was about to deliver a superb meterological lesson. Just after 10 it became apparent that seawards-most steam column was going up two or three thousand feet and then heading off seawards. Over the next 20 minutes of so each succeeding column of steam gained a leftwards kink at the top. Obviously this was the start of sea breeze circulation, just like in all the books which I now have a lot more confidence in, and sure enough at 11 some ripples appeared on the far side of the lake, and a gentle but very worthwhile sea breeze came in. You could then see the the steam columns being blown first landwards and then seawards,with a smoke trail all the way out to the sea. It really was exactly like the arrows in the books! The sea breeze again came good, with enough breeze to run three more races.  

In the AC’s Gareth Caldwell secured his overall his win with a 1st and a 2nd with Dave Timson taking the number two slot and Tony Robertshaw in third. Maurice Clarke, making a cameo appearance caused a few raised eyebrows coming very close to challenging the top 3 in race 4 and mixing it with the Llandfedd boys. The final race was a real seat of the pants affair with place changes happening at regular intervals and a real test of stamina and the finer points of boat handling. The usual suspects came out on top but it was very close and a great sign of things to come next season. 

The IC’s enjoyed some good close sailing with the overall positions being held from Saturday.  1st Phil Robin 2nd Colin Newman and 3rd Jim Champ. The wind direction was similar to the day before, and to an extent so was the racing. Colin slipped a place to Jim Colin when he managed a reverse one and a half backward somersault with pike dismount after missing a handhold on the first beat of race one, but the big shift at the top was still there, and you never really felt, going up the beat, that the frequent smaller shifts were going to justify all the boatlengths that two extra tacks were going to lose you, especially with the same big overall shift waiting at the top, so we all tended to bang right, and although there were certainly gains to be made by understanding the general pattern to help judge the tack for the windward mark, they were more qualitative rather than quantitative - there were never really big overtaking possibilities... So Phil took 5 wins and Colin 4 seconds for a rather uniform scoresheet. Still it was sunny, it was warm, there was enough wind for some racing: it was a decent event.

As the last event in the sailing calendar Corus was also the last race for the traveller’s trophy in both disciplines.  Colin Newman won in the IC’s with Steve Clarke taking the trophy in the AC’s.

Final Results:

IC Fleet

  • 1st  Phil Robin GBR311  Hayling Island SC      

  • 2nd Colin Newman GBR295 Draycote SC

  • 3rd Jim Champ GBR257

 AC Fleet

  • 1st Gareth Caldwell GBR294 Carsington

  • 2nd Dave Timson GBR303 Llandegfedd

  • 3rd Tony Robertshaw GBR306 Weston Shore SC

  • 4th Martyn Osborne GBR302 Llandegfedd SC

  • 5th Steve Clarke GBR300 Llandegfedd SC

  • 6th Maurice Clarke GBR282 Corus SC

  • 7th Terry McCool GBR227 Llandegfedd SC