The two day event at Oxford has become written into IC folklore as the final celebration of the year for canoe sailing and this year was no exception with 20 boats turning up for a day of short training races and the final premier event of the year on Saturday. With a variety of wind conditions on offer there was something for everyone.
The Friday is popular as a way of experimenting with rigs and boat setup. Under the stewardship of Simon Hotchin a set of short races is an excellent way of improving boat handling, starting and allows experimentation in a competitive environment. This year with legendary Nick Craig joining in, there was some interesting observations to be had on which kit works best demonstrating how small and sometimes subtle changes can have a significant impact on speed with the highly efficient IC rig.
Light conditions persisted but with a severe cold font working its way down from the north overnight, the prospects for Saturday were looking quite different. And so it transpired. The gradient wind at 14mph was almost perfect; sadly the severe and at time viscous gusts were not and created some challenging conditions and a severe test of boat handling and equipment.
Simon was able to get a full race programme of 4 races into the Saturday in somewhat uncomfortable conditions as the air temperature plummeted from 200C on the Friday to 80C on the Saturday.
First race saw most the fleet finish but as the cold front progressed southwards the gusts increased in severity taking its toll. A collision put Shaun Anderson out of the running in race 2 which became a big boys race with Rick Bowers ecstatic at being 2nd around the first windward mark as several went swimming.
World Champion Robin showed how skill can overcome leverage with his usual immaculate performance to win overall spoiled only by a capsize early in R2.
A good solid performance from the IC Nethercott division with Martin Robb coming in first.