OK Dinghy Youth & Junior Championships

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On Saturday the 18 October the first OK Dinghy Youth & Junior Championships for a few years was hosted by South Staffs SC. To say the day was a success would not do it justice!

Eighteen sailors were warmly greeted by the club, with bacon rolls on offer to prepare them for the day ahead. The wind varied between 10-18 knots all day, with some pretty hefty gusts at times that kept the rescue crew busy.

Race 1 – Got underway well and with a shifty first beat it was Richard Burton from West Oxford who led at the windward mark, closely followed by Chris Tooley from South Windermere and South Staffs hot shots Chris White, Will Croxford and Adam Parry. By the third mark the South Staffs lads had hit the front with Parry taking command from White and Croxford. Sarah Davies was the first of the four girls and well up in 7th place.

Parry then went on to produce a master class in boat handling and ability to pull out a huge lead on the rest, who were all sailing well and impressing the excited senior OK sailors on the bank. By the end, it was Parry who took the gun with ease. Behind, there was a great ding dong for 2nd with Ed Dutton taking it after recovering from an awful start. White took 3rd from Croxford, Burton and Tooley. Seonaid Fleming overtook Sarah Davies to win the ladies battle, finishing in very credible 9th and 10th places.

Race 2 – After a superb South Staffs lunch, race 2 got underway first time with many of the fleet bang on the line and motoring. The best of these was Davies who popped out to lead. Parry reached the windward mark first but then capsized right on it. This caused some chaos and it was Dutton that rounded first from Croxford. These two then pulled out a nice gap on White and Parry.

With the wind increasing slightly and some damaging gusts coming down the pond there were a number of capsizes throughout the race, but it was great to see all but two complete the race. Croxford then worked his way past Dutton to lead with Parry hot on their tails. At the start of the penultimate lap Parry caught a big lift to catch Croxford, but Croxford was not going to give this one up easily. At the finish Croxford had established a comfortable lead to take the gun from Parry, Dutton and Burton.

Race 3 – All was to play for and with the wind increasing it was Parry who led at the first mark. By the second mark Parry and Croxford had created a small gap. Parry then stamped his authority on the Championship by pulling away from Croxford. However, much to the excitement of the spectators, Croxford started to reel Parry in, with Burton chasing in third. Behind there was another battle developing between White, Dutton, Tooley and Mark Fleming enjoying the breeze. At the final mark Parry rounded first with Croxford on his transom!

Croxford tacked followed by Parry covering, but Parry dropped his mainsheet loosing a few valuable seconds. All the way to the finish it was nip and tuck, who was going to win? Croxford managed to find a little more pressure to take the gun and the Championship by two boat lengths from Parry. Wow, what a finish! White came home 3rd from Tooley, Dutton and Sarah Davies well up in 6th.

At the prize giving Will collected both the youth and junior trophies as he is still only 17 years old. Seonaid Fleming won the ladies prize finishing 9th overall and Sarah Davies in 10th respectively.

The fleet came ashore to enjoy one of South Staffs legendary free teas and then gathered around the television. The second race was filmed by the Class Chairman with Nick Craig providing the commentary. They were graciously driven around the reservoir by Homer Goodhead who tried his hardest to send the Chairman overboard, but failed. Nick then took the fixated crowd through the footage offering tips and praise along the way. Nick was clearly impressed by the standard of sailing he had witnessed, so the future is bright!

OK Dinghy Youth & Junior Championships - Final overall results

PositionSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Points
12126Will CroxfordSouth Staffs(4)112
22125Adam ParrySouth Staffs1(2)23
32128Ed DuttonSouth Staffs23(5)5
42116Chris WhiteSouth Staffs3(5)36
52117Richard BurtonW. Oxford54(DSQ)9
62107Chris TooleyS. Windermere(DSQ)6410
72108James CroxfordSouth Staffs68(DNF)14
82105Alex FrostSouth Cerney7(13)714
92074Seonaid FlemingSouth Staffs(9)7815
102127Sarah DaviesSouth Staffs(10)10616
112085Mark FlemingSouth Staffs8(DNF)917
121980Alastair MacaulaySouth Staffs119(DNF)20
132092Sam BlocksidgeSouth Staffs(DSQ)111021
142056Eleanor DaviesSouth Staffs(12)121224
152068Sam WoodsEtherow(DSQ)141125
161998Ben SteelEtherow(DSQ)151429
171963Adrian WalkerSouth Staffs(DNF)DNFDNS38
182049Emma FlowersWellandYC(DNF)DNSDNS38

The club then laid on a terrific barbecue and skittles night, with those who were old enough partying into the night.

Thanks must go all the South Staffs volunteers who worked so hard to make the day a success. Especially Bill Bradburn for all his efforts in organizing the Championships. Purple Sails, Pinnell & Bax and the person or persons for the very generous donation for their support.