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Blaze Eastern Championships 2022

August 20th/21st saw 18 Blazes launch from the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club in Burnham, sorry 17… one was missing due to self-inflicted symptoms (New boat name “Where’s Jeff”)!

Day one was sailed in champagne conditions with 10-14 knots, the PRO Phil Aspinall alongside the excellent “Kah-nee-ta” team set a trapezoid course to maximise the planning power of the Blazes.

Race 1 was a great start with some good battles and after 3 laps Ben Harden, Malcolm Hutchings and Nic Tolhurst had broken away to finish in that order With Nick Milton in 4th. Here unfortunately the very brave Nic Tolhurst had to pull out due to injury and most peoples pre-event favourite was gone! Therefore I cannot comment further on the next two races but the results were as follows,

Race 2- Harden, Hutchings, Charlie Matthews

Race 3- Harden, Charlie Matthews, Dan Henderson a new arrival to the Blaze fleet.

The Fleet returned to a bucket of beers in the dinghy park with current National champ Ben Harden in first but departing for the RS200 nationals leaving the door wide open for the rest.

The infamous Pink Flamingo was awarded in the evening with the PRO nominating himself after a “sticky” finger resulted in a general recall when none was necessary but the honour in the end went to Ian Brand for tacking at the start and then promptly capsizing - twice!

Day 2 was equally as sunny, but the winds were now 5-10 knots with large shifts attached to gusts which resulted in some big gains and losses no more evident than in Race 4 when Keith Gilmore after a healthy lead for the first lap was turned inside out and went swimming along with 3 other unfortunates and the effects of this mess left Dan Henderson in 1st followed by Nick Milton with his best result of the weekend and then the unlucky Keith salvaging 3rd and Malcolm after a very early start getting back to 4th.

Race 5 started with Charlie Matthews this time making a jump off the start with an almost unassailable lead after the first lap and Malcolm again trigger happy. Unfortunately, the shifts returned, and some canny racing allowed Dan to again take 1st followed by a relieved Malcolm, a disappointed Charlie with Nathan Clark a smiling 4th.

So, with one race left Dan and Malcolm were one point apart, could the expectation of an Ainslie / Scheidt dual be on the cards?... Disappointingly not, Malcolm finally nailed a start and disappeared to a comfortable win leaving Dan buried in the middle of the pack and slowly picking off boats on the next three laps and with a few legs to go working up to second and then frantically checking his maths. Will Gould came in 3rd and Charlie in 4th.

The final outcome being Dan and Malcolm were both tied on 11 points but Dan taking it on number of wins, Malcolm second, Charlie 3rd and Nick Milton 4th.

The Pink Flamingo was then re-awarded to Keith not for the loss inducing capsize but for when being hailed by a starboard boat retorted with “Go behind me”.

Thank you as always to our Sponsors Allen & Rooster, our race organisers on Kah-nee-ta, the mark layers and rescue teams without whom these events could not occur.

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