Ian Clingan produced a first class performance to win the first qualifier for next year’s championships, winning three of the six races and being second in another two.
He was consistently quicker than any other Finn, and even when slow off the start line he showed that he had the boat speed to reach the front.
Ian who finished 21st at the recent world championships has just missed out on RYA funding and this was to be his last regatta of his 12-month Finn campaign. He may well be persuaded to continue if not domestically and after this regatta has certainly shown what he is capable of in the lighter airs. It would be a shame to lose a very talented sailor and a larger than life personality from the fleet.
After the euphoria of 30+ Finns at Warsash the previous weekend it was slightly disappointing turnout as there were ultimately 12 Finns sharing a trapezoid course with the other Olympic classes. This is often the case at these events which tend attract those sailors keen to qualify for the Europeans and Worlds and not the rest of the fleet. The standard of sailing is always high and the tracing close with never more than two minutes separating the first and last boats.
The conditions were light and variable all weekend, occasionally reaching 10 knots. On the Saturday the race officer sent the fleets outside the harbour, which was where the wind was at the start of the day however, it had died by mid afternoon and the boats were towed in after squeezing three races in.
Sunday brought a cooler and initially a fresher start however the wind was dropping steadily all day, fortunately being reasonably consistent in direction and racing in the harbour was always going to be favourite.
Ian's nearest rival Andrew Simpson (Bart) pushed him hard all the way but did not quite have the boat speed in the conditions to match Ian. Dave Mellor, the Finn Northern Champion was consistently third throughout although Dave is far better suited to the stronger winds and more wavy conditions.
Our top two juniors Chris Brittle and Charlie Cumbley both missed the racing on Saturday due to a 'coming of age' party and were unable to make up sufficient ground on Sunday despite a first and two seconds between them.
Newcomer Matt Howard who is now training with the squad had his moments and battled hard with Adam Cowling all weekend, Adam eventually having the edge by a couple of points, the pair of them finishing fourth and fifth respectively. Luke Chapman new to the fleet from lasers and sailing his first qualifier was always there or there abouts and finished in sixth place holding off the challenge of Phil Laycock and Sander Kooij.
The fleet moves on to Warsash and Rutland for the end of season qualifiers with all to play for. Some of the more established names needing to make more of an impact if they are to qualify automatically for next year's major regattas.
Final Results (all GBR):
1 Ian Clingan 7pts
2 Andrew Simpson 9pts
3 Dave Mellor 17pts
4 Adam Cowling 22pts
5 Matt Howard 26pts
6 Luke Chapman 33pts
7 Phil Laycock 38 pts
8 Sander Kooij 40 pts
9 Charlie Cumbley 43 pts
10 John De Leeww 44 pts