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2023 Marblehead Ranking 5&6 Report and Results

Club: Datchet Water Radio Sailing Club
Class: International Marblehead
Date: Novemberber 18-19 2023
Author: Richard Jones
Photos: Richard Jones

Marblehead UK Rankings 5&6, November 18-19th, Datchet Water

Datchet hosted the UK Marblehead Ranking 5&6 event over the weekend of November 18-19. Considering that the edge effects of Storm Debi were passing through the area, there were an excellent number of competitors from widespread regions. Fourteen competitors raced in Ranking 5, and ten raced in Ranking 6 the following day.

Saturday emerged from the earlier rains of the week and produced excellent conditions in the A-Rig to B-Rig range. Craig Richards of Datchet, with his F6, was the strong winner of the fifteen race series, with his scoreline never outside the top three. Ever consistent, and with six wins, Darin Ballington finished second, fifteen points behind Craig Richards.

Behind Craig and Darin it was pretty close with plenty of top three finishes. Honours here were shared by Peter Stollery, Graham Bantock , Nigel Barrow and Robert Wilson.

As Sunday dawned, the wind properly got up to remind us it was a good job if we had brought all our rigs. Generally, the westerly breeze was 15-20mph, gusting in the high twenties and sometimes the low thirties. Datchet in these conditions produced some interesting waves, one to two feet in height at times. Racing was fast and furious.

From the start, it was going to be about rig changes and rig choice. Most competitors were switching to whichever of C1, C3, B2 rigs seemed to work best for them in that race. Considering some of the gusts, the fleet managed a relatively minor injury count with nothing all that serious.

Rob Vice of Guildford, with his Grunge, put in a barn storming performance and properly stamped this blustery day as his own. Of nine races, Rob won five. Not that there weren’t other masterful performances. We had terrific consistency from Tony Edwards of Yeovil who finished second, and a couple of blistering wins from Craig Richards who finished third overall. In the final scoring, as with Saturday, only four points separated third to sixth place. A couple of ties were resolved only on countback. In these positions, Graham Bantock, Nigel Barrow and Darin Ballington were simply never far from the front.

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