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2024 M&S District Marblehead Championship & GAMES 2 at 3 Rivers RYC

Report by Roger Stollery

Fog, light winds from the east south-east and the forecast of rain put off 3 of the 14 entries, but those who sailed in the 11 races created some exciting, but frustrating racing and stayed dry as there was no rain.

The wind blew from behind the trees in the control area, creating a changing wind direction whether you were close to control area or out in the clearly stronger wind offshore.
Race Officer John Male set a simple windward leeward course, with 2 runs and 3 beats. Despite the length of the course and the variability of the wind there was some exciting finishes, particularly as the finish line was in a particularly quiet area.


Right from the start Chris Harris sailing his light GRUNGE, set the pace with 3 wins, but was beaten in Race 4 by Trevor Innes sailing a borrowed STARKERS, before repeating those winning results. Unsurprisingly Chris was on the top of the lunchtime leaderboard with a score of 5, with Tony Guerrier 13 and Barrie Martin 15 points.

Chris’s strategy was to stay in the strong breeze and well over stand the windward mark so as to approach it with speed, whilst the alternative strategy used by Barrie of sticking to the rhumb line and tacking on the shifts was equally good at times. Tony sailing his GRUNGE used this strategy to win Race 8.

On the run Chris use the same strategy, which allowed him to approach the leeward gate, again at speed at a higher angle than the running boats and was always the inside boat at the leeward gate mark. Despite not having sailed at 3 Rivers since 1991 he demonstrated his mastery of these conditions in retaining the Silver plate trophy that he won in 2021.

It was encouraging that there were 8 different designs from 5 different designers and some local competitors again racing Marbleheads. John Howell sailing a Vickers V1 started to go well at the end once he had the trim setup better. John Horsfield sailed a beautiful varnished timber hull to Brad Gibson’s INDIE design. It was also good to see the 2 entries from Gosport, Bob Pearson and young Lewis Wyeth both sailing STARKERS, the potential of which was demonstrated by Barrie racing his into 2nd place. He was only one of 2 boats that used a masthead wind indicator that he felt so important ‘to see the wind’ in these wildly changeable conditions.

At the prize-giving John Male and his trusted 4 man team were thanked for putting on yet another good event in difficult conditions. Conditions may become more difficult in future as the Council has banned the use of stakes for holding down the tent and its guy ropes, which are essential for holding the tent against any sort of wind.

Whilst the club have cleverly fixed this temporarily for the light winds yesterday, with half a dozen bricks tied together at each guy rope, the club, with perhaps help from the MYA, might consider a better solution using stakes following an asbestos survey to check the non existence of asbestos in just the small area used for the tent. I now understand why the lake is called Bury Lake as it was used to bury asbestos. Indeed the image from Google Earth gives an indication of some of the roadways under the water by their intermittent, but once regular pattern.


RO John Male on the left presents the Silver M&S District M Trophy to the winner Chris Harris
RO on the right presents the runner-up prize to Barrie Martin
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