Congratulations go to Graham Bantock taking 1st place at the 2021 Ten Rater National Championship hosted by Keighley & District MES 2nd/3rd October.
Big winds as expected at Keighley
The 10Rs are big boats, but not often a big fleet. The final tally for the Nationals this year at Keighley was only eight boats but we had a good selection of designs on show including two each of Diamond, Trance, P8 and single examples of Defector and Sonix. The clear favourite had to be thirteen times past champion Graham Bantock, however he did not have it all his own way in the exposed wilds of the West Yorkshire hills.
The weather forecasts were bang on with the wind and, unfortunately, with the weather. Saturday started off dry but the forecast rain arrived bang on schedule by the time racing started and never let up all day. Good job then that the wind was the predicted 12-15mph and pretty much rock steady from the SE enabling race officer John Tushingham to set a long course for these impressive boats. The bookies favourite Graham got off to a solid start with a convincing win in race one, then Duncan Ellis, who only just managed to make the event after trawling Norfolk for three days to fill up his diesel tank, stepped up to win the next two races. Could the bookies be in for a real pasting, well no, Graham pulled clear ahead by taking the next four bullets with his very well set up Diamond design. Then a retirement and a bit of a hiccup in races 8 & 9 saw hugh McAdoo’s Diamond sister ship take advantage winning both these races.
It certainly wasn’t getting any warmer or drier, and the first day ended with more wins for Graham who now had a clear overall lead with Duncan and Hugh in a tight battle for second. Once dried off and warmed up, a convivial evening in the pub was enjoyed by those that could make it. Fully fed and watered we were all looking forward to a better forecast for Sunday.
As the fleet gathered on Sunday morning that optimism was well justified, sun and a good 10mph southerly, but seemingly no uplift in the temperature. The wind was due to steadily increase during the day and swing a bit towards a south westerly. Once again the forecast had it spot on and throughout the day up it came and down went the rig sizes, but not before some amusingly overpowered racing that was greatly enjoyed by the spectators. frequent wipeouts down the run lead to some exiting finishes, perhaps most notably when Damian Ackroyd snuck past the floundering boats of Graham and Hugh just inches before the finish line. Phil Holliday had been suffering persistent sheeting issues with his new P8 design, but once sorted he started to show some good speed, taking a win in race 16. Graham once again kept up his consistent winning ways, only losing out all day to individual wins by Damian, Phil and Duncan Ellis.
Over the whole weekend the race for the minor positions behind Graham was extremely closely fought, with the slimmest of points gaps by the end of play. A rather vicious and prolonged rain squall brought a premature end to racing by popular consent.
It was a joy to watch these beautiful boats power their way around these big courses. Congratulations to Graham Bantock who dominated the event and gets to put his name on this historic trophy for an unprecedented fourteenth time.
Full results can be found here 2021 Ten Rater National Championship results