IT was almost a case of déjà vu at the club’s blue ribbon event, the Kestrel Open, in May.
The same boat took overall honours; the same two Kestrels were second and third respectively; the same; number of boats entered; and the weather was kind, just like the year before.
The only significant difference was the absence, through family commitments, of Kestrel top dog, national champion Dusty Miller, who has dominated here, there and everywhere over the past few years.
Thus. It was left to his hardy crew, and owner of Back In Black II, John Ellingham, to carry on the good work, this time with the aid of Lakeside clubmate Liam Pike.
“I have helmed the boat before,” said Ellingham, “but the last occasion was some time ago, so we decided to toss a coin and Liam chose right and won the honour.”
Just as last year, Back In Black II was in control for much of the weekend, winning three of the four races. It would have been four out of four had Pike and Ellingham not sportingly slowed down as they approached the finish line in the final race to allow Dave Hearsum and Gareth Fay, sailing Breaking Wind, to take the gun ahead of them after an earlier mid-race incident that they felt unfairly penalised the Hickling Broad pair.
Even allowing for this, Back In Black II had done more than enough to clinch overall victory and also retain the Eastern Area Championship.
For Ellingham, it was his fourth consecutive win as crew and his seventh success at Goldhanger since 2001.
Hearsum and Fay, who eight months ago became Kestrel national champions at Alton Water, finished second, three points behind. Goldhanger’s Henry Richards, , sailing Jiggery Pokery and crewed by Tristan Bourne, was a further five points adrift, on countback from Steve and Lin Worf from Calshot Sailing Club, thus emulating his 2011 performance when he was third with his brother, Christopher.
The Worfs, who have enjoyed some good results at Open meetings already this year, and who won the curtailed Goldhanger event in 2005 when the event was reduced to just the Saturday after the fleet had been decimated by strong winds and a particularly fierce squall, were sailing a new boat, No 1545, recently purchased from John Weedon, of Marconi Sailing Club, who has retired from the class.
FINAL RESULT: 1 1558 L Pike & J Ellingham (Lakeside SC) 3 pts, 2 l574 D Hearsum & G Fay (Hickling Broad SC) 6 pts, 3 1563 H Richards & T Bourne (Goldhanger SC) 11 pts, 4 1545 S & Ms L Worf (Calshot SC) 11 pts, 5 1553 I Rintoul & R Anthony (Broxbourne SC) 16 pts, 6 C Richards & A Bourne (Goldhanger SC) 16 pts, 7 G Richmond & T Bailey (Goldhanger SC) 16 pts, 8 R & Ms J Brown-Lee (Goldhanger SC) 18 pts, 9 J & Ms J Drummond (Wilsonian SC) 19 pts, 10 K Edwins & K Jones (Stewartby Water SC) 25 pts.
NATIONAL champions Dusty Miller and John Ellingham might be short of practice this year, but they showed no sign of having lost their touch as they dominated the Goldhanger Open in glorious sunshine at the weekend and repeated their feat of last summer by winning all four races. It was the pair’s third consecutive victory at Goldhanger and their sixth since 2001, but few could have been as easy as this one. In winning, Miller and Ellingham also become the Kestrel Eastern Area Champions. Since Miller became a father for the first time in May, he has managed previously to compete in only one open event this year, but the way he and crew Ellingham outclassed the rest of the ten-boat fleet it is difficult to see anyone ending their championship reign when the nationals are held at Netley in August. Dave Hearsum, crewed by Hickling Broad colleague Paul Jarvey, was second in his first race back since suffering a heart attack during the Calshot Open in May.
“I wouldn’t have taken part if I hadn’t felt one hundred per cent,” said Dave. “It was unfortunate ending up in hospital in Southampton, especially as we were leading the fleet at the time, but it’s great to come back and get a second. “It has worked out a blessing, really, because I have decided to take early retirement from next week, and so I can now concentrate totally on next month’s national championships.”
Goldhanger’s Christopher and Henry Richards maintained their good form by following their victory at Calshot with a creditable third place, proving that they can still be competitive even when the wind does not blow old boots. After receiving the winners’ trophy, Miller thanked the club for another great event. “It’s been really enjoyable as usual,” he said, “and I’m looking forward to next year.”
FINAL RESULT: 1 1558 D Miller & J Ellingham (Lakeside SC), 2 1514 D Hearsum & P Jarvey (Hickling Broad SC), 3 1563 H & C Richards (Goldhanger SC).
THE annual Kestrel Open, held in June, made a profit of almost £400 and earned countless plaudits from visiting sailors.
“Fantastic . . . fabulous . . . superb” were just three adjectivess used to describe the event, which attracted 18 boats – the same number as attended the first Open in 2000.
One couple, making their first visit to Goldhanger, said: “It was great to find such a friendly bunch of people, and a truly unique event in a perfect setting. Definitely one for our diary in future years.”
Dave Hearsum, of the Kestrel Owners’ Association, was one of several who emailed the club to offer many genuine congratulations.
“With the exception of our national championship, year after year Goldhanger consistently has the highest turnout of boats at any Kestrel event, ” Dave said.
It was with this in mind that the suggestion was made by the Kestrel Owners’ Association that, from next year, the Goldhanger Open incorporates the Kestrel Eastern Area Championship which, until last summer, had been hosted first by Maylandsea Bay Sailing Club and, most recently, by Marconi Sailing Club.
The Goldhanger club committee has readily agreed to this proposal. This year’s Open was won by the inimitable Dusty Miller and John Ellingham. Graham Richmond, crewed by guest Duncan Wilson, was fifth.
The Lakeside pair have now won the Open on five occasions, three times in the last four years, and next year will be bidding to become the first pair to remain undefeated for three successive years.
FINAL RESULT: 1 1557 D Miller & J Ellingham (Lakeside) 3 pts, 2 1548 P Jarvey & I Bray (Hickling Broad) 7 pts, 3 1514 D Hearsum & G Faye (Oulton Broad) 8 pts, 4 1537 J, Ms S & Ms ) Glasspool (Royal Harwich) 11 pts, 5 1549 G Richmond & D Wilson (Goldhanger) 13 pts, 6 668 L Pike & A Luxford (Lakeside) 14 pts, 7 1545 J Weedon & G Flemon (Marconi) 20 pts, 8 1563 H & C Richards (Goldhanger) 24 pts.