It was true Corinthian spirit for the Squib Inland Championships hosted by the Rutland Sailing Club, with 10 travellers from the home fleet plus regular 707 member Julie Batchelor as guest crew on (Hussar #500). Indeed with only 37 entrants expectations were high for retention of the team trophy and maybe more.
The forecast strong winds were present for all 3 races on the Saturday, as was the first substitute and black flag which are almost mandated for squib starts. Race one results were dominated by arch-rivals South Caernarvonshire which reset the expectations for RCYC with Nic Tolhurst & Mel Titmus (#868 By The Lee) the best RCYC boat in 6th position with Nigel & Jack Grogan (#105 Helmut Shoing 2) 9th and Phil Aspinall & Howie Enkel (#72 Guy Fawkes) in 10th. Post race discussions revealed that 3 of the RCYC fleet had missed the spreader mark whilst holding top 10 positions.
Race 2 saw the fleet get its act together as the Grogans and Malcolm Hutchings & Andy Ramsey (#819 Lady Penelope) pulled clear and tussled for the victory whilst Micky Wright & Alex Porteous (#811 Spoof) wriggled clear to secure the final podium position.
The final race of the day delivered the strongest breeze and whilst there were good showings for the fleet near the front the main interest was at the back of the fleet where Guy Fawkes sustained damage in a collision and Ben Luddington & Amy Spare (#757 Mosquito) were laid flat and swamped by the day's strongest gust to demonstrate the true value of electric pumps which took over 20 mins and a lot of battery power to return the waterline back to its rightful place.
Sunday saw much lighter airs for the final 2 races. The Grogans were in top spot but the inconsistencies of the previous day meant that all of the top 10 boats were in contention. Race 4 delivered the first clean start of the weekend and the fleet split left and right to chase the stronger breeze. Whilst the right side was the better side the Grogans went too close to the bank and lost not only the breeze but also their championship hopes. Spoof, Guy Fawkes and Humphrey #823 (Robert Coyle & Marc Rawinsky) all secured top ten finishes along with the Grogans.
The final race was once again a tricky decision on going for wind strength or direction. The strength on the left hand side this time paid allowing Ian Gray & Ian Simons (#157 Chequemate) to secure at top 10 finish along with 4 others from RCYC.
Final results declared Josh Metcalfe & Mark Hogan (#136 Ric Ohsea) National Inland Champions ahead of the Grogans by 3 points. Spoof narrowly missed out of the podium ending up in 4th position.
It was a disappointing regatta for Duncan Grindley & Pete Richards (#760 Surprise) and Squib legends Peter Marchant & Andy Biddle (#736 Magic Roundabout) both of whom spoiled their good races by missing the spreader mark.
All in all a great race weekend with deserving winners and excellent close quarter racing marred only by the team trophy heading to Wales instead of returning to Essex... but it'll be back next year.