Allen OK National Championship

OK Dinghy at Herne Bay

A more than OK time had at Herne Bay.

The Allen Sailing, OK Nationals were hosted by Herne Bay SC from the 14-17th of June. With a few notable OK regulars absent, the National Championship was setting up to be a very open event with several potential winners. This was indeed the case, with lots of different faces at the front of the fleet and a different race winner each time.

Thursday dawned with a light 5kt NNE breeze. A quick 1 lap practice race took place, to get the race team and mark layers ready to rumble – with the light forecast for the weekend there was plenty of action for the race team – who did a brilliant job in challenging conditions!

R1 started with some pin bias and a late arrival – Luke Gower. He timed his arrival to perfection, cruising up the start, winning the pin and crossing the fleet on port. Paul Childs worked up the left and Russ Clark the right. Both boats came in closely together at the top, with Russ sailing off for a comfortable win, followed by Childs and Alex Scoles 3rd.

R2, the wind swung 75 degrees to the right as the Sea Breeze arrived. With the tide turning it was a short beat. The breeze built to 12kts and a frantic 4-lap race ensued. Jim Downer in his home-built Leech showed fantastic pace – especially downwind to take the win, followed by Ben Harden from sponsor Allen. Alex Scoles completed the top 3.

Jim Downer led the day on 6pts on countback from Alex Scoles with Russ Clark and Patric Mure (our local Swedish friend) and Ben Harden all joint on 8pints.

After a tight first day, the fleet headed back to shore to enjoy some top hospitality from the kind members of Herne Bay a great BBQ and keeping the bar open until the fleet had had their fill of local Ale.

Unfortunately for day 2, the wind did not play ball however the ice cream and swimming in the sea was delightful. The class dinner that evening gave the fleet a great chance to catch up, hold their AGM and regale each other with old stores and drink more local ale – something the OK fleet is especially good at!

Saturday, was a day to be remembered! Champagne sailing, blue skies and 3 long races.

It left some sailors battered and bruised – the ‘Rudder Sweep’ may not be a good dance move in the nightclubs but has left most sailors with a black and blue bicep to remember Herne by.

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Shustoke SC Solo Open Meeting sponsored by Allen

Shustoke SC is on a Severn Trent reservoir covering just over 100 acres. The Shustoke Reservoir website refers to it as ‘a haven of tranquillity for nature lovers, hikers and water enthusiasts, Shustoke Reservoirs are famous for their impressive wildflower displays.’


I hadn’t sailed at Shustoke previously so being able to attend a new venue is something I always look forward to. The forecast was almost perfect, 10kts – 15kts and 23 – 25˚C, the wind direction, however, was going to be directly across the lake so certainly not ideal.


This probably meant the day would contain swirling wind directions at some of the windward marks, short beats and very close racing.

With two events being on consecutive weekends, and the Nationals being only a week away, I was hoping for a good turnout. A very strong home fleet were out in force and on a day where local knowledge could play a factor this was shaping up to be a greats days sailing.


After the obligatory bacon sandwich, we gathered in the sunshine to hear the briefing from the Race Officer for today, John Dransfield.
John explained that due to the notorious starting of the Solo fleet, not sure where he got that idea from, he was going to go with the ‘I’ flag (indicates that Rule 30.1 (the around-the-ends rule) is in effect) from the outset.

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Allen Solo Midland & Northern Series

Allen sponsored solo series at carsington

Carsington Water was the latest venue for the Allen sponsored Solo Midland Area Series. This open was a joint event with the Northern Series so the cream of both series came to compete Sims, Brown, Honnor & Davenport to name a few. Ben Harden from Allen also joined the 25-strong fleet.


With a strong wind forecast, competitors arrived to a good Force 4, with the occasional stronger gust.
The race officer for the day explained how he’d heard of the enthusiasm Solos have on start lines, so would be using the U flag from the off. Not wishing to disappoint, the start of the first race was a general recall, resulting in black flags for the rest of the day.

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Allen Endurance Series 2022 – Solent Forts Race

The Solent Forts Race is a long-distance event held in the Eastern Solent, run by Hayling Ferry SC from their base at the entrance to Langstone Harbour on the southwestern corner of Hayling Island. It is one of the founding events of the Allen Endurance Series, and is open to qualifying multihulls and monohulls. The event is sponsored by Allen, Nacra and GP Sails.

For the first time in its ten-year history, high winds forecast for Sunday forced the Race Officer to pull the event forward to Saturday, holding it on 25th June in place of the usual practice race.

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Allen Contender Open at Highcliffe Sailing Club

contender dinghy's at highcliffe

Over the weekend of 25th and 26th June, 18 Contenders entered the sixth leg of the Allen Travellers Series at Highcliffe Sailing Club, a venue that has hosted many a great Contender event over the years.  The weather forecast promised mostly blue skies and no shortage of breeze from the Southwest, which also meant there would be some decent waves to play with.

Having heard the reputation of the Contender fleet for jumping the gun on occasion, the Race Officer made clear his intentions by hoisting the “I” Flag for the very first start! Which by and large worked well, with no general recalls all weekend and few individual ones either.

The Contender fleet launched into a steady 18-22Kts wind from the SSW, which maintained throughout the first day. With three races due to be sailed, it was going to be a strenuous afternoon. 

Race 1 started without incident with local hero Simon Mussell getting the best of the start and roaring into the lead up the first beat, followed by Ed Presley and a chasing pack.  The first reach was a high octane trapezing one, with some big waves to slide off, resulting in some early swims including for local sailor Gary Langdown whose boat launched into the air off a wave and jettisoned poor Gaz into the brine shortly before the wing mark!  The second reach back towards shore offered some excellent surfing opportunities, particularly for those taking advantage of the pumping (as much as you like!) flag flown from the Committee Boat all day. Simon stretched his lead to the end of the race, followed home by Ed and Richard Batten, another local Highcliffe lad in third.

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Allen Endurance Series – East Coast Piers Races

William Sunnucks wins east coast piers race

Over the weekend of 18th and 19th of June, Marconi Sailing Club played host to the 33rd East Coast Piers Race. Not being held in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID it was a welcome return for the classic long distance sailing event.

Since the last event, we have also lost a dear catamaran sailing friend in Robin Smith.

35 years ago a small group of Marconi Sailing Club cat sailors met in the now-defunct Marconi Social Club bar to chat about the idea of a long-distance charity cat race to raise funds following the death of a fellow cat sailor. Robin Smith had brought along a silver Rose Bowl and proposed we used it as a trophy. A small team bit the bullet… and the East Coast Piers Race was born.

Round 2 of the Allen Endurance Series was set to be a big one with 59 competitors pre-entered for the weekend. Part of that bumper entry was a fleet of keen Dart 18s also treating the event as one of their TTs.

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2022 UK RSFeva National Championships

RS FEVA SAILING DINGHY

Sponsored by Allen

An intense four days racing at Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy saw a very fair championship with a mix of conditions for the sailors. Full concentration was needed in the first two days of light winds, followed by some breezier days, this resulted in a shuffle of the results.

Tristan Ahlheid and Finlay Lomas-Clarke dominated from day one, it’s fair to say they smashed it, taking six bullets, congratulations boys in taking the 2022 UK RS Feva National Championship title.

The first two days also saw Port Dinorwic’s youngest team Ben Greenhalgh and Tom Sinfield claiming the first bullet of the championships and holding second position followed by family team Bruce and Joel Keen from Stokes Bay drawing on points on the end of day one. Nia Mecklenburgh and Harry Baddeley from Royal Lymington Yacht Club took their first bullet  on the last race of the day, race three.

Rs Feva Fleet sailing downwind

Race 5 – Tristan and Finlay took their third bullet, with Ben and Tom taking 2nd position and Ed Stubbs and Bruno Greenfield from Lyme Regis Sailing Club coming in 3rd place.

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USA Finn National Championships Sponsored by Allen

Finn US Nationals Start line sponsored by allen

The stage was set for the final day of the 2022 Finn US National Championships in Long Beach hosted by ABYC.

The morning greeted the 37-Finn sailors with sunny, clear blue skies indicating the Long Beach wind-doctor would be making an appearance blowing early and would increase to 18-20 knots by the start of the first race on Sunday/Race 8.

Olympic Medalist and regatta leader Craig Monk (NZL236) handled the windy conditions with ease, winning the first race of the day with Darrel Peck (USA35) finishing in 2nd place and second overall and long time Finn sailor Eric Lidecis (USA 505) in third.

For the final race, the wind picked up to 22 knots, with gusts of 24+ and big waves sailing outside the breakwater and to the south, just off Seal Beach, providing the Finn sailors with exciting huge waves for the downwind surf-fest! In the last and 9th race of the series, overall results seem to be secured with Monk taking the lead from Lidecis on the downwind run, and seemingly for the regatta until Monk caught a wave the wrong way and flipped his Finn and unfortunately for Monk, had a hard time getting his boat righted and continuing to sail on.

Lidecis seized the opportunity after seeing Monk capsize, sailed conservatively to finish third and coupled with sailing a very consistent regatta with no scores worst than a 3rd place in any race, the overall title.

Monk wasn’t able to finish so he had to score his only bad race of his 1,1,1,2,4,13,1 score card to end up 2nd overall-giving Lidecis the overall National Championship title.

Finn Dinghy Sailing around windward mark
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Allen Endurance Series – Round 1

Kevin Dutch at the Whitstable Forts

Whitstable Forts Race 2022 at Whitstable Yacht Club

Whitstable Yacht Club hosted the Forts Race Weekend over 28th and 29th of May, after a covid enforced absence of 2 years, welcoming the top UK Catamaran sailors back to the club for the iconic event, and kicking off this year’s Allen Endurance Series. Unlike most sailors who arrived at the event by road, the endurance started early for Martin Law and James Vandervord in their Hobie 21, sailing unsupported to the event on Friday morning from Minnis Bay, 16 miles down the coast! William Sunnucks was also taking the endurance aspect to the extreme, coming to Whitstable only days after arriving back from taking 5th place on an F18 in the 12-day Worrell 1000 race up the east coast of the USA!

After a morning of boat prep, the 12 entries took to the water for the Saturday afternoon shakedown race, on a large course around the buoys off Whitstable. The weather forecast, unfortunately, overpromised and underdelivered, with the race starting in very light winds. The Northerly wind continued to misbehave throughout the race, gusting up and dropping off, making tactics and wind spotting critical. The flat water favoured the Nacra F20 Carbons, with Grant Piggott and Jon Cotgreave beating the rest of the fleet comfortably in both elapsed and corrected time to take first place. The fleet and their guests were treated to a fish and chip supper, and a good night at the club bar, with a £50 bar voucher awarded to Grant and Jon for their race win kicking the evening off!

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Solo Midland Area South Staffs Open

Solo Dinghy racing at south staffs sailing club

I awoke wondering how I was going to feel, as I’d had my covid booster three days before, only because of my desire to compete in the Nations Cup, and head to France in June. Apart from the shoulders feeling like I’d been to the gym for a three-hour session and exhausted, the World was perfect.

So, with the overnight oats and brew consumed, I headed off to South Staffs nice and early, so nothing could go wrong, and help to welcome the travellers as they arrived. 

At 8.30, and a nice force 3 breeze wakening the senses, things were looking positive. Kev Hall, last year’s champion, was already there waiting for us to open the gates. And with a quick greeting, I headed off to unpack and assemble the boat, thinking that it was all there. Hmmm …… unfortunately not! No rudder, shrouds or sail, good start eh. They were in the motorhome back in Stoke, so a panicked drive back to Stoke ensued.   

On return Ian Ingram helped me put the boat together, (thank you Ian), and a mad dash to the changing room.

Severn local lads (missing our latest top gun Jonny Coats due to some pesky holiday) and twelve visitors headed out to the start line.

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