2020-2021 Allen 29er Grand Prix Series – Leo Wilkinson Write Up
The Allen Grand Prix Series 2020-21 kicked off at Weymouth in September- the first 29er event since January due to Covid-19. With the biggest turnout of the series, the 74 boats were split into two fleets for some windy and choppy conditions. Elodie Edwards and Ewan Wilson, and Tom Storey and Ben Willet dominated the first day and took first and second places, with Ben Mueller and Freddie Lonsdale in a close third.
GP2 was at WPNSA again with similar conditions. Day one ended with very tight results, the top 10 only split by 11 points. With shiftier conditions on the second day, consistency was key. Leo Wilkinson and Sam Jones took the win on countback from Elodie Edwards and Ewan Wilson. Emily Mueller and Louis Johnson rounded out the podium.
Allen Contender Open at Weston Sailing Club 13th June 2021
Weston Sailing club with its rich, creamy Contender history is always solid venue to bank some good racing. the local fleet are hard to beat in the fickle waters and trying to do so is enormous fun. The prospect of wall-to-wall sunshine would entice a few outsiders, but some usual suspects were scared off by the forecast of very light winds
Racing was due to start after midday and all were hoping for that most glorious of trump cards, a sea breeze, but to no avail. “Too far up the creek” was the summary from those who know, so off we went into a North West gradient of 1-8 knots with 20-30 degrees shifts.
Allen sponsored Contender open at Castle Cove Sailing Club
What % chance would you give the confluence of all the right factors coming together to make an epic open meeting, in this strangest of seasons?
A great venue, manageable restrictions, perfect wind, sun, and the hope of a beer on the terrace? Low odds, especially the wind bit, as so far this year every weekend has been all or nothing. So it was for the 2nd Allen headlined Contender TT of the year at Castle Cove. Forecasts predicted light breeze, but such is the clamour for competitive racing that 28 boats made a considerable investment in nothing but hope; One even came from Scotland to add to the finger crossing.
Early morning arrivals noted the no wind, mirror like finish to Portland harbour, but were compensated by the hospitality of Castle Cove welcoming party of volunteers. As racing closed in, the beginnings of a sea breeze looked possible in the glorious sunshine. The RO backed that up with staunch confidence in a good day’s racing that proved to be bang on.
By the time of the first starting signal, a happy 12 -14 Knot breeze had kicked in from the south but it’s desire to track to the right made start and beat strategies very simple; Close to the boat, go right in Garda like conditions.
The Allen Endurance Series (AES) will be returning for its 4th season, this time with the inclusion of an additional event, bigger prize fund and new website.
Launched in 2018 the series combines the UK’s premier long-distance events to give high-performance Catamaran and Skiff sailors a season-long series to compete for. Currently included are the Whitstable Forts, Solent Forts, East Coast Piers and Round Sheppey races. And for 2021 Allen has announced the inclusion of the Anglesey Offshore Dinghy Race. The series will now include two discards.
This year competitors will be able to track their overall AES position on the new Allen Endurance Series website. The new website allows competitors to easily find information for each of the events all in one place, including event documentation and registration links.
Allen will be providing an enticing £1000 worth of vouchers and merchandise throughout the five AES events, as well as, the overall series prizes of £500, £250 & £100 vouchers for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively.
The 2021 Finn World Masters is scheduled to take place in Medemblik over the 21-28th May with support from Allen, the UK based sailing hardware manufacturer.
Allen has had a long-lasting relationship with the class. In the past, the company has worked closely with some of the leading class manufacturers to design and produce many of the custom hull fittings, booms, tillers and other specific components you will find on the Finn dinghy.
Liz Adams, Managing Director of Allen, commented “The Finn really complements our range of hardware and to see Allen products on boats that will come from across the globe to take part is excellent. It’s great to be able to support such a healthy class and one that is full of the sport’s most well-known sailors.”
The British company has made a Finn fittings guide available on its website, all of the products in the list are manufactured at the Allen Factory in Essex. The company ensures all products are vigorously tested by its elite team of sponsored sailors and develops race leading equipment from their feedback.
Hadron H2 National Championship sponsored by Allen
The fourth Hadron H2 National Championships got underway at Royal Torbay YC on Friday (September 11th). The day dawned with little sun and little wind but after a short postponement the shifty WSW wind steadied somewhat and increased to over 5 knots and the first start was underway.
The fleet may be smaller than usual (you know why!) but the quality of the entries is very high, with any one of them capable of winning the event. Spectators’ attention, however, was on the potential tussle between Richard Leftley, current Inland Champion, and Ian Sanderson, National Champion for the last two years. Richard led Ian at the weather mark but the lighter helm clawed back the lead on the off wind legs. However, he was not alone – Ian Dawson (Warsash SC) and Robin Parsons (Deben YC) also passed Richard off wind. Ian Sanderson took the winning gun by about 15 seconds from Richard, who had improved his off wind speed in the latter half of the race. The rest of the fleet were not far behind, however, with new H2 owner Robin Parsons sailing his first Championship race in third place. Dave Barker (Draycote Water SC) came fourth.
The 2020 Hadron H2 National Championships are taking place next week, September 11th to 13th. Hosted by RYA Club of the Year, Royal Torbay YC, this promises to be THE event for H2s in 2020.
Due to COVID-19 issues no doubt, entries are down on the previous years but the quality of the entries suggests that this will be a very competitive event. Foremost among the contenders for the Harold Smith Championship Trophy will be Ian Sanderson (Keyhaven YC) who has won the previous two champs and came second in 2016 in his dark grey H2 ‘Shifty Fades Away’.
Vying to topple Ian from his pedestal will be a group of keen and very experienced helms. Richard Leftley, the H2 Class Association chairman and current Inland Champion, has been relentlessly putting in practice at his club (South Cerney SC) but he admits that while he is super-fit and going well inland, he lacks practice on the sea. Nonetheless, he must be regarded as the number one contender for Ian’s crown.
Close behind Richard (and with more sea sailing experience!) is Simon Hipkin. Simon, too, has been putting in a lot of practice – in waves – and in the heavier stuff he has been sailing on a par with the Phantoms at his home club so he could definitely swing it.
22 sailors took part in the first official Blaze event of the year, The East Coast Championships, on Sunday 23rd August at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club on the River Crouch.
Storm Ellen was blowing her socks off in the leading days to the event and so it was with much excitement that the 22 Blaze sailors launched from the RCYC pontoon when PRO Phil Aspinall announced racing would go ahead during the 10am socially distanced briefing in the dinghy park.
All sailors made their way down the River Crouch on a slack tide to the sailing area just passed the mouth of the River Roach. The westerly wind was gusting just over 20knts at points and the tide was scheduled to start flooding just before the first race, the locals recognised this meant some large choppy waves would be the highlight of the day.
Although it was the first event of the year the competitors did not hold back with the first start being general recalled. The race committee promptly started the next race under a black flag with 5 sailors then being OCS and the tone for the day being set with the rest of the starts under the U flag.
Allen Endurance Series 2020 launched at the RYA Dinghy Show 2020
Announced at the RYA Dinghy Show were the dates for the third season of the Allen Endurance Series, which now includes an additional event and prize fund for 2020.
Over £1000 worth of vouchers and other merch will be available throughout the 5 events, as well as, the overall series prizes of £500, £250 & £100 vouchers for 1st, 2nd and 3rd respectively. Competitors will also be in with the chance of winning a complete Catamaran mainsheet system worth £600, drawn at random, just by entering an AES Event. For each entry into an AES race, the competitor will receive an entry to the random draw.
After the launch, there was also a brief prize-giving for the 2019 overall winners, of which Simon Northrop and Caleb Cooper took first place and the £500 voucher. Simon commented “I would just like to thank Allen as the title sponsor of the Endurance Series. As Catamaran sailors this is the support we need and it’s very much appreciated. So, thanks to Allen and may 2020 be as good as 2019.”
A long-distance race which has evolved over its 24-year history into a well-balanced test of sailing and racing skills, attracting top national helms as well as experienced club racers and international entries. For 2020 the Saturday afternoon will feature a shake down race to the Forts and back – a single leg for boats with 1000 PY and below. For those boats of 1000+, there’ll be an inshore race. On the Sunday, laid out in hub and spoke format with each leg returning through a gate near the club, will be the Endurance Race. The full course covers 85 kilometers in estuary, coastal and open sea conditions, and provides racing at all points of sailing. The flexibility of this format differentiates the Forts Race from other marathon events.
The Solent Forts Race is a long-distance event for sports Catamarans and is set in the Eastern Solent, with Hayling Island and Portsmouth to the north and the Isle of Wight to the west. The race comprises several legs radiating out from a gate (like a star), allowing the course configuration and length to be adjusted according to the conditions prevailing on the day. The race gets its name from the Napoleonic Channel Forts that comprise two of the marks of the course. The race has a unique ‘time out’ feature that allows boats to take an optional 30-minute break during the race. This time may be used for a comfort break or for tactical purposes. Saturday also features a shake down race.
Open to fast dinghies and Catamarans, the East Coast Piers Race is a major charity event raising funds to support “The Cirdan Trust” to further support their important work with socially or physically disadvantaged children. The race is based at Marconi Sailing Club on the River Blackwater in Essex and goes all the way up the East Coast to Walton and back again. There are three course options available, the Bradwell Race – 13 miles long open to fast dinghies. The Colne Point Race – 27 miles long open to fast dinghies and Catamarans. And the Endurance Race, the full ECPR which is 48 miles long open to Catamarans only. Saturday Features a round the cans shake down race with an excellent party in the evening.
The Anglesey Offshore Dinghy & Catamaran Race is The North West’s premier offshore dinghy race, covering over 15 nautical miles around the South East coast of Anglesey. Frequent visitors include Olympic sailors, and past and present National Champions. The race starts on the Royal Anglesey start line at Beaumaris in the picturesque Menai Straits. Then through Puffin Sound and passing the rugged cliffs of Anglesey. After crossing the glorious sandy beaches of Red Wharf Bay, the fleet head for the famous Lifeboat station at Moelfre. The finish is at Red Wharf Bay Sailing Club at Traeth Bychan. Rated by Yachts and Yachting as one of the top events to compete in. For 2020 the event will also include a shake down race from the Royal Anglesey Yacht Club on the Saturday night followed by a social evening before the Endurance Race on Sunday.
IOS Round the Island Race is a long established, long distance event designed to test sailing skills and endurance over a 40-mile course. Sailed clockwise around the island of Sheppey, starting and finishing at IOS Sailing Club. The race includes tidal sea, river & estuary sailing. The event is the longest dinghy and board race in Europe —The race is open to all classes of dinghy, catamaran and sailboard and there is a shake down race on the Saturday.