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Great Britain, Noble Marine Junior Championship OK Youth and Junior Championship 2012

South Staffs Sailing Club

13th October

Report by Bill Bradburn

Eighteen young sailors arrived at South Staffs SC to contest the Noble Marine Youth and Junior Championship on the 13th October 2012. Their experience ranged from very experienced OK helms, RYA youth squad sailors new to OKs and young club sailors who were experiencing the boat for the first time.

The conditions varied from nearly no wind to planing conditions which tested the abilities of all the competitors – it was very difficult to be consistent through all of the four races held and the standard of racing was very high with even the slowest sailors managing to stay within ten minutes of the leaders.

Two races were held before the lunch break and these produced two different winners – the first race was won by Adrian Walker from the home club who is the new Junior Rep. for the OK Class Association. He sailed through the top end of the fleet to build a comfortable lead by the finish – was he setting the pace for the rest of the day? Sam Blocksidge, another regular OK helm who has been winning GP14 meetings as well, sailed into second, having been given a hard time by George Hunter from Haversham. George is normally seen in a Topper and was lent a boat for the day – to come into this fleet with so little experience of this technically challenging boat and to produce such performances shows a considerable sailing talent especially as he was in the 16 and under age category.

Sam Woods from Glossop was fourth in the first race – he then set about showing the fleet how to do it in the second race with a resounding victory. Sam Blocksidge continued his very consistent performance to post another second, third was Ben Steel from South Staffs and fourth was Connie Hicklin from South Staffs – a change from crewing for Sam Blocksidge in his GP and helming anything else that floats at South Staffs!

At lunch there were a number of helms in the frame to win and a number who could contest the age groups. Mark Billows from Bristol Corinthian had a fifth in the first race and Ollie Goodhead seventh in the second race. George was scoring a 3 and 5 so was a strong contender.

The first race in the afternoon started with George rounding the first mark from Sam Blocksidge. Sam managed to ease in to the lead and then the rain came! With the rain came the wind, enough for some proper planning. This caught out some of the lighter and less experienced helms who were a bit slow to get the controls in order and handle the boat when it became a bit livelier. Sam Blocksidge consolidated his lead, Sam Woods pulled through to second Adrian Walker was third and George got his act back together in the breeze to hold fourth – the wind dropped and that was the finishing order. Ollie Goodhead, only 13 years of age, about seven stone and some of the lighter helms retired from that race. Connie Hicklin sailed through in fifth place still in medal contention for start of the last race.

The last race saw light wind again and the pressure was definitely on the leaders – a general recall ensued and the restart – with some competitors still not line shy with the black flag in place- was won by Megan Hicklin from South Staffs. However the order at the first mark was again George followed by Sam Blocksidge and Sam Thomson from South Staffs. The two Sams then set about racing away from the fleet in fine style building a substantial lead. Sam Thomson sailed very consistently behind Sam Blocksidge – not allowing him the luxury of any small mistake – but Blocksidge was Mr Consistent and won the race and the meeting with two wins and two seconds. Third was Adrian Walker and fourth was Eleanor Davies form the home club. A few competitors managed to get confused by the signals showing a mark had been moved and contrived to round a mark the wrong way.

Noble Marine sponsored the event through their continuing support for the OK Association and the prize list was further enhanced by the generosity of Pinnell and Bax.

The overall winner was Sam Blocksidge and prizes were awarded through the fleet for the age groups and ladies- recipients being Sam Woods, Adrian Walker, George Hunter, Connie Hicklin, Sam Thomson,Ollie Goodhead, and Mark Billows.

There was a raffle for a P&B rudder bag – for the trusting owners who lent their boats for the event – only two of the competitors actually sailed their own boats and some of them had very little OK experience if any at all. This was won by Tom Lonsdale from West Oxford SC.

The OOD awarded a spot prize for a younger helm with the least experience who made the best effort – this was won by Joe Hutchinson from South staffs.

Thank you Noble, without your help we would not have been able to run such a good event encouraging the future in the class, and we hope that we can count on your continued support of the OK Class in the UK.

PosNameClubR1R2R3 R4Notes
1 Sam BlocksidgeSouth Staffs 2211U21
2 Sam WoodsGlossop412DNFU21
3 Adriam WalkerSouth Staffs1633U21
4 George HunterHaversham354DNFU17
5 Connie HicklinSouth Staffs845DNFU19
6 Sam ThomsonSouth Staffs9DNF82U19
7 Eleanor DaviesSouth Staffs12974U19
8 Oliver GoodheadSouth Staffs107DNF5U17
9 Mark FlemingSouth Staffs789DNFU21
10 Ben SteelSouth Staffs63DNFDNCU21
11 Matt BatesSouth Staffs1113126U19
12 Moira ThresherWest Oxford1311108U21
13 Mark BillowsBristol Corintihian5DNF6DNFU21
14 Will HawkinsSouth Staffs1512117U17
15 Megan HicklinSouth Staffs1410DNF9U17
16 Emily HerridgeWest Oxford1614DNF10U21
17 Joe HutchinsonSouth Staffs1815DNFDNCU17
18 Robert MasseySouth Staffs17DNFDNFDNCU17