UKWA National Championships: more than sailor attended the event

Last weekend the UKWA was again given a warm welcome by Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy. The Academy will be the host location for the 2012 Olympic Games and therefore already offers competitors and supporter outstanding facilities.

102 sailors turned out to race last weekend 1st/2nd & 3rd May for Round One of The UKWA National Championships, Cup 1 at Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy.

Saturday greeted competitors with clear skies and sunshine. Once registration had been completed and an early morning briefing held it was clear that we had good wind, 10 to 12 knots so Race officer Jay Williamson and his crews took to the water early and a course was soon set. New standard courses have been designated for the 2010 season which saw the introduction of gates on both sides of the course, additionally challenging competitors.

The race officer ran 2 round of racing for all fleets in the morning session, which proved to be very competitive and exciting despite the wind dropping to around 8 knots. After a short break, raceboard, techno & RS:X completed a further two rounds of racing. Formula sailors however were disappointed after sailing for 30 minutes to the start line to find the wind dropping off further and after waiting some time for it to fill in again the race officer had no option but to send them back to the beach, sailing upwind for the best part of an hour they returned tired and reluctantly accepting that this is the nature of their chosen class.

On Saturday night there was a committee meeting for some of the UKWA faithful, followed by the UKWA AGM which was well attended by members and many stayed on to chat in the bar and reflect on the days sailing and the future direction of the association.

Overnight there was very heavy rain and strong winds and early morning conditions did not improve much with low cloud and an extremely cold N / NE wind. However by race time things began to improve and no delays were expected. The local forecast was for 26 knots surly not an issue for a quality UKWA racing fleet. Race officer Jay set the same courses for all fleets as used so successfully on Saturday. The wind was fairly steady at 12 to 15 knots but quickly built to average 24 knots.

Two rounds of racing were held for all fleets, but many competitors returned to shore either sailing in unaided or taking advantage of the quite excellent rescue provided by the ‘UKWA Crews.’ However many others did complete the courses and racing was quite spectacular. After lunch conditions did dissipate slightly, the wind although still strong was more consistent and the steep chop of the morning session flattened to a more manageable size. Two more rounds were held for all raceboard fleets and an additional third race was held for the surprised but grateful formula fleet despite their exhaustion.

Sunday nights highlight was the ‘Welcome to the UKWA party’ held upstairs in ‘Spinnakers’ with those competitors with any energy left dancing the night away whilst enjoying the liquid refreshment!

Monday if anything was even colder, the temperature again was below 5 degrees and with the added wind chill still blowing 20+knots from the North/North East it was no surprise that not everyone was as keen as they should have been. The race officer wisly decided to race two fleets at a time to cut the time sailors had to hang around on the water and the only good thing about the wind direction was that the start and finish lines were close to the beach. The quite excellent wind gave the race crew chance to lay a big course using the majority of the sailable area in Portland Harbor. Formula and RS:X went first with two races back to back. Hot aches were the order of the day causing the usual cries of anguish and unequalled pain. Next went the Raceboards and Techno fleet. The quality of sailing was astounding across all the fleets. During the afternoon session the sequence was repeated. The final race of the day was the one to the hot showers, welcomed by all.

Once again this was an outstanding event, our sincere thanks to the race officer and his boat crew, all the rescue crews who had a busy and cold weekend, the volunteer support boat crews, the shore admin team, those who assisted to build the site and break down after the event, the amateur photographer and everyone else who helped out over the three days.

Finally a prize giving ceremony was held with the winners speech given by Richard Jones, Formula Fleet Winner. Richard made some gracious comments congratulating race officer Jay Williamson on a great weekend and thanking everyone else for their hard work. This is the price you pay for winning with the UKWA, next time it could be your turn!!

Particular thanks to Overboard, for the product prizes going to all fleets and to Tushingham / Starboard for the prizes awarded to the Techno fleet.

25 Raceboards

1st Dave Hackford
2nd Robert Kent
3rd Marc Carney


1st Unlimited Andy Mexome


22 RS:X

1st Jamie Ingram
2nd Connor Bainbridge
3rd George Bowles


36 Techno

1st 6.8 Robert York
2nd 6.8 Emma Labourne
3rd 6.8 Oliver Bradley Baker

1st 7.8 Kieran Martin (1st overall)
2nd 7.8 Stuart Hards (2nd overall)
3rd 7.8 Adam Purcell (3rd overall)


19 Formula

1st Rich Jones
2nd Liam Round
3rd Dave Coles


SOURCE: UKWA