The 2018 Ovington Inlands at Grafham were a game of two halves, with Saturday starting windy but getting windier, and Sunday being light and variable.  Roger Gilbert and Ben McGrane (9215) showed excellent speed across the whole wind range to become worthy Inland Champions.  The fleet of 9 boats was creditable given how many are in containers on the way to Australia, and racing was tight throughout.

Arriving in bright sunshine with around 15 kts of breeze blowing, Saturday looked to start well, and Grafham didn’t disappoint: the sailing just got more and more fun as the wind built during the four races scheduled.  First blood went to Martin and Adrian (8963), followed by Graeme and Richard (8905/sail 9177) with Roger and Ben in third.  In the second, Roger and Ben hit their stride and led Charlie/Dougal (9085), then Martin/Adrian.  Roger/Ben again won the third, recovering from a big shift on the first beat that had put Neil/Mike (8881) first at the first mark, with Graeme/Richard second by the end, and Alex/Laurence (9155) third.  However, after a lap of the 4th there were too many boats needing assistance across the different fleets in the now 30-knot breeze, and the race officer abandoned for the day.

Sunday morning dawned with less wind than forecast, but certainly enough to sail, although it died off further throughout the rest of the event: it was a day of picking the shifts and finding the gusts, both up and downwind – and at the start, as proven by Adam/Ben (8514) with a perfect port tack flier to get to the windward mark first in race 6.  Charlie/Dougal won the day, scoring 1/1/4/1, but it wasn’t enough to catch Roger/Ben 2/2/1/3, so they ended second overall.  Graeme and Richard consolidated their position to take a solid third overall.

With thanks to Grafham for hosting the event once again, and to Ovington Boats for their support.

Photos courtesy of Tim Olin Olin Marine Photography