Post date: Sep 8, 2013 7:50:19 AM
The BSDRA Finals returned to West Kirby this year after many years at Bough Beech, and we were rewarded with two packed days of racing in good conditions. As Event Director and local Andy Cornah kept insisting, the sun always shines in West Kirby.
Thirteen British school teams were joined by Rutland Youth and a West Kirby junior side, as well as visitors Ransom Everglades, the latter coming all the way from Florida to compete at Itchenor the previous week and then, via Stone Henge, at West Kirby. An early start on Monday allowed the committee to fit in 96 races in the first stage – all teams having sailed 12 races already – before splitting into gold and silver leagues for Stage 2, and a further 20 or so races before finishing. The last teams off the water just had time to change before a superb BBQ in the promised West Kirby evening sun.
Tuesday brought showers and breeze, the race committee electing to go for cutdowns from the beginning of the day. The standard of boat handling remained high in tricky conditions, and the close ties from the end of the Stage 1 round-robin were reflected in closer racing on Tuesday morning. At the end of Stage 2 Winchester and Sevenoaks 2 made way for Rutland Youth and RGS Guildford, both teams then fighting their way up the gold league in Stage 3 to finish 5th and 6th respectively. Also notable in the gold league was the very composed West Kirby Junior team, capitalising on experience sailing in adult events at their home venue, and the Ipswich team who, relishing the breezy conditions, made the most of their boat speed to beat several strong sides. Visitors Ransom Everglades pulled out some bewitching boat-handling when it mattered along with consistent speed, and stuck in the top 4 throughout along with MCS 1 and 2 and Sevenoaks A. Tonbridge A recovered from a patch of bad form on Monday to storm to the top of the silver league in Stage 3, earning a one-race repecharge with Ransom Everglades for a spot in the semi-finals.
The Americans managed a 1,2 against Tonbridge A, leaving one semi-final between Sevenoaks A and MCS 2 with the other between Ransom Everglades and MCS 1. West Kirby delivered some extra wind and rain for excellent racing in both semis, with MCS 2 finding some extra luck to clinch it narrowly against Sevenoaks A 2-1, while MCS 1 came back from a loss in the first race to take theirs 2-1. In the subsequent petit-final Sevenoaks A beat Ransom Everglades 3-0, and in the final MCS 1 held MCS 2 to 3-0.
Particular thanks go to Event Director Andy Cornah, results and scheduling maestro Keith Sammons, and course manager Richard Cornah who did a heroic job of keeping the beats and the run true in awkward, shifty conditions. Thank you, too, to those teachers, coaches and volunteers without whom the event could not happen at all – especially to Gonzalo Crivello, bringing a team all the way from the US – and also to West Kirby Sailing Club and Commodore David Taylor. Finally, thank you to the amazing West Kirby Kitchen for keeping us all fed. Final results are below: