Ovington Memorial Race and final open at Grafham Water
After Dave Ovington’s untimely death earlier this year, his family, friends and many sailors wanted the opportunity to celebrate the man and his life’s work.
Dave had an enormously positive impact on the World of sailing and
a race that allowed all classes to come to celebrate together seemed totally
appropriate. This celebration was not only for Dave’s boats but his amazing
spirit, epitomised by his bright warm smile, the un-missable feature of every
photograph of him.
A total of150 boats as varied as Ossie Stewarts Thames Rater and 18ft Skiffs to RS200s and Flying Fifteens arrived at Grafham Water on 5-6 November and were
rewarded with superb Autumn sailing, 12-15 knots of wind, flat water and
to boot not too chilly. Olympic Legends and enthusiastic youth mixed and
represented the depth and range of Dave and his boats appeal.
The weekend consisted of three races on the Saturday open to any boat while the open meeting continued on Sunday for the 9ers, B14s, Musto Skiffs and 14s. The main event of the weekend turned out to be the Saturday night party in celebration of Dave’s life, with DJ Gareth Edwards on the ones and twos. The bar was drunk dry, and some serious dancing took place (well a mixture of punk and moshing). The management attempted to shut-down the music at 12:30am but only to be hi-jacked by Simon Hiscocks, until the power was cut (but glad to say the bar remained open).
The fleets were split into two groups with the 18s 14s and 49er on one course and the 29ers. B14s, Musto Skiffs and handicap on the other.
Eighty plus boats made it out on Saturday morning to the medium fast race track and were greeted with a shifty 8-12knots. In the first race the 29ers dominated but the 59er sailed by Chris Turner and Kathryn Broom pulled out enough of a lead to keep the 29er of Dylan Fletcher and Rob Partridge behind, who were followed by 29er Sarah Martin and Nicola Groves.
In Race two the Musto Skiffs took the top three positions led by Ian Trotter then Richard Stenhouse and Graeme Oliver followed by the 29ers and the B14s. The last race of the day saw the 29er of Huw Humphries and Max Todd go on to win the race followed by Dylan and Rob then Phil Walker and Matt Gotrel, with Richard Stenhouse in the Musto coming in at fifth. Although not featuring in the results because of the unfavorable course the 20 B14s had some tight racing, A guest appearance from Chris Draper and H Brown didn’t deter from the close battle which resulted in Matt Searle/ Andy Ramus winning the day from Tim Fells/ Sean Dwyer followed by Nils Joliffe / Jon Branch
With such a collection of classes, overall it was constancy that won the day with most of the fleet having varied results due to the size of the fleet.
On the fast course it was just that, with eight 18′ Skiffs on the race track and nearly 50 49ers and Int 14s racing was lively. It was the 14s that filled most of the top places, a tight battle between old hands Robinson/ Elliot and Jones / Anderson ended up with Robinson just ahead. The 49er fleet saw a return from Paul Brotherton crewed by Alex Hopson. The team showed the new boys that they still had it and were first 49er by a clear margin. However it was the 18’Skif of Rob Dulson, Paul Constable and Alec McKinley that one the day. They also won the overall prize and the beautiful wooden trophy.
The wind picked up on Sunday morning and after the night before some of the sailors decided to stay ashore. The 49ers, 14s and B14 fleets managed one race before the conditions took their toll.
However, the 29ers managed to complete all three races over the course of the day. The first race, in winds of around 25 knots saw many of the fleet capsize, however, all but five boats finished the race which was won by Huw and Max with Dylan and Rob second and Phil and Matt third. The fleet went ashore until 1300 to wait for the wind to drop.
The second race in very shifty conditions between 8-12mph saw a real battle between the top three boats, with places changing throughout the race. An error by the National Champions Max and Hugh meant that Phil and Matt took first place. Second place went to Paul Turnill and Preston Taylor and third to Will Tremlow and Peter Perera.
By the time the third race started the wind was much lighter. There was a real battle for first place between Dylan and Rob and Phil and Matt, both aware that the winner of
this race would win the event. The inland champions Dylan and Rob showed their class and won the final race of the weekend.
The final places were Dylan Fletcher and Rob Partrdige 1st, Phil Walker and Matt Gotrel 2nd, Huw Humphries and Max Todd 3rd. This concluded the 29er Grand Prix Series of 2005 with winning results for North, South and overall dominated by Dylan Fletcher, former crew Nick Hollis and successful new teammate Rob Partridge.
With a few of the 49er fleet staying ashore it was left to heavy weather boys Richard Bone and Chris Rodway to show the fleet around. In what conditions that were bordering on marginal to say the least the battle for second place was eventually won by Dave Evans and Rick Peacock from Ian Martin and Ben McGrane. Overall though it was still Paul and Alex that had done enough on Saturday to win the open.
It was the same story in the International 14 fleet. With some of the teams ashore it was left to the father and son team of Andy and Tom Partington to fly the flag. But it was not enough to take the overall event away from Tim Robinson and Zeb Elliot.
With the big winds the bulk of the B14 fleet decided to call it a day as 14 of them were packing their boats off to Australia the following morning. Except for Mark Watts/Stig Rogers who decided to race with their spares and launched with six other boats. The sailing proved to be entertaining and Watts/Rogers showed good boat handling and led from the windward mark to win the race from Dick Roe crewed by stand-in crew Pete Nicholson followed by Bob (Ferrari) Clements/Alan Atterbury in Horizon Yachts.
After the race, all fleets were sent ashore to allow a weather front to pass. The B14 fleet on mass decided to call it a day with the only damage being one lost mainsail on a borrowed boat.
This meant that Fells/Dwyer were the new inlands champions by one point from Searle/Ramus.
This was the final event of the Musto Skiff UK Travellers circuit After Saturday’s mixed racing Sunday dawned with pretty rough conditions for all, and the weather wasn’t that great either. Only 12 skiffs made it to the start line in 20-25 knot conditions.
The weather, or the hangovers, took their toll round the race course with only five finishers. Richard Stenhouse taking the win, closely followed by Martin Goodlad, Dave Poston, Kit Stenhouse and Mark Addison.
The racing was then postponed until the afternoon. Although Richard, Martin and Dave thought it had been abandoned so stayed out for some excellent rides and to try and record a fastest speed for the Garmin Speed Freaks Competition. Much to Sten’s disappointment he only registered 21.3 knots.
Dave Poston led race 5 from the start and showed great speed to stay ahead of Stenhouse until the last tack before the line and was passed with yards to spare. Martin Goodlad finished third with Kit Stenhouse fourth. Race 6 again saw Poston charging off from the start line only to be passed by Richard. Kit Stenhouse was in a strong third place until she decided to impale herself on the committee boat and let Martin through to take third.