The third qualifier of the RYA Winter Match Racing Series saw skipper Ted Blowers and Team Absolute mastering a weekend of challenging conditions at Burnham-on-Crouch to take the win.
Seven teams duelled for honours in 707 keelboats at the Royal Corinthian Yacht Club, 18-19 March 2023, with medium to light winds and a strong tide making for some difficult calls for the sailors.
A dominant performance from Team Absolute, however, saw skipper Ted Blowers sailing with Hugh Ward, Rosie Watkins and Zak Bermon, demonstrating impressive event-winning consistency and losing only one race across the two days.
After two round robins, Blowers topped the leaderboard with 11 wins out of 12 matches, with Robby Boyd second and Ali Morrish third albeit on equal wins to Niamh Davies and Patrick Croghan.
The semi-finals saw Blowers win 2-0 from Davies, and Boyd 2-0 from Morrish.
Morrish and co then claimed third overall in the petit final, winning from local sailor Davies, who was fourth overall skippering at only her second-ever match racing event.
Blowers meanwhile dispatched Boyd 2-0 in the final. For Boyd, who usually races as part of Team Absolute, it was likewise only his second match racing event at the helm.
Also among the competitors was first timer David Nickalls racing with a team from Marconi SC, which is starting to put together its own match racing series using its fleet of SB20s, alongside its participation in the British Keelboat League.
At the prizegiving, winning skipper Ted Blowers thanked the Royal Corinthian YC and all the volunteers for running an enjoyable and smooth event and supporting British match racing.
Asked afterwards what had given his Team Absolute the winning edge, Ted said that strong tides and light winds had seen the venue live up to its tricky reputation: “We found that the time and distance element of the event was crucial to having the initial advantage, once we knew we could get that right, we would have the advantage throughout the race.
“We always knew with Burnham as well that there is a lot going on with river traffic, strong tides and the shifty breeze, so it’s an event where you need to have your head out of the boat more than ever to be a few steps ahead of the other boat.
“The RYA and RCYC did a fantastic job of getting the event completed given the forecast, so we would like to repeat our thanks to the race committee and the club. From my perspective, I would also like to thank my outstanding team of Hugh Ward, Rosie Watkins and Zak Bermon for their professional performance to make the boat go fast on the straights, and smooth round the corners, as well as managing tense 1 on 1 situations. Especially during a race where our main halyard clutch exploded, the team managed to somehow re-hoist the main on the upwind leg, then re-gain and hold the lead, which showed an immense team spirit to fight for the win.”
Find the full breakdown of results here.
Taking part in RYA Match Racing is easy with a fleet of one-design keelboats rigged and ready-to-go at each location. While popular with experienced teams, those who would like to give match racing a try are also encouraged to take part with a warm welcome and support at all of the events.
Next up in the winter series is the invitational Rory Cheetham Cup, which will be hosted by Exeter University SC and sailed in RS21s at London’s Queen Mary SC.
The RYA Summer Match Racing Series then kicks off with a return to the Royal Corinthian YC, Burnham on Crouch, 1-2 July, and the Harken Youth Match Racing Championships at Weymouth & Portland National Sailing Academy, 8-9 July 2023.
Find out more about RYA Match Racing and all upcoming events, including NOR and entry, at www.ryamatchracing.co.uk