The Aero Spring Championship 2021 was Island Barn's first major event of the year, coming only three weeks after the end of total club closure, and so a real test of all our systems and continuing safety measures.
The weather played ball, with a cloudless blue sky all day and a very shifty, brisk Force 3 - 4 wind from the east, a large, late, shift contributing to a rather biased start line on the last race.
The Championship was split into three classes: Aero 5 (14 boats), Aero 7 (22 boats), and Aero 9 (7 boats); 43 boats total - a great turn-out with a good number from the Solent area. Island Barn, the host club had 15 boats taking part. Each class had its own start separated in time by 6 minutes. We used two parallel, windward / leeward courses with common start and finish lines. Aero 5s and 9s raced on the outer course , with the big Aero 7 Class racing on the inner course. This worked well.
Aero 5 Race One was won by Dave Peaty from local cub Draycote, but he faded down the order with a 6,8,7, allowing Tom Ahlheid (Frensham Pond) to take races two and three, sealing an Aero 5 Class win with a last-race second. Jonathan Bailey from Hunts SC finished second overall with a closely contested first in the last race. Graham Tribeck (Hillhead) was consistent with a 5,5,4 score line, coming third overall.
The large and very competitive Aero 7 Class had no fewer than 5 boats starting prematurely on Race 1. Only 2 returned and so we had three OCS casualties. The Class behaved well for the rest of the day. The helmeted Simon Geyman from Datchet Water / Lymington Town won Race 1, but faded in the next three races to come third overall. Island Barn's Andy Wishart made up for his OCS in Race 1 with a consistently strong 4,2,3 scoreline to finish runner up to Tim Hire from Lymington who took first overall in the Aero 7s with a 2,2,1 score.
With the threat of stronger afternoon winds, the Aero 9 class was the smallest with 7 entries. Harry Moffatt's (Hunts SC ) sailing improved throughout to take 3rd place overall. Chris Hatton from Bowmoor SC must wonder what he has to do to win an event, because a brilliant 2,2,2,1 score was still not enough to beat Peter Barton's dominance in the 9s with three firsts and a second.
So our three Aero Spring Champions are
Aero 5 Tom Ahlheid Frensham Pond SC
Aero 7 Tim Hire Royal Lymington YC
Aero 9 Peter Barton Lymington Town SC
Mike Jones Race Officer
Highlights of the day (a full set of photographs are available here)