Mengeham Rythe 2015 UK Masters/Open Report, 3-4 May

17370122611_4440e8b2f1_zDespite a dismal forecast, a strong selection of 25 Finns arrived early at Mengeham on a grey and misty Sunday morning ready for the five races ahead. With wind set to reach 30 knots and poor visibility, the race officer decided to keep the fleet in the relative shelter of Chichester harbour rather than out in Hayling Bay. The poor conditions meant that the fleet were able to enjoy wide-open expanses of the harbour.

Race 1 got underway with the O flag flying as the wind approached 25 knots. Jack Arnell from Christchurch SC showed excellent pace throughout and had a convincing lead by the final round, only to lose count of the number of laps and failing to sail through the finish line.  This left Allen Burrell to take line honours with John Tremlett in second.  By the time Arnell realised his mistake and sailed back to the finish line, he had dropped back to 5th place.

With the breeze moderating slightly for the second race, Junior sailor Jack Arnell showed excellent downwind technique, polished from his recent training at the Valencia Finn Academy, to keep Tremlett behind him and made no mistake this time to claim first place.

16749230464_568a123ce7_zBy the third race, the wind had dropped to 12 knots and the tide was on the turn, requiring an adjustment to the tactics of the first two races.  Revelling in the conditions, the on-form Arnell again held the lead to take the race from Tremlett.

The following morning the fleet set out into Hayling Bay – the sun had come out but with it there was little breeze.  Fortunately, by the time the fleet arrived at the starting area, a gentle 8 knot southerly had set in allowing the racing to kick-off on time. The race officer opted for a windward leeward course for a quick turn around.

The fourth race favoured the pin end, and it was tightly packed at the start; Burrell and Robinson were squeezed out and forced to restart behind the rest of the fleet.  The lighter crews, who had struggled the day before, came to the fore. Race four was taken by National Champion Julian Smith and followed by another up-coming Junior sailor, Cameron Tweedle, who having only recently stepped into a Finn having outgrown the Laser, showed great light wind pace.

With the breeze increasing for race five, it was Arnell who yet again led the fleet to another win ahead of Tweedle.

17371496151_948a71a2a3_zBy the final race, the tide had become more of a factor and those with local knowledge tacked along the beach to cheat the tide before heading out to the windward mark, making excellent gains over the rest of the fleet. By the final lap, a 10 degree shift meant that those who had headed out on the port side of the course gained handsomely. Burrell read the conditions well to take line honours ahead of Smith.

All photos Credit Shawn Lambert.

A big thank you to all of the race team and members at Mengeham who made this such a superb event. A great weekend of really close racing and vital experience on the up-coming National Championship racetrack.

Overall Positions

UK Masters Champion – Allen Burrell

MRSC Open – Jack Arnell

First Classic – Simon Moss


1. John Tremlett

2 . Simon Percival

3. Steve Hayles

Grand Master

1. Allen Burrell

2. Julian Smith

3. Neil Robinson

Grand Grand Master

1. Ray New

2. Peter Blick


1. Graeme Macdonald

2. Howard Sellers

Latest Race Reports…

The Finn fleets have a very active racing programme at all levels from Olympic level though to the equally keenly fought Classic fleet. To read the latest regatta reports click the images below.