On the windy but clear day following the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, nine visitors joined 3 locals for the second Maidenhead Sailing Club’s Comet Open. This year in line with the Taplow Lake Open, that it replaced, the event was held in early May (well close to it) and there was no sign of the weed that forced a rescheduling of the race last year. The first race was started very promptly (as advised by the race officer Alan Banks) at 11.00 which caught some of the competitors still getting to the line (including your author). However, the race was dominated by an old class association member and former Junior Champion Robbie Hamilton in a borrowed boat, who lead from start to finish. He was followed after one lap by a Maidenhead SC junior, Ian Stone who remained in second for the next 4 laps. Brian Welham fought his way from last across the start line to 3rd place by lap 4, where he remained. It was good to see MSC helms in the first 3 places. It must be local knowledge! Clive Chapman was 2nd on the first lap but dropped to 6th by the end. After a good lunch the second race began with the wind increasing to about 18 mph with gusts of 25 plus. However, Robbie Hamilton was not able to continue the event due to domestic obligations. This race was controlled by Ian Stone who lead from start to finish but this time was under pressure from Clive Chapman who moved from 4th on lap 1 to second by lap 4. Maidenhead SC lake has a couple of “hidden island” that are marked by plastic withies and can normally be sailed across at this time of year. The lack of rain in the SE of the country meant that the shallow water extended outside the marks in a couple of places. Unfortunately both Henry Jaggers and Derek Coleman found these shallows and retired. Chris Robinson came through to 3rd with Michael Ettershank 4th and Ben Palmer 5th. The 3rd race was a little shorter but the wind continued to blow at the same force. Ian Stone with a 1st and a 2nd place could only be beaten if Clive Chapman won the race! Ian Stone remained in the lead at first then decided to take a route the “other side” of one of the islands that had in the earlier races often paid off or not been a loss. However, on this occasion Clive’s more “conventional” route took him passed Ian and into the lead. However, Ian overtook Clive but at the penultimate mark capsized at the gybe allowing Clive to pass and win the race and the event. Chris Robinson came through to 3rd holding off Ben Palmer and Michael Ettershank. Congratulations to Clive Chapman as this was his first Open win and can keep the Taplow Tankard for a year. It must be the location as Michael Ettershank won his first event at Maidenhead last year. Ian Stone was second and Chris Robinson, showing his heavy weather skills, was 3rd with 2 3rd places.
Comet Open 30th April 2011