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Comet

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Comet Championships 2017

Over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend Burghfield SC hosted the Comet Championships, sponsored by Noble Marine, incorporating the Comet National Championships and the Inland Championships for the Comet Duo and Comet Trio.

Comet Class Association National Championships, Saturday 27th - Monday 29th May 2017 Sponsored by Noble Marine

There were twenty four entries for the Comet Nationals, sponsored by Noble Marine, at Burghfield Sailing Club over the bank holiday weekend, 27-29th May 2017. The first two days were held in conjunction with the Combined Comet Class Association Inland Championships for the Trios and Duos, also sponsored by Noble Marine. A ten race series was planned.
The first days racing was in wind gusting up to F4, which was stronger than expected. However, the Southerly breeze allowed the Race Officer, Ian Bullock, to set a trapezoid course with two beats, one for the Comet singlehander, and the other for the Trios and Duos. This ensured that the fleets did not mix. Gates were used instead of leeward marks, which provided additional tactical options. The singlehanders started first, which ensured the fleets were not too far apart at the finish, which minimised the wait between races.
In race one Eddie Pope was first to the windward mark, followed by Alan Bennett, while the leaders followed Eddie around the starboard gate. Boats further back tried the port gate, but there appeared to be no advantage to either side. Nigel Austin started to gain on the beat, but a capsize put him out of contention. Eddie gradually pulled away, and was never caught, while Chris Robinson caught Alan to take second.
As race one was rather short, an additional lap was added for the following races. Dave Harris was first to the windward mark, but he was caught on the following legs and there were several changes of lead. Dave had a near collision with Alan Bennett as he tried to exit the leeward gate on the port side, only to find his way blocked by Alan Bennett trying to exit to starboard. In the confusion Dave capsized, and this put him out of contention. Chris Robinson took the lead, and he was challenged by Chris Hatton on the third lap, and then by Alan on the final lap, but he kept the lead and won, with Alan second. The fleet returned to shore for lunch.
In race three Nigel was first to the top mark, followed by Ian Stone. However, Ian capsized on the run allowing Ben Palmer to move up into second. The wind had shifted, which resulted in the port side of the gate being favoured. However, this posed a dilemma for the competitors as this side required a gybe to exit the gate, while the starboard exit avoided the need to gybe in the windy conditions. Nigel and Ben pulled away from the rest of the fleet. Unfortunately they miscounted the number of laps, and sailed for the finish a lap early. This allowed Bob Dodds to take the lead, followed by Ian Stone, who had recovered well from his earlier capsize. Nigel and Ben realised their mistake and chased these two up the beat, catching Ian at the windward mark. However, they were unable to pass Bob, who held on to win, with Nigel second.
For the last race of the day, the wind had shifted slightly, which allowed the Race Officer to set a longer beat. However, the second beat was now shorter, so all fleets used the first beat, with the Trios starting first. Ian was clear ahead at mark one, and he began to pull away. Nigel also pulled clear, and began to catch Ian. A poor gybe by Ian at the gate allowed Nigel to get past, and he then kept the lead to win, with Ian second. Although the Race Officer thought about adding an additional race in anticipation of a lack of wind the following day, he decided that the competitors had had enough, and racing finished for the day.
At the end of day one Chris Robinson was leading, but by the thinnest of margins as Bob Dodds, who was in second place, was on equal points. However, with only six points separating the top eight places, the Championship was wide open.
The second day of racing started with no wind on the water and the postponement flag went up. Eventually an early lunch was called as the Race Officer was hopeful that the wind would fill in during the afternoon. The wind did not materialise, and the Race Officer’s optimism waned. However, some of the fleet were still keen, so the fleet launched at 14:45. However, by the time they were on the water, what wind there was had disappeared and the racing was abandoned for the day. The evening was taken up with the AGM and a roast beef dinner, during which a pleasant breeze picked up. The Race Officer brought the start time for the next day’s racing forward so that four races could be fitted in, which would recover two of the four lost races of day two.
The wind for the final days sailing was less than was hoped. However the wind direction had changed, which allowed the Race Officer to set a windward, leeward course the length of the lake. Chris Hatton led the fleet up the right hand side of the course, which avoided the islands. However, Alan went left and around the islands and this allowed him to catch Chris by the windward mark. These two pulled away from the rest of the fleet, but Chris was unable to catch Alan. The wind dropped, but then returned, which allowed the race to be completed.
A ninety degree wind shift before race six meant the course had to be reset. The Race Officer kept the windward/leeward configuration as it allowed the course to be adjusted rapidly, but moved to shorter laps. The race got underway, and Chris Hatton was ahead of Eddie at the first mark, with Alan not far behind. The wind dropped completely on the run, and as the fleet headed up the beat the Race Officer decided to shorten at the top mark. The wind filled in as the first three approached the finish, and there wasn’t much distance between, them. However, final places were unchanged.
There was a further postponement while the Race Officer waited for the wind to settle. After six races there were six different winners. Chris Hatton was leading Alan by two points, but there were four others within six points of Chris. In addition race seven would give an additional discard, and this would allow most of the others to discard a worse score than Chris.
Race seven started with an individual recall for Chris Robinson after he was pushed over the line. There were several boats very close at the front of the fleet for the first lap. They split into two groups as they passed each side of the leeward gate, and by the end of the second beat Chris Hatton was leading Eddie, followed by Bob. Eddie passed Chris on the run, but he miscounted the number laps, and started another beat instead of reaching to the finish. This allowed Chris to win, with Bob second, and Eddie third.
There was a further wait for the wind to settle, but by the time it did there was insufficient time for the Race Officer to set a course before the 2pm deadline set in the Sailing Instructions. Therefore, the racing was concluded with only seven of the ten races completed. Chris Hatton’s win in the final race gave him the Championship. Eddie’s error in that race cost him, as he had the same number of points as Bob, and count back failed to split them. The result of the last race was used, which gave Bob the runner up position.
Further back the Ladies prize was contested by Carol Butcher and Isla Macneal. Isla had a one point lead after the first day, but on the last day the positions were reversed by the end of race six, with Carol ahead of Isla by two points. In the final race both sailed a discard, which gave Carol the Ladies prize. The Newcomer prize was contested by Alan Hatton and Tim Higgs. Alan was ahead by two points after the first day, but his results on the final day put him well ahead at the end.


Comet Nationals Results


Photos by Sportography.tv



Comet 63

Combined Comet Class Association Inland Championships Saturday 27th - Sunday 28th May Sponsored by Noble Marine

A select band of Comet Trios and Comet Duos assembled at Burghfield Sailing Club on Saturday 27th May for the CCCA Inland Championships sponsored by Noble Marine. The event was staged in conjunction with the single handed Comet National Championships also sponsored by Noble Marine. With a good forecast of Southerly F4 winds both fleets were looking forward to some excellent racing under the control of Race Officer Ian Bullock.
With the single handers going off first onto the outer loop of the trapezoid course and the Trios and Duos sailing the inner loop, the racing started in seriously gusty conditions. As ever, the current Inland Trio Champions, Adrian and Tracie Padro, from Shustoke SC, picked the shifts and sailed off into a sizeable lead. They were followed by Steve Ashford and Martin Yeomans, from Whitefriars SC, but a mistake in the counting of the beats meant that they sailed the wrong course allowing Bob and Colette Horlock, from Exe SC through to take second place. With both the Duos being reefed and sailed single handed it was Nigel Ford from Olton Mere who led Stephen Linton from Hawley Lake round the first race.
The second race was similar to the first but this time Ashford made no mistake in counting and finished 2nd to the Padros with David Talbot and Anne Mayne from Hawley Lake in 3rd. In the Duos, Ford failed to finish leaving Linton to take line honours.
After a welcome lunch break, the wind increased but was more stable for races 3 and 4. The results stayed much the same with the Padros dominating race 3, Ashford in 2nd and the Horlocks in 3rd. In the Duos it was Linton’s turn to fail to make the finish leaving Ford to take the honours.
For the fourth race, the wind had shifted to the West leaving the outer leg of the trapezoid much shorter than the inner leg. So both the Trios and single handers sailed the inner loop with the single handers going second. For once the Horlocks sailed a decent first beat and lead round the windward mark only to capsize in a gybe near the bottom gate. Unsurprisingly the Padros sailed on to their fourth bullet with Ashford and Yeomans again in second and Talbot and Mayne third. With the Duos not sailing the 4th race and half the Trio fleet having capsized as well as many of the single handers, RO Ian Bullock wisely decided that the threatened 5th race was a step too far and both fleets retired to the clubhouse for AGMs and BBQs. Nigel Ford was crowned Comet Duo Inland Champion.
Sunday dawned virtually windless and so it remained with the Trio sailors calling off the waiting for wind after an early lunch. So the Padros retained their Trio Inland Trophy in some style with 4 bullets, second were Ashord and Yeomans with the Horlocks in 3rd.
Adrian thanked Ian Bullock for his skilful running of the racing and all the club volunteers who had helped make the Championships such a success. Many thanks to Noble Marine for their continued sponsorship.


Comet Duo Inland Championships Results

Comet Trio Inland Championships Results

Bob Horlock
Comet Trio 394



Previous Events

Comet Open Meeting Saturday 22nd April 2017

Burghfield’s Comet Open took place on Saturday 22nd April. Sixteen helms arrived to find a light, but variable wind. The varied in both strength and direction, with calm spots appearing and then disappearing across the water making it difficult for the Race Officer to set a good course. The event was shared with the Streakers and Solos, who started before the Comets.
In race one the gun failed at the start. This caused a little confusion, with those who knew the rules, i.e. the start is when the flags drop so the lack of a starting signal doesn’t invalidate the start, gaining over those who didn’t. Those at the pin end of the line appeared to get the best start, with a lift almost putting them on the layline to the windward mark. However, half way up the beat they were headed, and the lead boats from both sides of the course arrived at the windward mark at about the same time. Michael Ettershank was first at the windward mark, but on the run the wind began to fill in from behind allowing the fleet to gain on him. However, he got to the leeward mark before being engulfed, only to be caught on the following beat. Bob Dodds and Chris Hatton pulled away from the fleet and fought for first and second place, with Eddie Pope and Izac Dodds further back fighting for third and fourth. The final order was Bob, Chris, Izac, Eddie.
The second race was held immediately after race two. The fleet became becalmed at the first mark. Bob was first to round, and along with Eddie and Izac pulled away from the fleet. The wind filled in again, but they were too far ahead to ever be caught. It wasn’t easy for them though as they sailed into the back of the Streaker fleet. Eventually Eddie caught Bob to take first place, while Izac was third. Further back Henry Jaggers took fourth place.
The third and fourth races took place after lunch. The Race Officer increased the time between starts to try and prevent the fleets from mixing. However, in race three the Solos had a general recall, and started behind the Comets. They eventually caught the Comets and began to sail through them. A wind shift at the start saw a very biased line and first beat, with the leaders laying the first mark on port tack. Bob was first around again, followed by Eddie, Chris and John Coppenhall. These four pulled away on the run as the wind dropped. They fought for the lead, with Chris eventually winning, followed by Bob and Eddie, with John being caught by Izac at the end of the race.
The first three races had three different winners. Bob was leading, but could be caught by either Chris or Eddie, who were only two and three points behind.
In race four Dave Harris was first around the windward mark followed by Peter Hunter. On the run everyone except Michael left an intervening island to port. However, Dave headed for the wrong leeward mark and the rest of the fleet blindly followed. Michael on his own made no such mistake and he had chosen to pass the island on the best side, so this allowed him to take the lead. Although the fleet realised their mistake, and headed for the right mark, the confusion resulted in several changes of place, and Chris and Bob moved up into second and third. Michael’s lead was short lived, as Dave moved back into the lead followed by Chris. Dave’s lead didn’t last long either as he was caught by Chris who won, while Izac took second and Peter moved up to third.
Chris’s win in the last race allowed him to win the event. Bob and Eddie discarded the last race, so their relative positions were unchanged, with Bob taking second. Izac’s second place in the last race put him on equal points with Eddie, but Eddie’s win in race two ensured he retained his third place.

2017 Comet Open Results


Comet 63



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 23rd April 2016

Twelve Comets arrived at Burghfield’s Comet Open on 23rd April 2016 to find a rather cold day, but with a good strength breeze. The event was shared with the Streaker and Solo fleets. Race officer Ian Bullock set four short races, and as the wind was across the lake each lap consisted of two shorter beats with reaches and runs between.
The Solo start immediately before the Comet start had an individual recall. This encouraged the Comets to start cautiously. The pin end was the best end to start and Chris Robinson started here, but he crossed to the right hand side of the course to get to mark one first. He was followed by Chris Hatton and Michael Ettershank. The rest of the fleet who were closely bunched behind them. Chris H passed Chris R on the first run and Chris R was then caught by Michael on the second beat. However, on the final beat Michael chose not cover Chris R and when they came together Michael was unable to cross ahead and had to tack letting Chris R past. Hence the first three were Chris H, Chris R and Michael. Further back Peter Mountford pulled away from the pack of boats to take fourth place.
In race two the Committee Boat end was the favoured start and the starters from this end, Michael, Chris H, Chris R and Henry Jaggers were first around the windward mark in that order. Chris H overtook Michael on the run and as the four spread out is seemed unlikely there would be any further changes at the top. However, a squall came through at the start of the final lap and this changed the order throughout the fleet. Michael passed Chris H to take the lead while Henry was caught by Peter and John Coppenhall. On the last beat Henry, Peter and John were all very close and Henry was able to get past Peter and John to take back fourth place.
In race three the Committee boat end was favoured again. John Coppenhall pushed Chris H past the end of the line, but was too early and had to bear off. This allowed Michael to execute a perfect Committee boat end start, with the Race Officer confirming that he was dead on the line as the gun went. Not surprisingly Michael was first to the windward mark followed by Chris R. John and Annette Walter were not far behind. Chris H recovered from his poor start and came up into third place. At the end of the first beat of lap two the three leaders, Michael, Chris R and Chris H closed up and tacked onto the layline, one behind the other. However, they were headed and found they were unable to lay the mark. Chris H elected to put in an extra tack while Michael and Chris R hung on hoping for a lift. This duly arrived, but it came too late for Michael who clipped the mark as he rounded it. His 360 dropped him back into third. This gave Chris R the win followed by Chris H and Michael, with Peter further back in fourth place.
After three races Chris R, Chris H and Michael had taken all the top three spots in the three races. With one race win each whoever won the last race out of these three would win overall. Further back Peter was two points clear of John, but needed a better result than John to ensure that it stayed that way.
In race four Michael and Chris H elected for a Committee boat start while Chris R went for the pin end. This turned out to be the favoured end, and Chris R was the first to mark one followed by John who had also started at the pin. They were followed by Michael and Chris H. At the start of the second beat John and Chris H went right, while Chris R and Michael went left. The right hand side was paying off, so Chris R switched to the right, dropping behind Chris H as he did so, and only just ahead of John and Peter who had moved up into fifth. However, Michael carried on up the left hand side of the course, and eventually this paid off and he rounded the windward mark just behind Chris H who was leading. He subsequently passed Chris H to win the final race and overall. Chris H was second, which gave him second place overall too. Further back a sudden gust capsized a few boats as they came down the run. Although he stayed upright, Chris R lost control and this allowed Peter to get through into third. This ensured Peter would take fourth place overall.
The first three places were taken by the three oldest boats in the fleet which shows that Comets remain competitive despite their age.


2016 Comet Open Results


Comet 63



Comet Mino

Comet Open Meeting Saturday 25th April 2015

Six visitors joined two home boats for Burghfield’s Comet Open on Saturday 25th April. Although those travelling from the East had to drive through heavy rain, the weather at the club was dry, with a good breeze coming straight down the lake. This allowed the Race Officer to set a course with a long beat and run.
A few seconds before the first start the wind dropped, and this left the two local boats, Tim Higgs and Chris Robinson, stranded short of the line. As the wind began to fill in again some boats picked up the wind sooner than the others, and there were some big gains and losses made in the shifty and fickle wind. As a result half way up the first beat the fleet were widely spread apart. Michael Ettershank was first to the windward mark, with a gap to Henry Jaggers and John Coppenhall. At the beginning of lap two the wind finally steadied and picked up in strength. Ian Coppenhall and Chris took a different route through the islands to Henry and John and moved up to second and third place. However, Michael was too far in front to be caught, and there were no further changes in the top three. Further back Steve Gregory moved up to fourth place, but capsized on the final beat, allowing Henry into fourth.
In race two Ian got the best start. Michael broke away from the rest of the fleet, taking the right hand side of the first beat, but he made no impression on Ian’s lead and was only just ahead of the chasing pack of boats led by Steve. On the first run the wind dropped which left Ian with a commanding lead. Behind him the fleet spread right out across the width of the lake, and it was wide open as to who would be in the best wind and get through to second place. Initially it looked as if Henry would sail past on the right hand side, but in the end it was Steve on the extreme left, running by the lee on the opposite tack to the rest of the fleet, who sailed into second. On the second lap the wind got up again, and Michael and Chris moved up to second and third. They enjoyed some planning reaches on the runs, and with Ian clear ahead Michael took a flyer by sailing high over one of the islands, but he neither gained ground on Ian, nor got caught by Chris. There were no further changes in positions at the top, and this race Steve made no mistakes and kept fourth place.
After the first two races Ian and Michael had the first two placings, but being on equal points the last race would decide who was first and who was second, the highest placed of the two would win overall. They both started close together at the pin end of the line, with Ian having the slightly better start. However, with a wind shift at the last moment, this wasn’t the most favoured end, and other boats were ahead and kept them pinned against the bank. Ian broke free from the bunch first and was first to the mark with a short lead over Chris, who in turn had a short lead over Michael. Over the next lap the gaps reduced and Michael overtook Chris. On the final beat he began to close on Ian, but the race finished before he could catch him giving Ian first place in the last race and overall. Further back Henry held fourth place, which secured him fourth place overall.


2015 Comet Open Results


Comet 63



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 26th April 2014

Eleven Comet Sailors arrived at Burghfield SC with the weather forecast promising wind and showers.
In race one Ian Coppenhall started at the pin end of the line and crossed the fleet on port to take the lead. With two islands between the start and mark one the fleet were immediately faced with a decision on which side of the islands to pass, and the fleet split into two. Ian Coppenhall, sailing between the islands, was first to the windward mark, followed by Ian Stone, who had gone to the left of the course. The next few places were from sailors who had gone through the islands, and were led by Michael Ettershank who passed Ian Stone to take second place on the following leg. Ian Coppenhall extended his lead, while Michael dropped to third and Henry Jaggers, sailing his Xtra rig, consolidated his fourth position.
With the wind shifting in direction the course was changed for race two. The two Ians started at the pin end and took the lead, with Ian Stone leading. However, Ian Coppenhall eventually caught Ian Stone to win. Further back Chris Robinson, Henry and Michael fought for third place. On the last beat to the finish Chris was in third, covering Michael. However, they weren’t heading to the favoured end of the finish line. Henry, in fifth place, spotted this and tacked off and took third place.
In race three the two Ians started from the pin, and again took the lead, with Ian Stone leading. Ian Coppenhall tried to sail over Ian Stone on the first broad reach, but nearly death rolled, but in recovering, gybed and broached, giving Ian Stone a good lead. However, Ian Stone nearly capsized on the beat, and this slowed him down enough to allow Ian Coppenhall to get past to take his third win - winning overall with Ian Stone second overall. Further back Chris passed Michael to take third place in the race, and overall.

2014 Comet Open Results



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 27th April 2013

Eleven Comet sailors arrived at Burghfield Sailing Club on 27th April to find a rather cold day, with a pleasant, but shifty wind. Four races were held, with three to count. Ian Stone from Maidenhead won all four races, but behind him the racing was very close, with many place changes and four different helms taking second place.

In race one Michael Ettershank took second place from Chris Robinson on the final run by picking up the wind first when the fleet became becalmed. In race two Peter Mountfield looked to be in a safe second place, but clipped the wing mark allowing Chris through to take second.

In race three the two Xtra rigs, sailed by Henry Jaggers and John Sturgeon, sailed into the lead. At this point a windy squall, with rain that reduced the visibility, came through. Two boats retired, but the others sailed on. There were many changes in position as some helms struggled in the wind. However, as the squall passed and visibility improved, it was John Sturgeon who was in second place behind Ian.

There was more wind in the final race, and Ian and Chris vied for the lead for the first lap. Another squall came through when they were on the run, and Chris nose-dived and lost control, allowing Peter to take second place. With two third places from races two and three, this gave Peter second place overall. Third place was a three way tie between Chris, Michael and Ben Palmer, with Chris taking third place on count back.

2013 Comet Open Results



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 28th April 2012

Thirteen Comets arrived at Burghfield’s Comet Open to find a wet and cold day, but with plenty of wind. In the first race the Race Officer set a square line and a long beat, and as the fleet quickly spread out across the water it was not possible to see who was in the lead until everyone began to converge as they passed through the islands. At this stage Ian Stone had a narrow lead, but the race was to be characterised by many place changes, and by the first mark he had been caught by Ben Palmer and Peter Dalton. Ben was caught by Peter on the downwind legs, and then capsized at the gybe mark and fell back further. On the second beat Michael Ettershank sailed into contention, and eventually caught Peter to win.
In race two the favoured pin end was crowded and Ian Stone was pushed over the line. Bob Dodds got clear away from this end to take the lead, followed by Chris Robinson and Peter. As the distance between the three gradually increased no further changes in position seemed likely until Bob almost capsized, and then sailed to the wrong windward mark, letting Chris through to win. Ben caught Peter to take second.
In race three Chris led from the start, followed by Ian. By the start of the final beat to the finish Ian had caught Chris, and went on to win the race, while Chris had to contend with Bob and Peter who had caught up. A tacking duel developed between Chris and Bob, while Peter attempted to slip through on the far side of the beat. However, Chris held on to second place, which was sufficient to win the Open one point ahead of Ian.

2012 Comet Open Results



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 1st October 2011

Fifteen sailors arrived at Burghfield’s Comet Open on Saturday 1st October to find very little wind on the reservoir, but plenty of sun and the temperatures breaking the record for October. A wind change shortly before the start prompted the Race Officer to change the course at the last minute, but the line was still biased and the first beat turned into a close hauled sail to the first mark. Ian Stone took the lead followed by Ben Palmer and John Coppenhall. The second leg had turned into a long beat the length of the reservoir, and Ian Stone quickly pulled away, sailing into the tail end of the Solo fleet. Behind him John Windibank worked his way up to second place by the end of the beat. After a short reach, the fleet began the long run down the lake. Following the Solos, the fleet didn’t take the most direct route to the leeward mark. A couple of tailenders saw this, and took the shorter direct route, but failed to make up any distance. Starting the second lap John Windibank moved into a safe second position. Third place was fought over by Brian Weatherley, John Coppenhall, Ben Palmer and Carol Butcher, but by the end of the beat Brian Welham had got through. As the wind dropped the Race Officer shortened the course at the end of the run. Ian Stone and John Windibank took first and second places, but the rest of the fleet became becalmed in a bunch at the top of the run, and the race for third was wide open. This time the majority of the fleet took the shorter route through the islands. However, Carol Butcher and Henry Jaggers opted for the longer route, and as the wind finally filled in a little they pulled ahead to take third and fourth places respectively. The tailenders finally finished after two hours of racing.
Races two and three were sailed back to back, and the Race Officer opted for a shorter course at the far end of the reservoir, where there was more wind. Over the lunch the wind had filled in, providing a pleasant sail. Again the pin end was favoured, and Ian Stone starting on port from this end sailed straight into the lead followed by Brian Welham. These two pulled away from the boats behind that were led by John Coppenhall. At the end of the first lap Brian Welham got alongside Ian Stone at the leeward mark, but during lap two Ian Stone pulled away again and was never caught. John Coppenhall hung onto third, but was finally caught by Annette Walter and then Ben Palmer on the final beat to the finish.
A similar course was set for the final race. The majority of the fleet opted for the left side of the first beat led by Clive Chapman. However, Ian Stone initially went right. As he tacked back to the centre of the course he ended up behind Clive Chapman in second place, but by the first mark he had got past to take the lead, followed by Annette Walter. These two pulled away from the rest of the fleet, followed by John Windibank. Annette Walter caught Ian Stone to win, and this gave her second place overall behind Ian Stone, who had already won overall with his two firsts. John Windibank’s third place in the last race gave him third place overall.

2011 Comet Open Results



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 2nd October 2010

Eight visitors joined two home boats at Burghfield’s Comet Open on Saturday 2nd October. They were also joined by a lone Comet Trio who had assumed that the Comet Open would be for any Comet class! The rain of the previous day had cleared away, and the visitors had a pleasant drive in the morning sunshine. Unfortunately, they arrived at the club to find it covered in its own bank of fog, with only the marks nearest to the clubhouse visible. However, by the time of the briefing the sun had broken through and the mist had disappeared. As there was still no wind the Race Officer delayed the first race for half an hour. By this time there was some wind on the water, and a simple P shaped course was set with the start close to the club house. The Comet fleet started after the Finn and Solo classes, who were also having their Open meeting. As the fleet started up the windward leg the wind filled in a little, and John Coppenhall and Brian Welham reached the windward mark first only to run into the back of the Solo fleet on the downwind led. This allowed Henry Jaggers and Michael Ettershank to catch up and, by sailing around the outside of the Solos, build a substantial lead. John and Brian sailed close together for a while, but eventually Brian got ahead and began to catch the two leaders. However, he was too far behind to catch the leaders before the end of the race, even though on the last leg they slowed each other down vying for the lead. Henry was first, with Michael second and Brian third.
After lunch the wind had increased to a steady F2 and had changed direction, and was now blowing across the reservoir. Therefore, a different, longer course was set. John started from the pin end of the line and crossed the entire fleet before tacking and sailing up the left hand side of the course. However, for the first part of the beat the right hand side was favoured, and Michael was first to the windward mark, followed by Brian. Brian took the lead on the downwind leg, while Michael got caught by the chasing group of boats. Chris Robinson, sailing lower than the others, arrived at the furthest leeward mark in second place behind Brian. However, Brian then pulled away from Chris, who had to fend off John, who eventually sailed into second place. On the beat to the finish Michael Ettershank sailed from fifth place to third.
Race three was sailed immediately after race two. A slight change in wind direction resulted in a new course. This was shorter, and included two beats and two runs per lap. The start was biased in favour of the pin end, and John Sturgeon and John Coppenhall immediately sailed into first and second places respectively from this end of the line. Approaching the second windward mark the leaders were met with the tail end Solos running back down to the leeward mark. John Coppenhall threaded his way through them, while Chris and Brian, sailed around the outside of them. This proved to be quicker, and they both sailed past John. Chris sailed into second place, and initially John Sturgeon and Chris began to pull away. However, in the final lap Brian and John Coppenhall began to close again. On the final run there were only a few boats lengths between John Sturgeon in first, and Brain in third. Brian sailed past Chris and alongside John, but as John had water at the leeward mark he kept the lead. John Coppenhall also caught the three leaders, and rounded the leeward mark outside Chris in fourth place with a comfortable gap to the following group of boats. The final beat was one sided, and it looked as if it may be possible to cross the finish line without tacking. Chris kept on the same tack hoping for a lift to take him across the line. Instead he was headed half way up the beat, but not until he had sailed into second place. However, John Sturgeon could not be caught and took first place, which ensured Brian won the Open. If the remaining places remained unchanged, then the second place for Chris together with a fourth for John Coppenhall would be sufficient to give Chris third overall. John attempted to tack clear from Brian and Chris, but they kept him covered, which resulted in a tacking duel taking place. There was no change in position, so Chris took second place with Brian third. This gave Chris third place overall, while Michael’s earlier two results were sufficient to give him second place. Overall the racing was extremely close, with the top six helms taking one first or second place each, and with the winner only three points ahead of sixth place.

2010 Comet Open Results



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 3rd October 2009

Six competitors arrived at Burghfield’s Comet Open on Saturday 3rd October to find a strong wind blowing down the lake. The race officer claimed it was a force four, but when the Chairman’s boat was blown off its trolley it seemed that this was an underestimate, and so it proved. The wind soon claimed casualties, with only five boats daring to venture on to the water and only four making it to the start. By the second mark this had reduced to three boats.

The race officer, seeing the wind strength, changed the course just before the start to a simple triangle with a long beat the full length of the lake, a dead run starting in the lee of the club house and ending in a gybe out in the wind followed by a screaming reach across the lake to the leeward mark. Burghfield sailor Chris Robinson was first to the windward mark followed by Michael Ettershank who capsized on the run and retired. Chris capsized on the first gybe, but quickly recovered, so Clive Chapman, who successfully gybed, only caught up a little. As Chris continued to increase his lead Clive capsized, allowing John Coppenhall to get past to take second place.

In race two the race officer set another triangular course, but this time with a shorter beat. The wind dropped slightly after the start allowing for some closer racing. Chris was first to the windward mark, but on the two reaches Clive closed and took the lead near the leeward mark. The wind rose for a few minutes and then dropped back again, but not before Chris had got past Clive. Downwind on the second lap Clive again began to catch Chris, but this time Chris kept ahead. On the third lap the wind got up again, but this time it didn’t drop away. Chris began to pull away from Clive, but approaching the end of the downwind legs he broached and sailed the wrong side of the leeward mark leaving the way clear for Clive to take the lead. However, Clive capsized and by the time he had recovered Chris had long gone and John had almost caught up. This time however Clive kept ahead of John to take second place.

The third race had the same course as race two, but the wing mark was moved to give one broad reach followed by a much tighter reach to the leeward mark. Clive mistimed the start and then capsized sailing towards the line and subsequently retired. As the start gun went Chris nosedived sailing around the stern of the committee boat and was catapulted into the sail as the boat capsized leaving John to start on his own. Chris recovered from his capsize and began to give chase. John maintained his lead up the beat and the first reach, and both successfully gybed at the wing mark. However, the next reach proved problematic and the two struggled to keep the bow out of the water and the boat sailing down to the leeward mark. John capsized to windward trying to bear away to get round the mark and Chris ended up the wrong side of the buoy and had to wear round twice. Chris recovered quicker than John and took the lead. During lap two Chris began to pull away and John fell back further when he capsized at the start of the third beat. The wind increased making it difficult to make any progress to windward and the race officer took pity and shortened the course. Chris finished first, giving him a perfect score, and John finished second, giving him second place overall.

2009 Comet Open Results



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 17th May 2008

Ten competitors arrived at Burghfield’s Comet Open on the 17th May to find a pleasant 10 knots of wind from the north east allowing race officer Rob Prentice to set a long beat the length of the reservoir.

In the first race Stephen Lemmon was first to the windward mark. There were several place changes behind him in the shifty wind with John Coppenhall getting to the mark second. On the run Henry Jaggers came through to take the lead, but this was short lived as Lemmon regained the lead on the second beat. Lemmon stayed clear of Jaggers and Coppenhall looked to be in a safe third place. However, on the final beat to the finish Coppenhall took a different route through the islands and the gaps between the top three reduced. There were no place changes though and the top three finishers were Lemmon, Jaggers, Coppenhall.

In race two Lemmon was again first to the windward mark. He pulled away a little, giving him a comfortable lead which he maintained to the finish. The following group consisted of Coppenhall, Jaggers and Brian Welham. Welham subsequently dropped back to be challenged by Chris Robinson while Jaggers got past Coppenhall and into second place. On the penultimate lap Coppenhall again tried the different route through the islands. But this time it turned out to be disastrous as he dropped five places giving Welham third place. Robin Ballam gained several places over the last lap to take fourth place.

After two races Lemmon had already won overall but the lower places were still up for grabs with Jaggers currently in second, Welham in third and Coppenhall in fourth. The last race started with Jaggers in the lead. On the first reach the wind got up and the fleet planed down the offwind legs to the leeward mark. On the next beat Jaggers dropped back giving first place to Lemmon. He was challenged first by Coppenhall and then by Welham, but kept ahead and went on to make a clean sweep of three first places. As the wind dropped back to its previous level Welham kept his second place ahead of Coppenhall. This was not sufficient to beat Jaggers overall, but did keep him ahead of Coppenhall. Hence the final top four were Lemon, Jaggers, Welham, Coppenhall.


2008 Comet Open Results



Comet Association (Inland) Championships Saturday 19th May - Sunday 20th May 2007

Windy weather greeted the sailors on the first day of the Comet Association Championships at Burghfield Sailing Club on 19th and 20th May. Thirty two Comets entered. The wind was straight down the lake which allowed race officer Richard Goss to set a course with one long beat with no legs crossing each other.

In the first race two sailors opted for the smaller Mino rig, while a couple of others opted to reef. On the first beat the fleet split either side of one of the islands. Neither side appeared advantageous, although on subsequent laps the majority of the fleet left the island to starboard. Steve Lemmon got to the first mark clear ahead with Phil Hossell and Alan Bennett leading the pack of following boats. Steve Lemmon pulled away to win. Although challenged by others Phil Hossell and Alan Bennett stayed at the front of the pack. However, on the last beat Mark Wilkins came through to take second place from Alan Bennett while Phil Hossell fell back to fifth behind Burghfield sailor Chris Robinson.

Race two was held after lunch. Alan Bennett was first to the first mark followed closely by Steve Lemmon. However, Alan Bennett capsized on the run leaving Steve Lemmon clear ahead and he maintained this lead to the finish. Mark Wilkins initially led the following boats, but Steve Harvey sailing with the Xtra rig and Chris Robinson got past. During the latter part of the race the wind dropped slightly and this did not benefit the Xtra rig and Steve Harvey fell back. Simon Thompson got past Steve Harvey and almost caught Chris Robinson on the final beat.

Race three was held back to back after race two. Steve Lemmon, Simon Thompson and Alan Bennett were the first three around the first mark. Simon Thompson eventually got into the lead and began to pull away while Mark Wilkins got past Steve Lemmon and Alan Bennett to get into second place. On the last beat Simon Thompson suffered a catastrophic loss in boat speed, probably due to getting some weed caught on his board, and fell back into the middle of the fleet. This gave Mark Wilkins the win while Steve Lemmon was second to Alan Bennett’s third.

At the end of the first day Steve Lemmon (two firsts and a second) and Mark Wilkins (first, second and fourth) were the two favourites, although at least three others were in with a chance of winning if they put in two good results on the following day.

The competitors arrived on Sunday morning to find that the wind had swung 180 degrees and dropped away to nothing. By the time of the first race the wind had picked up a little so the race officer set a course using the whole lake with one long beat. Brian Welham was first to the windward mark with a good lead over Simon Thompson who in turn was clear of the rest of the fleet. Alan Bennett, Mark Wilkins and Neil MacDougall were at the front of the following pack. On the run back down the lake Brian Welham pulled away from Simon Thompson and Simon Thompson pulled away from the chasing boats. Alan Bennett also got clear of the fleet and as the wind dropped and shifted ninety degrees the front three sailed away leaving the rest to fight for fourth place. The finish was at the end of the long leg back up the lake and was sailed in almost no wind. The lead positions at the finish remained unchanged: Brian Welham, Simon Thompson and Alan Bennett. Meanwhile, further back Mark Coppenhall pulled clear of the rest to take fourth position. Mark Wilkins finished sixth and Steve Lemmon ninth which put them both with thirteen points if they failed to improve on their positions in the last race. Alan Bennett, who was only one point behind, was the other possible winner. Steve Lemmon was still the favourite as he had a ninth as a worse score compared to Mark Wilkins’s sixth and Alan Bennett’s fifth.

As the wind had yet to reappear a shorter triangular course was set. The race started in little wind, but this had dropped again by the time the fleet reached the first mark. Michael Thompson was first to the windward mark with Neil MacDougall right behind. Alan Bennett and Simon Thompson were a little further back. On the run down the lake the leading four bunched while the rest of the fleet picked up a little wind and began to close. However, at the leeward mark the four leaders got round without being caught. On the second lap Alan Bennett got to the windward mark first followed by Neil MacDougall. The course was shortened at the leeward mark so the fleet was now sailing for the finish. Again the chasing fleet picked up a little wind and began to catch the four leaders. Neil MacDougall overtook Alan Bennett to take first place with Alan Bennett second. The remaining boats sailed a lower course compared to the previous lap and found an island between them and the finish. The most direct route was to leave the island to starboard, but this involved sailing over shallows. Boats went both ways. Sailing over the shallows proved disastrous for Michael Thompson who ran aground, but this route was very profitable for John Coppenhall and Mark Coppenhall who overtook Simon Thompson to take third and fourth respectively. Behind Simon Thompson the boats bunched and over a third of the fleet crossed the finish line almost simultaneously making it impossible for the race officer to determine their finishing positions. Despite questioning the competitors on the finishing order and a thorough analysis of possible finishing sequences the race officer was unable to determine the finishing order for nine boats so they were all given ninth equal place.

Mark Wilkins and Steve Lemmon were among those given ninth, so Alan Bennett’s second place in the last race was sufficient to given him the championship. He achieved this with a string of consistent results, always finishing in the top five and also without a race win. In fact there were four different race winners for the five races. Steve Lemmon and Mark Wilkins tied on points, but Steve Lemmon’s two race wins to Mark Wilkins’s one gave him second place.

At the prize giving the Comet class presented a Comet class flag and a barometer to the club.



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 16th September 2006

Eleven boats entered Burghfield’s Comet Open. It was an overcast day with about five knots of wind.
In race one Mark Coppenhall went to the extreme left side of the beat and got to the windward mark first. Henry Jaggers challenged M. Coppenhall for the lead but finished second while Brian Welham recovered from a poor start to take third place.
In race two Jaggers was first to the windward mark, but M. Coppenhall got past Jaggers and went onto win the race and the Open. The rest of the fleet split either side of an island. John Coppenhall and Welham chose the best side and got clear away to take third and fourth places respectively.
In race three despite a poor start M. Coppenhall lead at the windward mark. Jaggers and Welham followed and all three exchanged positions until the last beat. Then M. Coppenhall pulled away to win. Jaggers beat Welham at the finish, but Chris Robinson reached the line ahead of them both to get second place.
Two of the Comets had the new Xtra rig and their results were scored separately. Stephen Harvey beat John Sturgeon in two of the races to win the Xtra prize.



Comet Open Meeting Saturday 15th October 2005

The weather was ideal for Burghfield’s comet open, with a fairly steady force three wind straight down the lake.

In the first race Ian Coppenhall was first to the first mark followed by Stephen Lemmon. These two pulled away from the fleet, but Lemmon was unable to overtake I. Coppenhall. Initially Brian Welham and John Coppenhall battled for third place, but they were overtaken by Nick Warren.

In race two Lemmon was first to the windward mark followed by J. Coppenhall and Peter Mountford. Lemmon pulled away to win, but the other two were caught by Welham and Henry Jaggers. However, on the last beat J. Coppenhall passed Jaggers to take third, and John Windibank took fourth place from Jaggers on the finish line.

Going into the last race the favourites to win were I. Coppenhall or Lemmon. However, Windibank was first to the first mark, with I. Coppenhall and Lemmon rounding the mark alongside each other. They quickly overtook Windibank. At the first leeward mark Lemmon became tangled up with a dinghy from another race, and this cost him two places. Although he pulled back to second place he was unable to catch I. Coppenhall.

2005 Comet Open Results


Comet 63






Created on 16/11/2006 03:05 PM by Ian Bullock
Updated on 08/06/2017 08:49 PM by Chris Robinson
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