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2004 European Championship Report

1st European Championship Report, Puerto Pollença, Mallorca - 2004

The 41 strong fleet head upwind at the Flying Fifteen Europeans at Puerto Pollenca,

Report by Sally McKee; Photos ©M. Acott

Forty one boats and crews arrived in Puerto Pollenca on the beautiful island of Mallorca for the inaugural

European Championship of the International Flying Fifteen. Travelling by land, sea and air competitors from all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand, gathered at the Reial Club Nautic de Puerto de Pollenca for the event held between the 9th and 14th May, 2004, to compete for the Uffa Fox Memorial Perpetual Trophy. Serious business started on Monday morning for the Practice Race! The breeze gradually filled in but it was light and fluky and some of us thought we could be in for a frustrating week! Jock Mawson and Ben Robinson launched their kite on the final beat!!!!! and crossed the line first in ‘Hayffever’. Tuesday. It isn’t like this normally! Overcast, there was wind, predicted to rise and it did. During the first race the wind built up gradually providing exhilarating reaches and testing beats as the wind swung. David & Sally McKee, GBR 3805, from Dovestone,U.K crossed the line first followed by John Lavery and David O’Brien, IRL3773, from the National YC. Eight boats later discovered that they were OCS.

More wind followed for the second race, with huge, steep waves coming square on a port tack at times crashing in to the cockpit. Amazing reaches, we were surfing the waves while trying not to sail down the mines. Some damage ensued, broken halyards and the like, and as the local fleet were not used to sailing in such conditions, it was mainly the British and Irish boats that took the top places with Charles and David Apthorp, GBR 3591, from Hayling Island, first and Tom Hall and Ian Barker, GBR 3725, from Northampton second. Thoroughly exhausted the McKees crossed the line fifth but recorded a third place, as another two boats were OCS. They ended the day on first overall.

Day Two arrived in the teeth of a gale! The race team took a long lunch and abandoned for the day shortly after three o’clock. It is never like this usually! Calm seas, and a postponement while the sea breeze fought with the land breeze delayed the start on Thursday until eventually the committee boat led us further out of the bay. During the first race the wind veered considerably and as the marks were moved those on the right of the beat took advantage of the increased pressure in the bands of wind. The Apthorps gained their second bullet and Eric Basset and Arnaud Biet, FRA3785 from Dinard finished second with Lavery and O’Brien third. With a little more pressure for the second race, right was good again but it paid to take the shifts. Nigel Tullet and Sam Rayner, GBR 3816, from Royal Windermere were at the front when the first three boats mistakenly went through the gate at the end of the reach, leaving the way open for the McKees to record another win on the score card! Justin Burke and Alan Green, IRL3688, came in second with the Apthorps third. The points were now very close at the top of the table with the Apthorps and the McKees level and all to play for on the final day!

A fantastic three course Regatta dinner with wine was served to over one hundred and twenty noisy people in the club that evening. All included in the entry fee! The evening finished with a film of some of the racing on the giant screen, all of which is to be available on DVD at a later date. The final day, Friday, brought ‘normal’ conditions, bright sunshine, good wind and a superb day on the water. Again the wind was shifty with lines of pressure, but the very efficient and professional race committee and crews ensured fair racing and although the black flag appeared for the first time it was not fallen foul of. Tullet and Rayner, GBR 3816, made good their mistake from the previous day and won the first race convincingly with Jeremy Davy and Andy Thompson, GBR 3760, second and local sailors, Javier Chacartegui and Joaquin Cobarro, ESP 3796, in third place. Going in to what was to be the last race, the Apthorps, finally discarding their OCS on Day 1, shot off the line and made sure of the title by winning for the third time with the McKees posting a sixth place in the final race to secure second overall

The prize giving was held outside by the pool in the sunshine. Prizes were awarded to the first boat from each country, the first classic, silver and youngest sailors, the furthest travelled, (Jeffrey Morrison and Graeme Robinson from New Zealand), and the furthest travelled with boat, (James Gerard and Jon McKencie from Scotland). The first three overall, Charles and David Apthorp from Hayling Island, David and Sally McKee from Dovestone SC and John Lavery and David O’Brien from National YC, Ireland, took home a variety of prizes including a motorised scooter each provided by one of the many sponsors. Nils Bluman, Commodore Flying Fifteen International, who had travelled from Western Australia with crew Ray Sebo, thanked the RCNPP for holding a fabulous inaugural European Championship.


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