The fleet assembled for its first National Championship since Parkstone YC, Poole in 2019. Due to Covid and the location the fleet assembled 33 boats, including a good contingent of Classic boats. As before the class championships were sponsored by UK Global, our class fleet insurers in the UK.
Day 1 of racing
The forecast for the event favoured the light wind specialists, with Thursday being the windiest (and wettest) day. The courses for both races were 2 laps windward-leeward.
Racing commenced at 12:55pm with the wind coming from the south west with a variability of about 20 degrees. The committee boat unexpectedly showed no bearing to the windward mark, so the fleet had to decide on the way to windward with the fleet splitting between those choosing a middle course up to windward and those deciding to go hard left, which proved to be the correct decision.
The first boat to the windward mark was (4092) sailed by newcomer to the fleet Nigel Biggs from Budworth Sailing Club near Northwich. Nigel comes from a big boat background and his tidal understanding paid off. The second beat changed the positions around and at the finish Greg Wells and David Tulloch (4030) led from the Ian's - Pinnell and Cadwallader (4055) with current World Champions Graham Vials and Chris Turner (4071) in third place.
Race 2 started in similar conditions but the fleet was now over excited and had to be subjected to a General Recall. The second start was more acceptable but proved a bit messy in the middle order with much jockeying for clear air going away from the line. The tide had now turned and was starting to ebb quite fast and the wind played games and delivered some quieter moments when the larger crews had to hide inside the boat. Going left was still the right decision and the surprise first boat at the windward mark was Mike Preston and Chris Robinson from Blackpool and Fleetwood YC. The change in tidal conditions and wind strength conditions for lap 2 saw changes in position and by the end Graham Vials and Chris Turner had returned to winning ways followed by Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett from Draycote Water SC with the Ian's in third place.
Overnight positions were Vials/Turner first, the Ian's second and Wells/Tulloch third.
Day 2 of racing
Friday's forecast was for lighter winds from the North but no rain.
That proved to be half true; no rain but Force 4 - 5 winds from the North which in Helensburgh means over the hills and with 40-degree wind shifts, which proved to be a challenge for the whole fleet.
Race 3 was a 3 lap windward-leeward affair made interesting by a wind shift to port at the start making getting away from the line difficult for many boats. Those choosing a pin end start and tacking onto port ultimately benefited. The first windward mark was very busy as the fleet arrived ‘en masse’ and there were a few issues to be resolved between teams. The expert of shifty conditions, Steve Goacher and Tim Harper made the best of the race to win from Davy and Huett. Vials and turner took the third place.
Race 4 was the first with reaching legs, again 3 laps. The fleet was now used to the days conditions and made a better job of the approach to the windward mark with many of the leaders going hard left in the approach to the windward mark. The off-wind leg was characterised by bands of winds down the run, something that every race on day 2 had, so choice of the route downwind was crucial to maintaining position come the following beat. Race 4 ended up a win for Nathan Batchelor and Richard Rigg with Day/Huett and Vials/Turner taking the runner up slots.
The Race Officer took his time setting the course for the final race of the day before settling on a small 10-degree adjustment to post.
Graham Vials (R) & Chris Turner -
UK Flying 15 National Champions 2021
Race 5 (again with reaching legs, 3 laps) started with yet another wind shift occurring just after the start causing the fleet to change onto port tack for the first half of the beat before going for the windward mark. The wind was reaching its maximum at this time and all enjoyed brisk runs down to the leeward mark. The reach was not a challenge being set quite flat but still gave the opportunity for overtaking in the gusts downwind.
At the end of the race there were two teams way in front; Goacher/Harper and Vials/Turner with Steve Goacher just missing on the line honours.
No further racing was possible on Saturday or Sunday, due to the lack of a decent sailing breeze, so the final results stand as of Friday with five races completed.
Overall winners are Graham Vials and Chris Turner with 8 points, 2nd Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett on 11 points and 3rd Greg Wells and David Tulloch with 12 points.
Final Results after 5 races with 1 discard (Top 10 of 33 entries)
1st 4071 Graham Vials and Chris Turner – (3) 1 3 3 1 = 8 pts
2nd 3760 Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett – (8) 2 2 2 5 = 11 pts
3rd 4030 Greg Wells and David Tulloch – 1 (5) 4 4 3 = 12 pts
4th 4021 Steve Goacher and Tim Harper – 5 (13) 1 5 2 = 13 pts
5th 4055 Ian Pinnell and Ian Cadwalader – 2 3 (11) 6 7 = 18 pts
6th 3942 Nathan Batchelor and Richard Rigg – (18) 4 9 1 8 = 22 pts
7th 4087 Andy Tuncliffe and Kevan Gibb – 7 6 13 (19) 6 = 32 pts
8th 3641 Mike Preston and Chris Robinson – (17) 7 6 9 10 = 32 pts
9th 4004 Charles and Charlie Apthorp – 6 16 (29) 8 4 = 34 pts
10th 4092 Nigel Biggs and Peter Evans – 4 15 8 7 (16) = 34 pts
Full Results can be seen at https://www.halsail.com/Result/Public/54908
Report by Simon Thompson (4080)
Photo's courtesy of Neill Ross Photography.