The Flying 15 fleet have held their first ever World Championships
in France. This event attracted 72 entries from across the Flying 15
world with teams representing Australia, Belgium, Great Britain, Hong
Kong, Ireland and of course France itself.
The event was won for the third time in a row by the team of Graham
Vials and Chris Turner from Royal Lymington Yacht Club with 4 firsts, a
second and a sixth (with one discard) beating the nearest contenders
Jeremy Davy and Martin Huett from Draycote Water Sailing Club by 8
The first non-British team in 18th place was Philippa Packer and Dean
McAullay from the Royal Freshwater Bay Yacht Club in Perth, Western
Australia. Philippa was also the first female (and female helm) in the
The French home team dominated the Silver Fleet results with their
champion of the event being Christian Hardy and Thomas Camus of the
Yachting Club du Pays de Fontainbleau south of Paris.
The venue of Crozon Morgat on the Crozon Peninsula (which forms the
north shore of Douanenez Bay south of Brest) was chosen after the
original venue of Hyeres became unavailable. However competitors found
an excellent welcome in this small port town where everything was in
walking or cycling distance. This made for a lively post sailing
atmosphere every evening as competitors could be found in every
restaurant and bar. The event had been publicised extensively in the
local shops and tourist material, and all expressed a great satisfaction
with the event as a whole.
The warmth of the welcome extended to the event included a reception
hosted by the matriarch of the Peugeot family in their holiday “cottage”
in the village.
The sailing was held a short distance out of the Morgat harbour by a
well-run team from the local club and a Jury team from across Europe.
They soon had the measure of the fleet’s tendency to being early at the
start line and curbed the enthusiasm with regular I over Z or Black flag
The seas off Morgat, whilst being sheltered from the main effects of
the bay opening on to the Atlantic Ocean, had a tricky combination of
swell and wave which however gave excellent surfing conditions on days
when the breeze was strong.
Race day 1 on the Saturday was abandoned without the fleet setting
sail due to light winds. The next day saw improved conditions and the
fleet undertook two races with honours being shared equally between the
ultimate champions and runners up. The third day was again lost but this
time due to excessive wind. Day four saw still strong winds of F5+ with
gusts but the fleet set out to complete one race of a large course that
provided much material for discussion over a post-race cider and crepes
Day five arrived and the winds were this time a more reasonable F3-4
which gave the race office chance to catch up on the schedule by running
2 races to ensure that day 6 could be used to complete the final two
races and allow the Australian and Hong Kong teams the whole of the
following day to pack their containers.
Graham Vials and Chris Turner won the three races on days 4 and 5
putting them in an all but unassailable lead going into day 6. The
lighter wind conditions on day 6 saw a major change in results for many
of the competitors with new names at the front; Charles Apthorp and Alan
Green (Hayling Island SC/National Yacht Club, Dublin) winning the sixth
race and Crispin Read Wilson and Steve Brown (Parkstone Yacht Club)
winning the final race.
The prize giving was shared with the whole town, being held in the
main square. At the end of the prize giving there was a special moment
when Greg Wells, as outgoing Flying Fifteen International Commodore and
having served two 4 year terms, was presented with the class’s Uffa Fox
medal for exceptional service to the fleet by his successor Peter Rooke
from South of Perth Yacht Club, Australia.
(Photo copyright: Guy-Christophe Coppel)
For a full set of event photos and videos see our Photo Gallery and https://www.facebook.com/cncrozon