Photos by Sarah Desjonqueres
Despite the weather throwing Spring, Summer and Autumn all in one go at the 73 boats contesting their National Championships at Highcliffe SC last weekend, the 55 Phantom and 18 Europe dinghies had a blast managing to squeeze in 7 well timed races between lulls in the stormy conditions ravaging our coastlines at the moment. Friday’s racing was not for the feint hearted, with the anemometer clocking a fleet flattening 42 knots an hour before the boats launched it was no great surprise that only 24 Phantoms and 10 Europes managed to finish the only race of the day which saw several boats towed in and countless gybe mark capsizes.
Saturday’s racing was a little kinder on our sailors, the first races managing to get away in sunshine providing a truly beautiful sight for the many spectators along the beaches and cliffs. With the capsize count down to a handful of sailors, virtually all that made the start line saw the finish line for all 4 races, with everyone managing to get back to the beach before the thunderstorm rolled in a drenched the barbeque waiting for them at the clubhouse.
Very wisely the Race Team brought forward Sunday’s start time to optimistically avoid the incoming F7-8 forecast to hit at midday and miraculously managed to get in 2 races before it became a mad dash for home as the promised winds were stretching very quickly across the bay and creating some very testing conditions for the last few boats still struggling to cross the finish line. Experienced local sailors Pete Bell (Europe) and Andy Rushworth (Europe) revelled in the wild weather, profiting from the swell and powerful gusts to surf their way to 7th and 6th places overall respectively. All in a very successful weekend, great racing, great sailing and great effort all round.
1st: Andy Couch (Leigh & Lowton SC)
2nd Harry Briddon (Ogston SC)
3rd Will Gulliver (Northampton SC)
1st Chris Gill (Portishead SC)
2nd Terry Curtis (Castle Cove)
3rd Richard Eagleton (Bexhill SC)