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The Tasar Nationals: Pasties, Proposals & Phenomenal Sailing

Photo Chris Bilkey

Those who ventured down to the stunning Cornish waters of St Austell bay this weekend to contest the 2017 Tasar National Championships, found themselves treated to some truly sublime sailing conditions and some highly competitive racing. With sponsors Rooster donating prizes, St Austell Ales furnishing the bar with barrels of their finest Tribute, Hawkins Motor Group providing the numbers and Vincent tractors, kindly driven by Paul Beacon, giving exhausted sailors that well needed tow up the slip way, all that was left to do was have a blast.

Porthpean SC, a delightful little club nestled on the cliffs above a sheltered beach sitting on the shores of a perfect sailing playground, was excited to welcome a fleet of 30 Tasars ready to come and do battle once more for the National Champion trophy. Representing 13 different clubs from up and down the country, not forgetting the Dutch contingent from over the water, the anticipation and enthusiasm was palpable as the rigging, tweaking, polishing and prep got underway for Day 1 on the water. List for perfect sailing?: clear blue skies: Check; sparkling blue sea: Check; Force 3-5 wind; Check; Big smiles everywhere: Check. Game on.

Photo Chris Bilkey - local James & Nigel Dowrick leading the pack

With a very dodgy looking forecast for Sunday, the Race Team, Ron Barrett, Mike Ward, Stuart Page and Colin Wainwright had taken the prescient decision to pop in an extra race for Day 1, just in case Day 3 fell apart; rather fortunate as it turns out. And so, with all the boats nudging for space on the shore, Beach Masters Jeremy & Jenson Turner issued the release and the eager boats shot off towards Gribben headland. Racing a reverse P course all 3 races got away cleanly, with relatively few shouts on the start line and beaming, happy faces lighting up the atmosphere right across the fleet.

The Committee Boat Team of Peter Pope, Jeremy Rowett and Ron Barrett laid a great course, the beats out to the windward mark were perfect, splitting the boats evenly and the reaches simply got better and better as the afternoon went on and the wind filled in and started whipping the top off the waves. With 3 different winners, Jeremy & Suzanne Hawkins, Steve Birbeck & Emma Barnett (Royal Torbay YC) and Tim Knight and Pete Bell (Royal Lymington YC) respectively for each race, the Championship was off to the perfect start.

Photo Chris Bilkey

So, list for perfect post race evening? Bunch of lovely people: Check; Brilliant galley team: Check; Beautiful location: Check; Plentiful libation (big thanks to Sponsor St Austell Ales for the barrels of their finest Tribute beer): Check. Porthpean SC Commodore reception welcomed its visitors in style laying on a fabulous buffet spread with enough variety to please even the pickiest of eaters and enough grub to satisfy the largest of appetites. Enormous thanks to the Team of Jenny Pope and Sue Rigby for all their time, effort and hard work laying on such a delicious end to day

Day 2 rolled in and contrary to the dire forecast of dull weather and no wind, we were handed yet another lovely day to play with. After full breakfasts served up by the galley team of Jenny March and Pat, the most important job of the day got underway, taking orders for the Pasty Boat! This totally genius idea is now an institution at Porthpean and quite frankly there is no better place to scoff a pasty than bobbing around in a boat off Charlestown harbour. Our order went straight in, thanks Christine Turner.

Again, faced with the prospect of Day 3 being a write off, the Race Team chose to add another race to the day’s schedule and all the boats launched by 11.30 for what turned out to be over 5 hours on the water. Never was the Pasty boat more appreciated as it delivered its fayre between races 1&2, however, going on in boat number 30 was something far, far more charming and heart warming. Choosing the fine destination of Cornish coastline and an inter-race pause in a National Sailing Championship, one Mr Rupert Stock of Lymington Town SC was down on one knee proposing to one Miss Steph Wall!! I am pleased to inform that she said YES! There is something magical about these waters.

Photo Chris Bilkey - Tasar National Champions Jeremy & Suzanne Hawkins in action

Aside from pasties, proposals and general racing heaven, the hard working Tasar fleet managed to gybe their whisker poles, hoist their daggerboards, slide their fairleads and tweak their rig tensions countless times over 4 highly competitive races, all started (cleanly) under a black flag until finally gliding back to shore at nearly 6 O’clock in the evening exhausted, fulfilled and ready for the BBQ and Tony Dunn’s Tin Can Alley waiting for them in the clubhouse.

Day 2 out on the water belonged to the locals however, with Jeremy and Suzanne Hawkins walking away with 3 wins and Stacey Bray and Steve Coello a win and 2 second place finishes. It was visitors Tim Knight & Pete Bell who bagged a 2nd place to add to their win from yesterday and Malcolm & Fiona Davies (Teign Corinithian SC) taking a 2nd and 3rd place and David & Fiona Sayce (Hayling Island SC) enjoying two 3rd place finishes. Adding to their previous tally and with enough races in hand for a couple of discards to apply, Team Hawkins entered day 3 with an unassailable lead, not bad for a couple who had spent most of the year off the water.

Porthpean SC yet again hit the spot with their evening food fest, many thanks to the BBQ team of Andrew and Jenny Kendall, Brian (nice bain marie Brian) and Sue Phillips, Jeremy Hawkins and Sharon Coello, the food were ‘ansome and just what 80 hungry bellies needed.

Day 2 wind - photo James Dowrick

Day 3 delivered just what the meteorologists had predicted, it was slow moving monsoon rain and floppy south easterlies which dragged an unwelcome swell onto the empty, sodden beach now only populated by 2 boogie boarders and the local seal playing in the surf.

In true Cornish style, we accepted our sailing lot, canned the last race and set about enjoying the prize giving with a freshly made scone in hand, jam first then clotted cream please, this is not Devon….

So it is with big congratulations then, that the Tasar National Championships for 2017 go to local Porthpean sailors Jeremy and Suzanne Hawkins, they led the way most of the races and won the trophy in style. Well done!

Photo Sarah Desjonqueres - our new Champions Jeremy and Suzanne Hawkins

Last but not least, a big thank you to the Commodore (and my super helm) Paddy Seyler, to Lionel Rigby and the whole of Porthpean SC organising committee and to UK Tasar Class Association for laying on the event and to all you wonderful competitors who made it all the way down to Cornwall and turned the event into a fantastic success.

Special awards:

Ladies Cup: Liz Pescod

Apprentice Cup: Luna Schutte

Apprentice Helm: Finn Hawkins

Club Team: Porthpean SC

Mid Fleet Prize: James & Nigel Dowrick

Full results below:

Link to Porthpean SC webmaster a.k.a Lionel Rigby’s blog about the event plus more photos

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