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U.K. 18 foot Skiff Nationals

by Peter Danby on 2 Oct 2000
UK 18 foot Skiff National Championship

The UK 18-foot Skiff season came to a spectacular conclusion on the second and final day of the national championship this afternoon. The Hayling Island Sailing Club race committee set a course in the entrance to Chichester Harbour, providing excellent viewing from the clubhouse and Sandy Point.

The use of the area was made possible by the fact that the first race of the day started towards the top of a spring tide, which provided adequate depth and broadened the Harbour entrance to give ample room for the windward/leeward course.
Even though the first race started in a good breeze at the top end of force 4, the strong incoming tide held the fleet well back from the line, but they were soon charging in the direction of the first windward mark. Victor Brellisford, James Fawcett and Dave Smith on 'White Stuff' holding off the overnight leaders Rob Greenhalgh, Peter Greenhalgh and Jonny Meers on 'RMW Marine'.

A small mistake on 'White Stuff' was enough to allow "RMW Marine' to take the lead and storm to another win as the wind strength began to increase.

'West Mersea Trailers', sailed today by James Campbell, Lee Child and Drum Sydenham were third, ahead of Harvey Hillary, James Grant and Matt Alvarado on 'Team Marlow'.

The second race began in more breeze, with the tide now slackened off a little, but the sea state was becoming a much more significant factor.

Once again, 'White Stuff' made a bee line for the windward mark, with 'RMW Marine' in hot pursuit, before they again took control and cruised to their fourth successive win, to give them the championship with a race to spare. The wind and water conditions were by now very spectacular, and capsizes began to come thick and fast. 'Pink Hammer', sailed by Micky Todd, Steve Goliker and Simon Farren took an excellent third place.

The final race was truly spectacular, and there was added spice when the jib clew fitting on 'RMW Marine' parted right on the starting line, with the new champions chasing the fleet after Jonny Meers had managed to knot the flogging sheets back on to the jib. Dave Ovington, Mo Gray and Martin Sellars were by this time very pleased that they were one of the teams to have chosen the small rig for 'Ovington Burgs', and they were revelling in the conditions.

The 'White Stuff' boys were again going very well, but the possibility of their first race win of the championship disappeared when they took a serious nosedive,
and the boat cartwheeled over the top of them.

'RMW Marine' was making rapid progress through the fleet, but their jib sheets again burst free, and, just when it seemed certain that 'Ovington Burgs' was going to take the win, things suddenly went all wrong for them, and they joined the swimming club. This allowed 'Dickies of Bangor' to take a well deserved race victory, which was all the sweeter for them as John Aikman had gone overboard in the previous race, and they had a hard time getting him back. 'West Mersea Trailers' came in second, quite a long way behind, with the rest of the fleet all limping back to the shore after numerous capsizes.
It was a rip-roaring end to a great championship, which had seen the Greenalghs and Jonny Meers put in a fantastic performance on 'RMW Marine' in the two long races in Hayling Bay yesterday and also the cut and thrust of today's short sharp dashes.