All photos © Barney Smith
The finals of the National Team Racing Championships were sailed on 5/6 April at Spinnaker Club in Fireflies. All the top teams in the country were there with a good breeze both days and weather that varied from spring sunshine to heavy snow. The championship was decided in a total of 116 races and all teams sailed at least 15 races.
The teams were initially split into two leagues and sailed everyone in their league. The top seven teams were separated into a gold league with the others sailing in the silver league. By the end of Saturday the first gold and silver leagues had been completed and Spinnaker All Stars had won the gold league with no losses. This success was achieved with Rob Sherrington being crewed by his mother-in-law, Christine Hughes, for their last two races as Mel was feeling under the weather (‘He was very polite & just kept telling me not to fall out of the boat’ reported Christine). West Kirby Hawks were second with one loss followed by West Kirby 1 and Royal Thames.
Racing was postponed temporarily on Sunday morning as it was difficult to see across the lake in the snow. By 10.00am racing had started with another gold & silver league with Sheffield Old Boys promoted from the silver league. The same 4 teams ended up at the top of the gold league with West Kirby 1 having no losses, West Kirby Hawks and Royal Thames having two losses and Spinnaker All Stars (now with Sally Wakefield crewing for Rob) with three losses, just squeezing out Bristol University also with three losses on countback.
The semi finals were West Kirby 1 v Spinnaker & West Kirby Hawks v Royal Thames. Spinnaker and West Kirby Hawks both managed to dominate the starts in their semi-finals to each win 2 races to nil.
In the first race of the finals, West Kirby Hawks won the start & had 1 & 3 approaching mark 1. Ben Field of Hawks dipped Steve Tylecote on starboard. When Steve tried to slam dunk on him Ben luffed head to wind. Steve responded but touched Ben’s boat & took a spin. Hawks took a 1,2 lead which they held to the finish.
In Race 2 Dom Johnson of Hawks took the lead at Mark 1 but Spinnaker had a solid 2,3,4. On the run, Hawks got an overlap on the Spinnaker boat in 4th but the 3rd boat luffed the Hawks boat out to maintain 2,3,4 & Spinnaker held this to the finish.
The start of the fourth race was scrappy with both Ben Vines & Steve Tylecote tacking off on port off the line. The approach to Mark 1 decided the race with Spinnaker controlling the port & starboard lay lines & when Ben Field of Hawks had a rule 42 infringement on the planing reach, the title was decided in favour of Spinnaker All Stars.
Steve Tylecote in thanking the Club for running the event, said he hoped younger sailors aiming to excel at team racing would join Spinnaker Club to build new teams to take over from Spinnaker All Stars.
1nd Spinnaker All Stars
Steve Tylecote, Toby Lewis, Rob Sherrington, Mel Sherrington & Christine Hughes & Sally Wakefield, Ben Vines & Sophie Harrison
2st West Kirby Hawks
Dom Johnson, Debs Hill, Andy Cornah, Hamish Walker, Ben Field & Tom Foster
3rd= West Kirby 1
3rd= Royal Thames
5th Bristol University
7th Sheffield Old Boys
8th Hilbre Highlanders
9th Cambridge University
10th Durham University
11th Hamble River SC
12th Spinnaker Youth
13th Sevenoaks School