Supernova National Championship at Saundersfoot Sailing Club
Ian Morgan leads the fleet down wind at the Supernova National Championships
Photos © www.SailPics.co.uk
Cliff Milliner is the Supernova National Champion 2011
Cliff Milliner receiving the Supernova national champions trophy from class chairman Paul Earnshaw
EFG Private Bank sponsored Supernova National Championships
Sunday morning and all of the racing had finished for the extended weekend. Cliff Milliner from Cotswold SC is the EFG Private Bank sponsored 2011 Supernova National Champion. Lack of wind and the threat of lack of wind meant that all the 8 championship races were completed in two days with four races on the Friday and Saturday.
The class had learnt its lesson from last year at Llandudno when the wording of the sailing instructions meant that a perfectly good sailing day could not be extended by another race even though the following day was looking - and eventually was – not sailable. This year the SIs gave the flexibility to run more races on days if the scheduled full programme was in doubt. It worked.
So the practice race for Friday was canned in favour of trying to get four races in. The wind direction was variable to say the least, swinging by at least 180 degrees during the day and never really made it into the foothills of an F3.
Thirty-five boats came to the course area and races 1-2 were sailed on the class favourite inverted ‘P’ course, with all the rest of the races for the weekend on the traditional triangle-sausage. Race 1 saw at least three boats well OCS with over a minute to the start having mis-judged the start line, the start time or both. Young lightweight James Hopson in a borrowed Hartley MK1 (ex 648) was the 1st boat to the windward mark. These were conditions that clearly suited him. In the end though it was the “old guard”, of 2010 National Champion Richard Pakes that won through from class builder Mark Hartley with James in third.
It was clear the swinging wind was making it tricky to set small bias on the line and race 2 re-started under a black flag – one of a number for the weekend. Cliff Milliner got to the front quickly and won by a country mile. He was a huge distance ahead of Mike Gibson and Richard Hartley leading the charge for the Masters and Veterans respectively.
Race 3 saw the wind starting to fade away and the RO was again having difficulty setting a non-biased line as the wind continued to swing. Tony Critchley had a cracking start but the wind continued to fade and fade to barely anything. Then it looked good for those out to the left who were almost “reaching” in and then it didn’t! In fact, the wind suddenly filled in from behind leaving boats running into the 1st mark on different gybes! Chief beneficiaries in this lottery were Richard Pakes and Mark Hartley as they found themselves in the right place at the right time. Mike Gibson came in 3rd. After the race a number of boats headed for the shore but now the wind had settled as the cloud came over and it was the best sailing conditions of the day. So sailor power prevailed and out we sailed to do it again.
The start line for the re-start of race 4 - again starting under the black flag - reeked of trouble for some. So it was to be. Out went Mike Gibson, out went Cliff Milliner, out went Stuart Hopson and three others. This might be significant. It was Kerry Morgan who led the way to the distant windward mark with husband Ian in hot pursuit in the father-in-laws two tone boat. With the toe straps being touched for some for the first time Ian revelled in the conditions to take 1st from James Hopson and a good performance from Jeff Mountain finally finding form as the wind picked up to take 3rd.
So after day 1 it was all very much in the mix. Three winners and the other top 10 places being a right mash-up. Only Mark Hartley had four results in the top 10 and he lead after day 1. It would all look very different once the discards kicked in.
Sunday was bright and gorgeous with only the lightest of zephyrs allowing us to launch. With boats scattered around the picturesque bay it seemed only a few would ever make it out to the committee boat. However, eventually the wind just about settled, the fleet grouped and race 5 got under way in about an F2 on an Olympic course. These slightly powered up conditions once again saw Cliff Milliner winning from Ian Morgan and Mike Gibson.
For Race 6 the wind had swung some more and had settled. However, the course really only had only one track: head right and stay right. There were shifts but go right and stay right was more important. A feature of this and the following races was also the first noticeable effects of tide on the course – especially at the windward mark where there were plenty of last second bail outs and much in-effective pinching (inland sailors –huh!) in an attempt to lay the mark. Cliff Milliner once again took this one and Ian Morgan found himself outside the top 10 for the 3rd time in 6 races. Mike Gibson was 2nd had recovered from his DSQ in race 4 and was putting together some impressive results – could it be his year again? Stuart Hopson returned to form with a third.
With most of the fleet having rumbled the one-track course races 7 and 8 were basically clones of race 6. The wind having settled and it was a dash for the right hand side of the course that really counted. Plenty of boats left start late at the committee boat to shave the anchor line and head out right. Ian Morgan took race 7 from Cliff and it was now looking as if the championship was heading to one of them. Richard Hartley continued his excellent form with a 4th in race 6 and 7.
Race 8 started in the most breeze of the weekend with a good number of the fleet reaching for their toe straps briefly at some stage only for the wind to start easing as the race progressed. Ian Morgan had revelled in any sort of powered up wind all weekend and again took this race with the Hartley family Mark - who hadn’t being having the best of days- and Richard in 2nd and 3rd respectively
In the end it was consistency that counted. Ian won 3, Cliff one 3, Richard Pakes won 2. Tony Critchley who finished in 7th was the highest placed boat not taking a podium position.
The newly instated Hartley team prize for clubs entering three boats or more went to Haversham SC from Bolton SC by the narrowest of margins.
The top 3 Masters (over 50) were: Mike Gibson (4th), Tony Critchley (7th) and Paul Earnshaw (8th).
The top 3 Veterans (over 60) were: Richard Hartley (9th), Sam Hood (15th) and Phillip Davies (16th).
The top 2 ladies were Kerry Morgan (10th) and Helen Brittan (12th) who in particular had a good weekend and really found the conditions to her liking.
The top 4 boats were all Hartley MK1s (all using the latest Jeckell’s made Hartleys sail) showing that the MK1 is a match for the fabulous MK2 in flat water.
A huge thanks to Saundersfoot SC for getting all the races in during two, at times trying, days. They were great afloat and great onshore as always – the beer on Friday (gone by Saturday!) was superb as was the curry (with all the trimmings) on Saturday night. Saundersfoot is definitely a Supernova friendly venue! The class has now been there a number of times and will undoubtedly be back there again soon.
Thanks also in particular to Steve Hawley who although he could not sail through injury travelled down and – helped out both days on the committee boat giving invaluable advice on how the fleet would be behaving.
Finally, it was good to see class designer and original builder Mark Giles – now living in West Wales who put in an appearance on Saturday as we came ashore. Mark looking more healthy than ever – golf obviously suits him!
|2nd||704||Ian Morgan||Hill Head||-14||4||-12||1||2||11||1||1||20|
|3rd||100||James Hopson||Shotwick Lake||3||-11||5||2||5||-8||3||4||22|
|10th||598||Kerry Morgan||Hill Head||12||-15||-17||4||6||6||6||11||45|
|11th||1002||Stuart Hopson||Staunton Harold||8||12||(DNF)||(DNC)||15||3||10||7||55|
|16th||1028||Phillip Davies||Scammonden Water||-29||22||9||14||17||-25||9||17||88|
|17th||706||Mark Mason||West Oxfordshire||23||9||6||(DSQ)||23||13||-24||18||92|
|22nd||1018||Ian Casewell||Black Swan||-26||-30||23||22||16||17||13||21||112|
|23rd||1023||Chris Watts||Bough Beech||11||-29||24||(DSQ)||14||27||18||22||116|
|25th||621||Stephen Yates||Scammonden Water||24||25||-28||23||(DSQ)||18||21||20||131|
|26th||1014||David Everett||West Oxfordshre||28||24||30||12||(DSQ)||-31||25||15||134|
|30th||662||John Walpole||Exe Sailing Club||-30||26||18||26||28||28||-30||30||156|