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National 12 Burton Week at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Jeremy Carey on 1 Sep 2011 27-30 August 2011

58 National 12s descended on Brightlingsea Sailing club for their four day championship over the course of the bank holiday weekend and were greeted by warm sunshine and a fresh westerly wind.

Day one - Race 1

With two races planned for the day, the first race was scheduled for 2pm and so with a decent length sail to the start line the fleet was released at 1pm in bright sunshine and around 16knts of wind. Early arrival to the start area, Tom Stewart saw the race team working hard to set a course in some heavy wind shifts as small, but intense fronts passed over the race area. By the time the scheduled start time had arrived a course was set and the fleet got away without delay. rather surprisingly their was no general recall (a rarity for the first race of the 12 champs!) but instead all most all the fleet was well back from the line on the gun, hanging on the tide.

Tom Stewart and Rachel Williamson got clean away to lead the fleet up the first beat rounding the first mark clear of the rest of the pack. Close behind was a gaggle of DCBfs and John Meadowcroft in his Paradigm 2. The group set of down the reach of the triangle-sauage course, whilst behind the windward mark was enjoying some busy times as the remainder of the fleet rounded. Wind was varying in strength considerably throughout the race as the squalls came through and the fleet spread out as the benefits of strong wind on the reaches came to some. the course was large and a real test for the sailors taking nearly 1.5 hrs to complete. By the end of lap two Tom had lengthened his lead over the trailing group, but there was a big battle going on for second place between John & Katy, Steve & Joanne, Jon & Charl with Graham and Zoe close on their heels, with some very tense mark roundings, and lots of defensive tactics.

In the end Tom was the clear winner, Jon & Charl second, and John and Katy a very close third. As finished boats were waiting for the reminder of the fleet to complete the course, a heavy front swept through the course, bringing thunder and lighting and enough wind to capsize many of unsuspecting fleet. Unfortunately, this spelt the end of the days racing for Richard Williams as when he brought his boat back up his mast had suffered catastrophic failure on contact with the seabed and he was towed back to shore.

Day one - Race 2

There was a long postponement before race two as the RO struggled to set a course in the shifting wind. Eventually the conditions settled again and race two got underway cleanly. The wind was still varying in strength from F3-5 testing the competitors to the full. Once again Tom Stewart a Rachel, revelling in the conditions, made a break for it but this time under more pressure from the close fleet behind. As the fleet went round the windward mark onto the first reach, Nigel Playford suffered rudder problems as his latest T-foil incarnation was put under too much pressure, leading to his early retirement from the race. After a lap Tom rounded the windward mark again holding first , but still being heavily pressured by Graham, Steve, and John. Jon Ibbotson was in the mix too until 40m from the windward mark his mast gave up the ghost.

Tom Held his lead throughout the race and finished the day with two bullets. Meanwhile another Tom, this time youth sailor Tom Ballantine was making his presence felt in the fleet recording a 12th and 10th for the day putting him at the top of the non t-foiled boat standings.

Overall it was a long and testing first day for the fleet as the last boat off the water didnft hit the beach until around 7pm, the games for the evening being put on hold as it was getting dark! The club however, did continue with the planned BBQ which was welcomed by all after a long afternoon on the water, but especially by those who spent a fair bit of the evening, pooling their practical and technical skills together to fit and replace the two broken masts of the day and a foredeck which had come adrift from Chrisf Chapter, Ella.

Day two - Race 3

Day 2 started earlier for the fleet with the start of race 3 scheduled for 11am. The fleet was released at 10am again into a force 4 wind from the west and intermittent bright sunshine. On arriving in the start area the weather had greyed off a bit but the fleet were keen to get up to their normal competitive antics.

After two general recalls on a heavily starboard bias line the Black flag was raised. With the line reset, the fleet set off up the first beat, with Tom Stewart finding himself in a position he was rather enjoying- first to the mark. unfortunately,in his eagerness to maintain this accustomed position he had crept over the line early and sailed off the course at the windward mark to wait until race 4 He was not alone as Kevin Iles and Jane Wade joined him as spectators for the race, suffering a similar fate on the startline.. This left William Warren to lead the fleet in his newly acquired DCB, a position he held for the remainder of the race. As ever, not far behind, an intense battle was underway between the usual suspects, John & Katy Meadowcroft, Jon & Charl, Graham & Zoe and Steve & Joanne.

Whilst the group at the top stretched away there was plenty going on behind with First time entrant Peter Grey and experienced crew, Sophie Mackley in a T-folied Foolish taking 8th, Dave Peacock getting to grips with his developed Paradigm 2 and moving into a top 10 finish.and by the end of the race Andy Mckee(11th) had stretched past a still very fast Tom Ballantine (12th). the real mover of the day, however, was Nick Copsey who having had a 35th in race one the day before was holding a very steady 6th place in his freshly converted T-foil foolish, keeping the likes of Richard Williams behind him. On the final gybe mark he opted to place a good finish in the bag and tacked round in the swell, which though it cost him four places, enabled him to get a 10th and set a marker up for those who thought they were safe above him on the leader board!

At the end of the race it was a clear win for William and Toby, John & Katy fighting hard to take 2nd from Jon & Charl. Meanwhile, further down the fleet Geoff Camm and Amelia Hall were making their presence felt in the AC fleet recording a 25th, enough to keep them on top of that particular leader board.

Day two - Race 4

With the fun of the Startline being clearly tested in race three, the fleet were quickly put into sequence for race 4 and managed, this time to get a completely clean start, with nobody experiencing the frustrations of an OCS. this time it was Steve & Joanne Sallis who showed the fleet how to do it and having got a clean route up the first beat the were heavily in contention at the top mark.

John & Katy (sailing a Paradigm 2)were settling into a routine and were again fiercely competitive with the DCBfs recording their second 2nd place of the event proving the speed differential between the designs in marginal if not insignificant.

Behind the leading group was some very intense racing as the fleet headed toward the first windward mark rounding. Those coming in on port were suffering the rule book and though a few calls were made, none were quite as brave/determined or mad as Nigel Playford who twice tacked into the fleet on port to get round. Unfortunately on the second attempt he didnft make it a could be seen doing his turns meekly soon after having bounced between both mark and Tom Balantine. He was not alone as Mike and Alex Storey also became victims to the congestion and ended with a similar fate.

By the end of the race Steve Sallis had kept his pursuers at bay to gain his first bullet of the event, John Brown, who had been quietly shadowing the lead pack over all the races to date took first non foiler place (11th), Geoff Camm & Amelia Hall continued to lead the AC fleet with 24th and Brian Kitching & Thea Armstrong taking first Vintage boat with a 39th.

Post racing antics

With the fleet returning to the shore mid afternoon there was plenty of time for some for a fairly large scale assault on a local Indian Restaurant early in the evening (credit goes to the restaurant for coping with the unexpected influx of very hungry, jovial sailors!) before the onset of the evenings entertaining in the form of a local band and of course, the fancy dress party. With such a challenging topic the entrants for this were fewer than normally expected but the quality and effort that went into the outfits was trully exceptional- not to mention the diverse and eclectic interpretations of the theme f75Œ Did you know, for instance that this year is the 75th anniversary of penguin books? I didnft but I felt further educated once Kevin Iles and Jane Wade appeared on stage as a pair of Penguins!

The year 1975 was a popular entry with various glam rock interpretations appearing on stage in some, to be frank, quite scary attire. Did people really dress like that (I must be too young!). With five boats at the event, and various additional support crew, Team Burghfield put together a eClubf entry for the occasion with eseven swans a swimming... and... Five gold ringsf (swear itfs no where near Christmas) and though their entry caused many a laugh and a great deal of embarrassment for some of the group, it was to no avail for Tanya Copsey spent hours of her time before the event, very effectively dressing herself as a eNow thatfs what I call music CDf and took first prize! In the meantime the band put on a fantastic evening of assorted tracks which really got the participants going and for some kept them at venue and particularly the bar, until they were finally turfed out in the small hours.

Day three - Burton Cup

Forecasts for the week had been varied with most claiming wind to start with and then dropping off by the Tuesday. Some, may have wished in earnest for this to be true, for as the club awoke on Monday morning it was clear that this was not going to be a light wind Burton Cup. In fact, it turned out to be the windiest day of the championship , which in some ways is a blessing as it means the 13mile course can be completed quickly although also meant it was more than likely it was going to stretch and test peoplefs fitness and boat handling.

As the Fleet left the sheltered estuary from where they had launched and headed out into the relatively shallow waters of the racing area, the wave pitch increased and the wind rose to a steady F4-5. As the fleet hung around the start line waiting for the final marks to be laid, a few took the tough, though perhaps wise, decision to head for home rather than risk damage to themselves or their boats.

With the course set, the start was but a couple of minutes late, and with no black flag to intimidate, the fleet crossed the start line on the first attempt, though the individual recall was raised for some slightly over enthusiastic people keen to get on their way.

First boats hit the windward mark (1mile distant) in approximately 12mins, with Tom Stewart leading the pack and Will Warren in second, Jon Ibbotson, Graham Camm and John Meadowcroft close on their heels. The Mark was in reasonably sheltered waters and all the fleet was getting safely through though, Timn Gatti was knocked down early on the beat and was struggling to catch up, having filled is vintage boat to the brim and wishing he had brought a bigger bucket with him!As the fleet came across the top reach, Gavin Willis was the first to suffer a capsize as he got caught by an errant wave in the breeze. The gybe mark was a different matter, set in slightly deeper water and more open to the prevailing wind and tide, it became a mortuary for many on the first lap as it caught the unwary out with confused seas and bigger waves. As the number of capsizes escalated in direction proportion to finding a route through the carnage, it was those to took the wider safer line to survived more easily to continue on the next reach.

The boats picked themselves up off the water and headed down the next leg , looking back it was possible to see Jonathan Reubin in 443 (built in 1939!) largely submerged on the first reach. Suffering rudder pintle failure, he fell over, and on righting the boat punctured a buoyancy bag with the errant rudder- and so , rather prematurely ending his historic 75th anniversary Burton Cup attempt.

As the race went on there were various further retirements, some for gear failure and some to physical tiredness. Meanwhile back on the course the laps were of the course were being rapidly reduced as the leading boats screamed round the course making headway on catching the tail end racers. A battle was, as usual, raging for places slightly down the leader board though Tom had once again eaked out a safe lead from Steve Sallis who in turn was leading Will Warren. John Meadowcroft was working hard to hold his 4th place from Jon Ibbotson and Graham Camm and though he was doing it well, an errant gybe on the final lap dropping him in the water left him trying to catch up again with too little distance remaining. Further down the fleet,as you would expect, individual battles were happening on all legs of the course with personal victories being recorded on many occasions.

After a somewhat fast (sub 2 hours for the leaders) 13 mile race the finishers were coming through the line having made the final beat to the windward finishing line. Tom Stewart once again took the bullet for the special event with Steve Sallis 2nd, William Warren 3rd, Jon Ibbotson 4th. Of the non- foiled boats, Jon & Juliet Brown made it across the line first in 9th place, Anthony & Jo Gifford (3348) first in the AC fleet (15th) and day visitors Vince & Fiona Philips(2531) leading the Vintage fleet by coming in 30th. Unfortunately, three boats were not given a finish after their 13 mile marathon, having not notice that they were OCS at the start.

Watch a video of the Burton Trophy race, part 1 (leads to part 2)

Day four

Day 4 dawned bright but with very light breeze coming from the Northwest. With Tom Stewart standing six points clear of his nearest rival, Steve Sallis there was still all to play for in the final two races of the event. The Tally board was unveiled early to allow the fleet extra time to get to the start line so from 9.30am boats were heading out to ensure that they got to the start area in some for the 10.55 gun. With three hard days of full hiking having already completed there were a few happy grins from the lighter weight teams as the time for their advantage kicked in.

Day four - Race 6

On reaching the start area the race team had set a much smaller trapezoid course in expectation of the lighter winds and so it turned out to be in race 6. Sitting in was the order of the day as the fleet got off for the first time though there were a fair number of late starters due to being both OCS and shut out at the committee boat end of the line. Meanwhile, those that got over cleanly were being led to the windward mark by Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne whose fortunes had definitely changed in the lighter fickle conditions. From the windward mark, they led the race from start to finish with Steve Sallis at times, not far behind, but by the end they had a clear margin. with Tom & Rachel coming in third, Tomfs lead over Steve had been very marginally reduced for the final race of the event.

As these boats had raced ahead Dave Peacock showed excellent form and mastery of the conditions to take his third top ten place of the champs securing 6th. Another mover through the fleet was Mike & Alex Storey, though they were OCS and had to come back round an end of the start line, they still managed to fly through the fleet to secure a very commendable 18th. One wonders where they might have got to if they had been slightly less eager on the line! First time BW entrant Chris Rowland and more familiar George Rowland didnft do quite so well after their OCS and posted their worst result of the championship almost doubling their average score from before. there were a fair few others struggling with the lighter conditions and so another sigh of relief came for some as by the end of the race 6 the wind was starting to increase.

Day four - Race 7

Race seven saw the black flag out again for an over eager fleet and an RO keen to get the racing off in quick time. With the freshening wind still not as strong as previous days Graham and Zoe made another strong start on the short course to lead the fleet round the mark. Four laps were made of the course in brief time but with a short beat, tactical advantages were limited. Graham and Zoe came homne with a second bullet giving them a late charge up the leader board on the final results, Steve & Joanne Sallis secrued another second place, but with Tom Stewart and Rachel Williamson managing to hold onto third it was all in vain for Steve. Congratulations to Tom and Rachel who took the Silver National Trophy by a small margin of 2 points from Steve and Joanne with Grahma and Zoefs drive up the board securing them third place a further 4 points behind.

Overall it has been a fantastic championships this year, superb weather (if occasionally a little damp on day one), excellent organisation and support from Brightlingsea Sailing Club who ran the event professionalism and passion. A very big thank you on behalf of all the competitors and Committee and we hope we can come back a visit again in the future.

For further detail about the event and to access image galleries and video galleries please vist the event website.

Overall Results:

PossailnoboatHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Burton
Cup
R6R7Pts
13526Alice the CamelTom StewartRachel WilliamsonNorthampton SC11(OCS)313312
23531CatbertSteve SallisJoanne SallisHykeham SC43‑5122214
33530The Very Hungry CaterpillarGraham CammZoe BallantyneBurghfield SC524‑651118
43528Blue KangarooJon IbbotsonCharlotte StewartTBA2(DNF)3444623
53523Lightning StormJohn MeadowcroftKaty MeadowcroftUpper Thames SC3522‑77524
63519Dead Cat BounceWilliam WarrenToby LewisShoreham SC‑971538933
73527SnagglepussKevin IlesJane WadeThorpe Bay YC76(OCS)765435
83529Cat in the HatAndy McKeeClare HunterCastaways‑154118119750
93524Paradigm BusterDavid PeacockCharlie PeacockTrent Valley SC131399(OCS)61060
103441TabithaIan GoreAlex GoreUp River YC111271210‑17860
113512Alpha MalePeter greySophie MackleyShoreham SC8118‑1414111365
123450Carbon 12Richard WilliamsLindsey IlesShotley SC6(DNF)6108251772
133483TontoJon BrownJuliet BrownUpper Thames SC101413119‑201673
143431ZippyTom BallantineNicky BassSalcombe YC121012161614‑1880
153444Trick CyclistChris RowlandGeorge RowlandBurghfield SC1715141513‑281589
163537LolaMike HoyleZoe WhittakerRoyal Harwich YC16821(DNF)26101192
173491Electric PruneMike StoreyAlex StoreyIsland Barn SC21181513(OCS)181297
183513Silver LiningChristian DaySophie RichardsLeigh & Lowton SC‑28171720201227113
193477ClandestinoBruce JohnsonTbcRoyal Harwich YC149(DNF)DNC171614128
203427End GameNigel PlayfordHannah PLayfordCastaways22(DNF)1818183222130
213436DilbertAndrea RalphChris DownhamHayling Island SC202024252322(DNF)134
223533Rock LobsterMike DayAnne MurchSt Catherines sc181916282135(DNF)137
233521The Ginger PuddingDare BarryEmily GallRoyal Victoria YC23232027(DNS)2421138
243449Fatal AbstractionSteve AdsheadOllie KingSpinnaker SC25162719(DNF)3124142
253462Red SnapperMark SimpsonEmma SimpsonScaling Dam SC33221921(DNF)3419148
263467Nello and BooSam CurtisNed WoodcraftUp River SC36(DNF)3023221523149
273443The Full MontyHenry JohnsonHester PellingRoyal Harwich YC2428253219‑3331159
283502CarbonaraPatrick HamiltonJames GrummetBurwain SC342428312519‑36161
293423Texas FloodRebecca JohnsonLawrence WlakerRoyal Harwich YC2927‑3433242328164
303532F' in boatGavin WillisRosie WhiteBristol Corinthian SC19(DNF)2322OCS2720169
313538TBANick CopseyNaomi BiltonEly SC35(DNC)10DNC123026171
323344EllaChris FlewittEllen FlewittLocks SC‑38323137272634187
333458White HeatMartin ClarkeCathy WaiteHykeham SC303029‑35342935187
343401MokeyRichard BaileyJoe BaileyNorthampton SC37263230(OCS)3829192
353473Max FactorJon WhiteheadTbcRedesmere SC26(DNF)2217DNF21DNF202
363490JayseasNigel WhiteChris WhiteBurghfield SC32213329(DNF)DNC33206
373500Crazy DiamondJerry GarnerMargaret GarnerStour SC3931393429‑4138210
383414Piuma Al VentoGeoff CammAmelia HallPevensey Bay SC27252624(DNC)DNCDNC218
393468Pillow FightJohn CheethamAlisonYeadon SC312935(DNF)DNF3930222
403217Wendy WindblowsRichard BarrettTracey BarrettArdleigh SC403338363144(OCS)222
413514EliseJohn NixonSue NixonCarsington SC41(DNF)3726DNF3632230
423268Yellow SubmarineTom LeeHelen ChapmanBurghfield SC433544402840(OCS)230
432266TriardaHoward ChadwickKate McInnesYeadon SC‑45364043324542238
443434Red HerringJohn ChalkerTom ChalkerAldeburgh YC‑44343638DNE3737240
451657Just LuckyBrian KitchingThea ArmstrongFrampton on Severn SC46374339(DNF)4639250
463411EsmereldaGerald CopseyTanya CposeyEly SC42(DNC)DNCDNCDNC1325254
473412More a tart than a puddingChris TrothAnthony CopseyOlton Mere SC(DNF)DNF4241334340257
482335SaskiaTim GattiSeb GattiYeadon SC(DNF)DNF4542364844273
493236White KnightLuke LazellGraham LazellUp River YC(DNF)DNC46DNC354243282
502359ShotgunPaul TurnerChristine MarshallTrent Valley SC(DNF)DNF4144DNS4741289
51443CygnetJonathan ReubinFred LodgeArdleigh SC(DNC)DNC4745DNF4945302
523348Charlotte AnneAnthony GiffordJo GiffordRoyal Harwich YC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC15DNCDNC305
532531Invasion IIVince PhilipsFiona PhilipsYorkshire Ouse SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNC30DNCDNC320
543302JunkersAlan BeetonSylvia BeetonBurghfield SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNSDNCDNC348
553455BartGerry Ladger  (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNFDNCDNC348
563179GillespieJoshua TierneyKeith TierneyDabchicks SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC348
573337Nello and BooBen WoodcraftPaddy WoodcraftDabchick SC(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC348

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