Photo © Peter Newton / www.peternewton.zenfolio.com
Photo © Barney Smith
Weymouth proved to be a fantastic venue for the 2013 Impala Nationals, delivering close racing and a variety of challenging conditions that ranged from fog to 35 knots and hail. The 12 closely-matched Impalas travelled from Poole, Plymouth, the Solent and Chichester to take part.
Friday saw a four-hour coastal race, taking in most corners of Weymouth Bay, according to the GPS - but competitors were less sure as the visibility closed down to half a mile at times. Eventually the mist cleared to give some beautiful sailing conditions. Robbie Boalch's Imelda, here defending her 2012 championship win, narrowly beat Matt and Michelle Dodd's Fearnought over the line to win the race. Polly had a close battle with Poole boats Uproar and Happy to take 3rd. A rum-fuelled pontoon party, courtesy of Goacher Sails and Gap Communications, followed the racing in the bright sunshine.
Saturday's forecast was less pleasant, with winds starting at 18 knots and building to a peak of 30+ in mid afternoon. The first race was sailed in 12-18knots, and was won by Polly, with Imelda second and Fearnought 3rd. As the fleet approached the line for the second race, the breeze began to build and a rainstorm descended. Imelda made the best of the conditions and finished first, with Fearnought second and Happy third. Race three started in 22 knots, but shortly after the start rain and hail arrived in force, followed by gusts in the high twenties. A few boats braved kites on the first run, but as the wind speed increased to 35 knots near the leeward mark, by the second run it was white sails only. Magic led for much of the race, only relinquishing the lead to Fearnought in the final stages of the race. Imelda recovered from an Individual recall to take third, with Polly fourth.
After a bruising day on Saturday - aided by Weymouth SC's infamous party games in the clubhouse after racing - crews were looking forward to some more benign conditions on Sunday. The weather gods duly delivered some champagne sailing conditions.
A shifty breeze from between 240 and 265 degrees ensured there were big gains – and losses to be made. The first race, despite some confusion over the windward mark, had Imelda first, with Fearnought second and Magic, showing an impressive turn of speed in their first nationals, in third. The second race saw a big left shift right on the starting gun, which gave Magic a cracking start. On fine form, she led for much of the race, but couldn't quite hold off Fearnought, who took first. Magic was second, with Zulu third, Imelda fourth and Polly fifth.
At the end of the weekend, Robbie Boalch's Imelda has narrowly defended their win from 2012, finishing on equal points with Matt Dodd's Fearnought but edging ahead on countback. She also won the 'furthest travelled' trophy. The Meakins and Cudmores on Polly finished a point ahead of George Beevor and Olly Bewes' Magic to take third. Magic also won the Best Newcomer trophy for a fantastic performance in their first nationals with the boat. Barney Smith's Imptish won the prize for most spectacular incident after a crewmember was hospitalised with a dislocated knee on day one.
Thanks must go to Weymouth Sailing Club for hosting the event, and to the event's generous supporters - Raymarine, Force 4 Chandlery, Goacher Sails, North Sails, Banks Sails, One Sails and Dolphin Sails - who all kindly donated prizes for the event, as well as to Gap Communications and NIX Digital – we really appreciate the support. Thanks to all competitors, race organisers and sponsors for helping make the event so successful – we'll see you all next year!
If you finished in the top ten at the Impala 28 nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here
|Pos||Sail No||Boat Name||Helm||R1||R2||R3||R4||R5||R6||Pts|
|7||9519||Two Frank||Olly Love||‑10||7||6||7||4||10||34|
|10||9578||Curved Air|| ||11||10||‑12||8||7||7||43|
More details at www.impala28.co.uk and www.facebook.com/impala28