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National 12 Open at Henley Sailing Club

by Anya Camm on 20 Sep 17 September 2017
Henley Paddle Steamer in the background during the Henley National 12 Open © George Camm

In race number one there was a beating start and Meds & Dan Meadowcroft led off the start line. We were sailing in light conditions so it was more of a drift than a race. There was lots of place shifting round the bottom mark and again on the run. Graham Camm & Zoe Ballantyne pulled into the lead by sailing on the outside of the bend, travelling further but in more breeze. They went on to win.

Race number two got off to a busy start with one general recall and a postponement for a paddle streamer to pass through the fleet. On the third try the fleet got it right – finally! I would like to tell you that we set of with the wind in our sails – but I can't. What little wind we had was behind us so the fleet started on a run. The Meadowcrofts led the start but then Jon Ibbotson & Rachel Smith got breeze on the far shore and pulled into the lead. Then obviously they had to be overtaken by the boats in the middle of the fleet.

Graham Camm, sailing with daughter Anya, got wind on the port shore and rocketed into the lead closely followed by John & Bryony Thornton. But on the way back down the river the breeze went onto a run again. Then the wind filled in from behind so the fleet caught up with both the Camms and Thorntons. The wind carried the attacking boats forwards and they were carried by their momentum so the fleet was inverted with the Meadowcrofts taking the lead. The Thorntons continued to sail well and caught up with the Meadowcrofts again for a photo finish with the Thorntons clinching the win.

It bucketed down with rain at the start of the final race. The paddle steamer came back up the river but the race wasn't postponed again luckily. The wind died down again for the start. The Meadowcrofts led off the line again with the Camms hot on their heels. Steve Gent and Viv Roberts got a gust of wind and headed for the front, stopping the leaders from tacking for the buoy. But the Meadowcrofts did just squeeze around the windward mark which was very close to the start line.

Graham & Anya Camm sailed into the lead but as they headed up wind on the second lap disaster struck in the form of weed. They freed their rudder quickly but had lost valuable ground to the Thorntons now in second place.

There were two horn blasts and a lot of confusion. A dog had fallen overboard from a motor boat – luckily he had a doggy life jacket on. There was a great kerfuffle with the motor boat drifting sideways down the river, blocking many of the racers. There was also a lot of barking but the dog was finally reunited with his owners back on-board again. The Camms went on to win the race and the Henley Rose Bowl.

Overall Results:

1st Graham & Anya Camm + Zoe Ballantyne
2nd John & Bryony Thornton
3rd John & Dan Meadowcroft
1st Foiler, Steve Gent

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