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Unicorn Nationals at Stone Sailing Club

by John Wade 8 Aug 2003 08:08 BST 28 July to 1 August
The fleet line up before the Unicorn Nationals at Stone © John Wade

Stone Sailing Club played host to the 2003 Unicorn Nationals as part of the excellent Stone Week Regatta. The sailing was highly varied with winds from force 1 to force 7, courses around the club marks as well as Olympic and 'P' courses from a committee boat.

Veteran Bob Dorks made a flying port start in the first race, closely followed by William Dawson and Peter Toft. Dorks made the most of his local knowledge and held the lead throughout although he was chased hard to the line by Dawson. The afternoon race was in stronger winds and newcomer Glen Truswell led the fleet to the first mark followed by Dawson, Piper and Dorks. The lead changed numerous times but unfortunately Truswell suffered a failure on his carbon rig leaving Dawson to take line honours followed by Piper and Dorks.

In race 3 the first beat across a strong tide split the fleet and John Wade led around the first mark followed by Dawson and Piper. Dawson and Piper moved ahead but made an error on the second lap going for the wrong mark letting Wade back into the lead. Piper recovered quickly and regained the lead on the next lap which he held to the finish. Tony Welch had worked up through the fleet to take second place only to give it away to Wade on the finish line.

Race 4 started in a brisk force 5, a major windshift at the start giving port end flyers for Gary Piper and William Dawson. The winds strengthened to force 6 in the second lap leading to a capsize for Welch and a rig breakage for Dawson. Legrove made the most of the high winds which were gusting to over 30kts during the 3rd lap and he worked through to a strong second place behind Piper. Truswell took 3rd, the carbon rig working really well in the severe weather.

Thursday set an Olympic course in very light winds. Dawson took the lead from Piper, Toft and Wade. These four pulled away from the fleet however the fickle conditions hit as the lead group sailed into calm conditions at the wing mark. The tide carried the lead group down river while the rest of the fleet continued to sail up to the wing mark. The wind finally kicked in and Truswell took first followed by Dawson and Welch.

A force 3 was welcome for the afternoon race which was led by Dawson, Toft, Piper and Dorks. Dawson took the win while in spite of having to complete a penalty turn Piper gradually recovered to take 2nd from Toft.

The final race was in light winds and saw the lead change between Toft, Dawson and Truswell. While these battled it out, veteran Bob Higgins closed up on the group, passing Toft and closing to within half a boat length of Truswell at the finish. Dawson took the win.

Gary Piper took the title of National Champion 2003 by 2 points from William Dawson.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubPts
1Gary Piper1098Stokes Bay SC13
2William Dawson1091Stokes Bay SC15
3Bob Dorks1073Stone SC20
4Tony Welch1097Grapham Water SC27
5Peter Toft1074Stone SC28
6Glen Truswell1032Beaver SC29
7John Wade1086Castle Cove SC37
8Richard Taylor19Stokes Bay SC40
9Bob Higgins1089Stone SC45
10Stewart Legrove1072Stone SC47
11Paul Conway1021Stone SC69

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