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Shadow Nationals at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Olly Harris 29 Sep 2008 17:24 BST 26-28 September 2008
20 teams for the Shadow nationals during 'Reg Fest 2008' at Brightlingsea © Tim Bees /

The Shadow Nationals took place on 26-28th September as part of “Reg Fest 2008”, with three of the cat classes that Reg White has produced gathered together at the home of cat sailing to help celebrate Reg’s retirement. A great turnout of 20 Shadows produced fantastic close racing and confirms the Shadow as the number one fast singlehanded cat class in the UK.

Friday provided perfect force 3-4 conditions with a big course out to sea- easy to see why this was the perfect area to develop the modern catamaran in the 1960s. Yves Loday lead from the start, chased by Olly Harris and Robin Leather. Yves broke his tiller before the last run, but still managed to win, having repaired it while blasting downwind only a little slower than normal! Race 2 saw the newer sailors getting to grips with the boat and a lot of place changing right through the fleet. Yves capsized, letting Laurie Gustar and Tim Swinburn fight for the lead. The choice between inshore or offshore was tricky in the strong tide and Carl Blenkinsop got it right, appearing at the finish to take the race and Ian Cuthberton also having a great race in 4th. Race 3 was the windiest, with Yves back in the lead, Olly 2nd and Robin Leather 3rd plus a tight race mid fleet and a lot of very fast downwind battles going on.

Friday evening featured Bob Fisher presenting the story of Reg’s sailing career, and the surprise appearance of his 1976 Gold Medal winning crew John Osborne, making it three gold medallists present. Race 4 on Saturday started in a light sea breeze which gradually strengthened. These conditions produced very close racing right through the fleet with Laurie beating Olly for 2nd place and David Brief going very well in 4th. In Race 5, Yves capsized again, earning him the prize for most capsizes, but was up in a flash and past leader Robin by the second lap. This time, Dave Lowe found more speed to come 3rd, with a number of “photo finishes” further back. At the start of Race 6, a number of boats were OCS and the windier conditions saw the familiar order of Yves then Olly, but with Carl and Ian Smith up in 3rd and 4th places. From first to last, the gaps between boats were very small, showing the appeal of strict one design racing.

Saturday night featured an amazing live band sponsored by Towergate Mardon, including a guest appearance on lead guitar and vocals from new Shadow sailor Dermot Mangan. Sunday was very light and shifty, with only one race in which the lead changed between Yves and Olly with Carl and Laurie close behind. Carl hit the final gate mark, but did his turn and still held onto 3rd place, securing 3rd overall on equal points with Laurie.

Organisation and catering throughout the event was superb, including teas after racing sponsored by English Braids. Prizes were sponsored by Loday White and Hyde sails. This was a hugely successful and fun event, thanks to the efforts of Brightlingsea sailing club and the White family. The Shadows, Spitfires and Hurricanes look forward to getting together for other events and returning to Brightlingsea in the future.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
1st76Yves LodayCN Le Pouliguew-1-10111115
2nd48Olly HarrisWeston SC2-723-42211
3rd44Carl BlenkinsopGurnard S.C714-9-133318
4th63Laurie GustarGurnard SC42(DSQ)26(OCS)418
5th56Robin LeatherGurnard S.C363-726-1320
6th66Tim SwinburnGrafham Water S.C537-115-8828
7th32Mike MartinGunard S.C-9566-77630
8th69Ian SmithRutland S.C6-145-13114733
9th29D BriefGrafham water S.C-151194145-1743
10th54Phil NealRutland S.C898-108-111043
11th12Dave LoweRutland S.C11-12128310-1644
12th26Ian CuthbertonIsland Y.C104(DNF)51215(DNC)46
13th59Jacques DevauxC N B Le Pouliguin12810-18-1912951
14th17Rob ForresterHighcliffe S.C-131311(OCS)9131157
15th18P TannerGurnard S.C16-1815-171017563
16th75Dermot ManganBlessington S.C14-161416-1791265
17th33Graham TomlinEastbourne soverign SC-19-17131215161470
18th67S. StannardDee S.C-171516151614-1876
19th31Chas BedfordI O S S C-18-19171418181582
20th2Bruce VigarHerne Bay Y.C20(DNF)(DNS)192019DNC99

Most capsizes: Yves Loday
Furthest travelled: Dermot Mangan (Ireland)
Most Improved: Paul Tanner

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