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Javelin Nationals at the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht Club

by Brian Earl 6 Sep 2004 12:13 BST
Action from the 2004 Javelin nationals at Lowestoft © Cath Barrett

The 2004 Javelin Nationals was held over the August Bank holiday weekend at the Royal Norfolk & Suffolk Yacht club, Lowestoft with three races scheduled each day.

The first two races on Saturday were held in pleasant sunshine and a force 3 - 4 wind. Brian Dixon & Kathryn Smith were early leaders in their new boat, but Brian & David Earl slipped past on the second beat. The tide was significant at the wing mark, but places remained the same to the end, with Mike Pickles & Richard Fisher a close third. Richard Smith & Ed Dyson recovered to take fourth. The second race involved a close tussle with the same three boats, until Earl pulled away on the last round. Pickles beat Dixon with Ben Fisher fourth. The last race was abandoned as the wind dropped and tide increased.

Sunday forecast was SW 4 - 5, increasing 6. The first two races were held comfortably between the beach and the offshore bank. Paul Ross & John Wilkes timed their start perfectly on the pin biased line and powered into the lead. Smith, with their superior weight caught up at the windward mark, but then suffered off wind letting Earl through on the run. The rest of the race was nip & tuck with Earl just pipping Smith ahead of Ross & Dixon. Half way through the second race Ross, Smith & Earl were swapping places at the front, when Pickles spotted a 20° wind shift and came in 150m ahead of all three. However a broken tiller forced him to the beach for repair. This eventually cost him the Championship. Smith won from Earl, Ross and Gavin & Nick Johnson. After a long delay due to a wind shift onshore, rough seas and lack of water a starboard hand course was set near the beach. This was a short, but very exciting race, with short tacking along the beach to beat the strong tide. Earl just squeezed past Smith to take first. Johnson was third and Pickles recovered from a capsize to take fourth.

With Mondays forecast force 5 - 7 westerly there was a short delay to check conditions. Generally the wind was force 4, but some very black clouds heralded torrential rain at times and vicious squalls.

Despite returning for a premature start, Dixon did a long port tack and had a commanding lead at the windward mark, which he never lost. Near the beach under the cliff the wind was very shifty, resulting in many position changes. Eventually Ross finished second ahead of Pickles and Smith. The second race was notable for 10 minutes of monsoon rain near the end, which flattened the sea and severely cut visibility. Pickles finished well ahead of Smith, with Earl beating Ross by one foot on the line. This was enough to give Earl the championship with a race to spare. This was fortunate as a vicious squall struck at the end of the first reach. Smith capsized on the gybe, followed shortly by Earl on the second reach. Pickles took advantage and sailed a good race in testing conditions to win from Ross & Dixon. Nick Faulkner & John Meachem came fourth.

Overall it was very close with Pickles taking second ahead of Smith, Dixon & Ross.

Overall Results:

1st Brian & David Earl 15pts
2nd Mike Pickles & Richard Fisher 19pts
3rd Richard Smith & Ed Dyson 20pts
4th & 1st Mixed crew, Brian Dixon & Kathryn Smith 23pts
5th Paul Ross & Dave Wilkes
6th & Silver fleet, Gavin & Nick Johnson 45pts
Bronze fleet, Steve Leigh & Tony Ashton
Junior, Peter Murphy & Mike Mellis

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