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Unicorn Nationals at Stone Sailing Club

by Richard Parr 13 Aug 2009 07:37 BST 3-7 August 2009

A fleet of 10 boats assembled for a highly mixed week of sailing with winds from F1 to F6 and complex courses around the club marks as well as Olympic courses from a committee boat.

Day one was sailed in light winds (F1 to F2) around the club marks with race one being especially difficult with many ‘holes’ which seemed impossible to spot. Peter Toft sailed a couple of faultless races, taking the lead early and holding it to win both races in spite of constant pressure from Gary Piper and Bob Dorks who finished 2nd and 3rd respectively.

Day two was a totally different affair, the race officer reporting the wind as being F5 to F6 with a maximum gust of 31kts. The two races were held on an Olympic course from a committee boat. Piper excelled in these conditions to take two wins with Toft taking a 2nd and a 4th place. Dorks missed the control gate in race 1 and retired but took 2nd place in race 2. Richard Taylor also did well in the strong winds to take 3rd in race 1 and was well positioned in the 2nd race when he suffered a nosedive and capsize while bearing away in a very strong gust.

Day three brought back hot weather and little wind with races being postponed until after 1300h. Racing eventually started in a F2 easterly and again Toft showed his skill of sailing in light airs and fierce tides by gaining and holding a slender lead from Piper and Iain Rogers. The 2nd race was a fight between John Wade, Toft and Piper. Wade established a reasonable lead but sailed into thick weed on the last lap that he had trouble clearing, so allowing Toft to take the win.

Piper needed two wins on the last day to square the score and Toft needed a win to secure his first National Championship. The races were around the club marks and conditions favoured Toft with light F1~2 winds and strong tides but it was Paul Conway who made it first down the long downwind run against the tide. Piper took the lead on the beat back while Toft, Rogers, Wade, Richard Taylor and Julius Mach squabbled over places. The race was shortened and in the final run to the line it was Wade who found the best wind to take the win, just overhauling Piper by a few seconds with Rogers 3rd and Toft 5th.

The championship was all down to the last race. Toft sailed a superb first leg to take the lead that he never lost despite being chased by Piper to the finish.

Congratulations to Peter Toft on his first National Championship and our thanks to Stone Sailing Club for laying on a superb week's sailing.

Overall Results:

PosHelmSail NoClubPts
1stPeter Toft1074Stone SC7
2ndGary Piper1098Stone SC10
3rdJohn Wade1092Weston SC20
4th Richard Taylor1088Stone SC25
5th Iain Rogers1084Weston SC26
6thJulius Mach1091Weston SC28
7thPaul Conway1085Stone SC39
8th Bob Dorks1099Stone SC42
9th David Taylor1067Stone SC56
10thGeoff Moss1075Stone SC78

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