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National 12 Open at Henley Sailing Club

by Duncan Mackay 15 Sep 2010 08:30 BST 12 September 2010

Famous five star at Henley

Famous boats and star performers from the UK’s National 12 fleet took to the River Thames at Wargrave Reach on Sunday (12 September) to compete for the stunning silver bowl, the Henley Open, which is first prize for the winners of this testing one day race.

John and Olly Meadowcroft of Upper Thames Sailing Club sporting the latest in carbon fibre technology in Lightning Storm finished in first place with John and Mandy Thornton of Henley Sailing Club (HSC) second in another modern boat The Full Monty. John Ibbotson and Gus Saunders came third sailing under the HSC burgee for the day and winning the Admiral’s Cup for older single bottomed boats in Pillow Talk. Finishing fourth in veteran wooden boat Saranac was Stephen Gent and Viv Roberts of HSC and, with a creditable fifth place, Alan and Emma Cadwallader also from HSC in Runaway.

The star performers of the National 12 fleet were led by John Meadowcroft, a former N12 Burton Cup winner, and John and Mandy Thornton. John Meadowcroft was crewed by son Olly who at the ripe old age of 7 was deputising for mum and double Burton Cup winner Katie Meadowcroft. Olly is clearly a star in waiting having no trouble in managing the technical requirements of roll-tacking and balancing the boat in an intensely absorbing sailing competition.

In light to variable winds with none of the marks proving particularly hazardous, most boats covered the demands of the course without mishap or equipment failure. However, there were some highly competitive starts and a degree of gamesmanship over the three races during the day. John and Olly Meadowcroft won it with two firsts and a second place in the three races on the river. Many of the travelling fleet of N12 skippers and crews are well known to each other over many years racing for the Burton Cup but they’d better watch out for young Olly on this form.

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