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Gill National 12 Series at Trent Valley Sailing Club

by Christine Preston 23 May 2011 22:42 BST 7-8 May 2011
Gill National 12 Series at Trent Valley © Kevan Bloor

Weather forecasts were somewhat sporadic up to the morning of the first day, so we all had to take a “sail with what you have” approach. The wind, in all fairness, was in an unusual direction, even for TVSC members, but at 14.30 on 7th May our stalwart Race Officer – John Tilley, ably assisted by Ken Goddard, - started all 13 boats on a lovely downstream start in a nice gentle breeze with the sun shining. We had an excellent representation of National 12s from the young toddlers (Dead Cat Bounce designs) to grand old duchesses (Shotgun, Starfish and China Doll vintage designs) making for the start line; some of them with more design than good fortune due to being not quite ready when the race count down began. There was some jostling at the downstream mark and being further back I cannot recall who was where but the eventual finishing format was Graham and Zoe first closely followed by Jon & Charlotte and David & Tricia - double-bottoms leading the way!

After a brief sojourn for some tea – this was Trent Valley after all, and everything has always stopped for tea – we set off again for a couple of pursuit races. Our erstwhile RO had decided upon 3 flights dependent upon finishing positions of the first race, regardless of anyone changing boat/crew – and there were a few of them. We completed two short pursuit races the results of which were combined, with the eventual winner being declared as Nick Gill (crewed by Christine Preston) after a very hectic last 10 minutes of vigorous roll-tacking to keep Ian Norman (crewed by Louis Norman) from getting past him. I believe the spectacle of such close tacking was much appreciated by the shore-based audience, although I’m not sure my legs did.

The day was rounded off by an informal dinner with optional fancy dress – some of us have practised our 75yr old outfits ready for Burton Fancy Dress, but well done to anyone who tackled the problem of 125 yr. old costume to fit with the Trent Valley 125th Anniversary.

Next day saw a bright breezy start accompanied by breakfast rolls for the overnighters and anyone who got there earlier enough. With 2 races before lunch we had to get ourselves organised. I am helped here by some notes from Ken Goddard on behalf of the Race Officers. Sixteen boats set off in one start, the wind SSW force 2-3. And it was a very close start, but turned into a bit of a “soldiers” breeze with most of the course being a reach of some description. It was thought there was some advantage to modern boats with their new-fangled winged rudders, especially as the first 3 boats had such gizmos, i.e. DCB and Paradigm 2 designs.

Our next race became more complicated, having allowed everyone to settle to a straight 2 mark course (although if you have ever sailed at Trent Valley you will know there is no such thing as a “straight” 2 mark course), our officers added in the Goddard chicane in front of the club house – I suspect mainly to increase the spectator quality of the sailing. Wind speeds increased and it was somewhat a delight not to slog our way through the doldrums of Trent Valley course as the wind direction minimised the effect of the trees.

After well-deserved lunch break, we took to the water with winds gusting 25mph – may not sound much but in a constricted stretch of water it does call for enthusiastic tacking and energetic reaching to keep the boat balanced during the gusts. By now I think Graham and Zoe had an unassailable lead so the next placing was up for grabs. Amongst the rest of the fleet we had some wild sailing – definitely nothing like the last time I wrote about a N12 meeting at Trent Valley when it took us 4 goes to get through the doldrums – this was wild stuff – well ok, may be not compared with Salcombe etc. but it was certainly exciting and adrenalin pumping for a restricted river.

At the end of the event we all agreed to good sailing, good conditions, and good food.

Overall Results:

1st Graham Camm and Zoe Balantyne, N3530, Very Hungry Caterpillar
2nd John Ibbottson and Charlotte Stewart, N3528, Blue Kangaroo
3rd Gavin Willis and Rosie White, N3523, Lightning Storm

Admiral's Cup
1st Tom White and Maria Gidley, N2765, Le Shed
2nd Nick Copsey and Naomi Bilton, N3411, Esmerelda

1st Paul Turner and Christine Preston, N2457, Dolly Daydream

Pursuit Races
1st Nick Gill and Christine Preston, N2457, Dolly Daydream
2nd Ian Norman and Louis Norman, N3107, Zarniwoop

Gill Prize winners:
Gavin Willis & Rosie White, N3523, Lightning Storm
Tom White & Maria Gidley, N2765, Le Shed
John Sears and Mark Sears, N2957, Punkawallah
Ally Britton and Ann Britton, N3157, Perfect Kiss
Ian Norman and Louis/Nicole Norman, N3107, Zarniwoop

Special Gill prize:
To Paul Turner for his magnificent contribution of lending out the Breaston N12 museum for everyone to join in (namely Starfish to Nick Gill/James Clark, Shotgun to Brian Kitching, Mr Jones to Angus Beyts, Dolly Daydream to Nick gill for the pursuit race and MicroClipper to Ally Briton), presented by Christine Preston on behalf of Nick Gill.

Report by Christine Preston with valued input from Ken Goddard and Paul Turner. Many thanks to our sponsor; Gill.