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Shearwater Nationals at Yaverland Sailing Club

by Shaun Allen 22 Aug 2011 19:48 BST 14-19 August 2011
Shaun Allen and Claire Robinson win the Shearwater nationals © Darren Tully

The 55th annual National Championships for the Shearwater Catamaran Class took place at Yaverland Sailing Club on the Isle of Wight from 14th-19th of August. The event was part of the Isle of Wight Catamaran Festival, incorporating both Hurricane and F18 Catamaran Nationals, sponsored by Wildwind Sailing Holidays, Towergate Insurance, Harken and Wight Link Ferries.

The Championships began on Sunday 14th of August with a Practice Race, which was incorporated into the Sandown Sailing Regatta, running concurrently over the weekend. This was won in convincing style by the Class Chairman Nigel Stuart, and his wife Sarah on Simsek. The subsequently awarded Trophy for the Race was bigger than the World Cup, and because of its value could not be removed from Yaverland Sailing Club, but provided excellent photo opportunities when awarded.

The Competition proper began with Race 1 on the Monday morning, with 17 boats starting in a fresh South Westerly. Simsek lead to the Windward mark, overtaken by Shaun Allen and Clair Robinson on Carbon Footprint (Felixstowe Ferry S.C), closely followed by Dion and Anna Allen on Take5. The order remained the same until the final beat to the finish line, when Take5 overhaul Carbon Footprint to take the win.

After a short respite for lunch Race 2 began in similar conditions. Ben and Jamie Farnborough on Genesis taking an early lead, with Alan Howland and Rob Britton on Alley Cat leading the pack. Carbon Footprint broke free of the pack to close on the leaders, overhauling Alley Cat and Genesis on the final lap, to take the win.

Tuesday brought a lighter westerly breeze, Race 3 saw the Fleet in close company until the second beat, with Genesis breaking way from the pack, followed by Simsek, Alley Cat, and Darren Tully and Catherine Howland on Shearflamboyance leading the pack. Carbon Footprint was closed out at the start, but managed to work up the Fleet to take second place behind Genesis.

Race 4 started in an increasing South Westerly, with Genesis establishing an early lead, closely followed by Carbon Footprint. The two pulling away from the pack, lead by Murray Greenhill and Louise Curry on Dilligaf. Although there was many changes to the minor places, Genesis maintained the lead until the final gun, followed by Carbon Footprint.

Wednesday morning began with a light North Westerly, and Roger Crooks and Bonnie Lloyd on Ruby establishing and early and commanding lead in Race 5, followed by Alley Cat and Grace and Derek Williams on UFO. Being on equal points overnight, Genesis and Carbon Footprint matched raced each other about the course, while Alley Cat was able to overhaul Ruby to take the win, closely followed by Take5.

Thursday brought a strong South Westerly, which continued to increase all day. Race 6 brought a crowded start line, but Carbon Footprint was able to find a gap and cross at speed. Establishing a commanding lead, and clear air, which was maintained to the final gun. Genesis leading the pack home.

Race 7 began after lunch in marginal conditions, a few taking an early swim in the increasingly blustery conditions, and heavy swell. Genesis took the lead from Carbon Footprint at the end of the first beat, the latter covering the Fleet for the remainder of the race. Alley Cat leading the rest of the pack home in challenging conditions.

Friday began with Carbon Footprint the overnight leader, but only one point ahead of Genesis. Race 8 started in a fresh South Westerly, with Carbon Footprint first to the windward mark, they being quickly overhauled by Simsek on the second beat, but with Genesis caught in traffic further down the Fleet. As Carbon Footprint tacked to make the windward mark, the helm slipped of the trapeze hook, and the boat capsized. They quickly righted the boat to recover a 7th position, and maintain a 1 point advantage over Genesis, to win the National Championships for the second year running.

The 55th Championship was significant in so much as there was no clear winner until the final Race. The same applied to all the final places, which is a testament to the close racing across the Fleet. In addition, facilities and sailing area at Yaverland Sailing Club are superb, and the organisation of the event by Ian Molyneaux and all at Yaverland Sailing Club was exemplary. As was the professionalism of the Race Officers, Peter and Carole-Anne Poecock.

Bringing together three Catamaran Classes to host a combined National Championships was an inspired and superb advert for Catamaran Sailing.

Overall Results:

1st Shaun Allen/Claire Robinson Felixstowe (Ferry S.C) 10pts
2nd Ben Farnborough/Jamie Farnborough (Hastings & St.Leonards S.C) 11pts
3rd Alan Howland/Rob Britton (RYA) 15pts
4th Nigel Stuart/Sarah Stuart (RYA) 17pts
5th Roger Crooks/Bonie Lloyd (Stone S.C) 27pts

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