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Expert Sailing Skills by Tom Cunliffe
Expert Sailing Skills by Tom Cunliffe

707 National Championship at Scarborough Yacht Club

by Sarah Norbury 5 Jul 2013 08:06 BST 26-29 June 2013
707 Nationals at Scarborough © Sarah Norbury

Typically large North Sea waves and a variety of wind and weather made for exciting and challenging racing at the 707 national championship at Scarborough, North Yorkshire. The class has over the last few years dispersed from its Solent roots, with its biggest fleets now in the Firth of Forth, Yorkshire, Cornwall and Essex. Visiting boats came from as far afield as Germany, Wales, Hamble and Edinburgh to challenge the Yorkshire sailors on their home waters.

Against the magnificent backdrop of Scarborough's beaches, cliffs and castle, the 14-strong fleet sailed 11 races on windward-leeward courses. During the week there were six different race winners.

Light winds and a strong tide on Day 1 required careful starting and strategy. In the initial race 180-degree windshifts resulted in the fleet spreading right across the course on the first run, with huge distances between various groups. The race officer shortened the course so it was a run to the finish; amazingly the fleet came together and finished en masse, local boat A Grand Day Out just holding on to first place. The overnight leader was Paul Gray's Beaver Hunter from Burnham-on-Crouch with a very consistent 2,3,2 followed by David Boatman's Outlaw from Sunderland.

After day 2 was abandoned due to lack of wind, the third tested crews' stamina with five races contested in winds that rose through the day, made more challenging by a large rolling swell, powerful gusts and several hours of rain. There was the occasional broach; minor damage included spinnaker-pole fittings and a boom vang. The overall lead was taken by Jon Powell's Betty (Warsash SC), with Beaver Hunter now lying second.

This left it all to play for on the last day with any one of six teams capable of taking the title. The wind started at about 10-12 knots but slowly clocked right and dropped through the day. The race officer sensibly reduced the length of the course to try and get as many races in as possible before the 2pm deadline.

In the first race those that started at the committee boat and sailed almost to the lay line came out on top. Betty, and Cacciatore steered by John Robertson, got away and led to the finish, Betty getting the gun.

Race 2 saw the same pair get away again this time Cacciatore crossing the finish line first, only to find they had been black flagged along with German boat Heizkorper (Lars Huckstadt). The pin end was favoured in the final race and with a slight left-hand shift the boats were soon tacking for the mark. Betty won the pin and cleared the fleet to lead at the windward mark and hold on to first place till the finish.

The wind dropped and saw some big moves both up and down the fleet. Sharkey (Hughes and Cooper) came through to second to go with their third from the first race of the day. Betty's three bullets gave them the championship, while Dara O'Malley's SeaWord (Royal Forth YC) steered by Scottish national champion Titch Summers finished the day with 4,3, 4 to take second overall from Outlaw in third.

In true 707 tradition, the Championship was hard-fought, fun, friendly and great value for money. The entry fee of £175 per boat covered lift-in, lift-out, berthing in Scarborough marina, free beers at the yacht club - magnificiently housed in a lighthouse - and three evening meals for all four or five crew, the most lavish being dinner and wine at the prizegiving party where the band played on till the early hours. An abundance of prizes courtesy of sponsors included a two-night Champagne break from Britannia Hotels, an Elvstrom jib, and a £100 Z-Spars voucher. Other sponsors were Gill, Iconic Trading, Scarborough Marine Engineers, Coates Marine, Daleside brewery and The Tea Pot Cafe.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameHelmPts
1BettyJon Powell14
2SeaWordDara O'Malley32
3OutlawDavid Boatman35
4Beaver HunterPaul Gray36
5HeizkorperLars Huckstadt42
6CacciatoreJohn Robertson44
7Double TroubleChristian Smart53
8SharkyHughes & Cooper55
9Blue FunkNeil McLure62
10A Grand Day OutBramham & Littlewood69
11Second FiddleAnthony Dearden80
12Black SheepClark & Parker86
13ShamelessRoger Buxton112
14Blue RusherUsher & Owen119

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