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GJW Direct SailFest 2013 at Weymouth - Overall

by Brenda Hoult 27 Aug 2013 16:01 BST 24-26 August 2013

The Raymarine Long Distance Pursuit Race concludes the event

Despite a similar start to the day with a good breeze across the harbour, the forecast was for the wind to drop so the race team was keen to start the 150 minute pursuit race promptly at the scheduled time of 10.30. James Gollop and Bob 'Arky' Wainwright led the excellent race management aboard the committee boat, with a clear tannoy system to alert of the next start sequence ensuring that everyone got away cleanly.

The breeze was dropping even as the first boats started and at about 70 minutes through the race, soon after the last start of the International 14 at 61 minutes, the wind turned off completely. This left crews on the second 'beat' with sails at all sorts of different angles and even some with gennakers draped lifelessly over the front of their boats. When the sea breeze finally arrived it filled in from the South West of the harbour resulting in a 140 degree windshift.

Having led for most of the race it was Mike Radford in his Byte who kept his head to finish in front of the rapidly approaching International 14 (who pipped the RS300 of Steve Bolland) and win the race. The Byte fleet were ecstatic as Mike came ashore "Being a pond sailor the flat conditions suited me today and the wind going light as the faster boats started obviously helped too."

The Topper sailed by Scott Chudley was met by a round of applause from the shore having been the first boat onto the water and the last boat off it. Later at the prize giving young Scott was presented with the GJW Direct Outstanding Achievement Award for his determination during the previous 2 windy days and for leading the pursuit race for over an hour.

Raymarine Long Distance Pursuit Race Results:

1st Mike Radford - Byte
2nd Sam Pascoe & Alex Knight - International 14
3rd Steve Bolland - RS300
4th Tom Gillard & Tim Hartley - Fireball
5th Russell Ward - Finn
6th Andrew Wilde - Phantom
7th Ian Morgan - Laser
8th Sam Barker - Musto Skiff

Meanwhile, closer to shore, the warm bank holiday weather had brought a number of visitors down to WPNSA to experience sports activities via the taster sessions. Unphased by the lack of wind, the OTC windsurfing centre brought out their fleet of paddleboards for an alternative water-based experience. Local 8 year old Arthur Blackmore-Dark tried rock climbing on Saturday, paddlesports on Sunday and dragged his mum back again on Monday and persuaded her to join him for a kayak session.

The prize giving was held in the Academy's Spinnaker's Bar, with the Olympic Caudron as centrepiece. A number of spot prizes were distributed before the main prizes by raffle to those competitors that were present - which was a good majority able to stay till the end of the event. In addition to the Bytes, who had held their National Championships, the Fireballs have included SailFest as part of their Golden Dolphin series and the Phantoms their southern series. Prizes were also awarded for first Lady and First youth.

Ross Partridge of Raymarine had been on hand to give advice all weekend, not only on the Micro Compass but also the range of equipment the company offers, proving himself quite astute in general dinghy sailing too. As winner of the Raymarine Long Distance Pursuit Race Mike Radford received the first of three Micro Compasses from Ross, with another for 65 year old Gordon Tweedle in his Supernova as the lowest placed boat to complete all 7 races. Having been on the water for the training day with Peter Aitken and closely following the racing, Ross awarded the third compass to RS300 sailor Harry McVicar for his steady improvement of results throughout the training and racing. Elizabeth Gill, crewing an ISO, took home a Raymarine jacket as a softer option to the battering by boom and boat she had been receiving all weekend.

The Overall title for the inaugural GJW Direct SailFest WPNSA Handicap Regatta went to Sam Pascoe and Alex Knight in their International 14 with an impressive scoreline including 3 seconds and 3 firsts. Sam thanked both the rescue crew and the race management teams. Alun Morgan, leader of the safety crew, was praised for the impressive way he and his team of volunteers had, in particular, handled the many capsizes in a fleet of wide-ranging age and ability on the windier days. He was presented with a dry-bag as a token of thanks.

SailRacer and GJW Direct have already been contacted by a number of fleets keen to be involved in SailFest next year. The first edition of of the regatta has given the organisers much to build on for this perpetual event celebrating the legacy of the Olympic Games held at the venue last year.

Overall Results:

1st Sam Pascoe & Alex Knight - International 14
2nd Matt Burge and Richard Wagstff - Fireball
3rd Tom Gillard & Tim Hartley - Fireball
4th Ian Dobson & Ben Ainsworth - Fireball
5th David Hall & Paul Constable - Fireball
6th Tim Rush & Dan Ellis - Fireball
7th Anthony & James Willcocks - Fireball
8th Will Gulliver - Phantom
9th Steve Bolland - RS300
10th Hannah Showell & Barry Smith - Fireball
1st Lady - Hannah Showell
1st Youth - Ross Banham, Laser 4.7

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