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Gul National 12 Series at Shoreham Sailing Club

by The Stewart Family 27 Jun 2014 07:49 BST 21-22 June 2014

Probably the best sea sailing in the UK over the midsummer weekend was enjoyed by a strong fleet of National 12s at Shoreham Sailing Club competing in the fourth event of the 2014 Gul series. Wall to wall sunshine and a stunning coloured sea was an added, very welcome, bonus.

On Saturday, the experienced race team set a full sized Championship course to the West of the harbour entrance. It looked like the right hand side of the beat would pay due to the tide but with occasional left hand shifts, nothing could be guaranteed. Tom Stewart and Andrea Ralph slipped round the Windward Mark first pursued by the family team of John and Oliver Meadowcroft who had the lightweight Camm team hot on their transom. Stewart and Ralph held off the challengers to take the gun but the Meadowcrofts were overhauled.

The Camms led the early part of race two and as the recognised light airs stars of the fleet, they looked like they would do their usual horizon job, however this time it was not to be as, on the second lap, Stewart and Ralph found good pressure on the right and took the lead. The wind faltered and it looked like the race team would shorten but Alan Chaplin knows his stretch of water and the breeze came back and a full length race was enjoyed.

I usually wouldn't comment on the evening activities but the scale and quality of the Shoreham Barbecue needs a mention, the food was superb and the portions big enough for the Fireball Crews (with whom we were sharing the event)....and then followed pudding and beer.

Sunday morning looked lighter than Saturday but as the start gun went, the wind shifted right and picked up 5 knots so crews were flat hiking up the first beat. Christian Day and Sophie Richards nailed the start but were overhauled on the left by Team Meadowcroft who led around the top mark with the new pairing of Kevin Iles and Pip Jefferis just behind them. On the next lap,Tom and Andrea went through the gears as the breeze freshened and pulled through to first place and to an early victory.

In Race four, Shoreham showed its very best, another 5 knots of breeze and waves to surf on! Local stars William Warren and Sophie Mackley won the pin end and were looking good to lead at the top mark but with the wind swinging right they were caught by the pack. Jon Ibbotson and Charlotte Stewart emerged from the melee and shot off down the first reach like a startled hare. Enjoying the conditions on the second downwind leg and stretching their lead was too much for Jonno and he went back too far and with a back flip, leapt into the drink. Much to their surprise, Tom and Andrea picked up a wave after the gybe and gratefully were gifted the lead which they held to the finish. The Camms recovered well from their worst start of the weekend and worked their way through to record a fourth second place.

Overall Results: (top three)

1st Tom Stewart and Andrea Ralph
2nd Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne
3rd John and Oliver Meadowcroft

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