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Buzz National Championships during the Port of Plymouth Regatta

by Stuart Bailey 10 Jul 2014 14:33 BST 5-6 July 2014
The breakwater revealed a sizable swell on Saturday during the Buzz nationals at the Port of Plymouth Regatta © Port of Plymouth Regatta Race Team

The weekend of 5th and 6th July saw the Buzz fleet enjoy their nationals in conjunction with The Port of Plymouth Regatta. Friday's strong winds and heavy rain had been replaced by Saturday morning with hazy sun and 12Knts of south westerly wind - perfect for racing.

With flag 2 flying, the fleet headed to a race area outside the main breakwater. Clearing the breakwater revealed a sizable swell coming from the SW with boats disappearing from view in the troughs. With the wind dropping a notch for the first race, sailing round the waves was key to upwind speed. With the lead swapping between Matt and Frankie [748], Chris and Ellen [1000], Ian and Bridget [919] and Roger and Penny [987]. 1000 managed to squeeze round the windward mark for the last time just ahead of 748 and 919, but their lack of downwind soaking skills meant the three boats arrived at the bottom mark together for a photo finish with Ian and Bridget just bagging 1st from Chris and Ellen with Matt and Frankie 3rd.

For the second race the current national champions Stuart and Zoe arrived with their brand new boat [2000]. More close racing between 748, 1000, 919 and 2000 ended with 2000 just holding off 748 for the win.

For the 3rd race, the wind and swell had picked up significantly to give the most exciting conditions of the weekend. 1000 launched off the pin end to arrive at the windward mark with a clear lead. No low soaking skills were required as it was now downwind trapeze blasting and yee-ha surfing the swell. 1000 stayed in front for the win with 2000 second, 748 third and 919 fourth.

This left Chris and Ellen as overnight leaders with Matt and Frankie tied with Ian and Bridget a point behind, so all very close.

Chris and Ellen's prayers for more wind to compensate for their lack of lighter downwind ability were answered by mirror calm on Sunday morning.

A fickle 6 knot wind swinging between SW and W filled in for the 4th race now inside the breakwater. Mark and Robbie in their distinctive canary yellow boat [949] had a great start and arrived at the windward mark clear ahead, where they managed to hold off the pursuing pack until getting overhauled on the last lap. This though was not through lack of sailing ability, more lack of a bung as their boat was slowly metamorphosed to a yellow submarine. 748 lead 1000 down to the last mark where 2000 and 919 were able to pass the hapless 1000 just before rounding to take 2nd and 3rd respectively behind 748 with all four boats finishing within seconds.

Heavy rain squalls raced across the course with big shifts and some holes for race 5. There was much place changing with more of the fleet featuring at the front end and the ability to use the shifts upwind while quickly change from low and slow to high and fast downwind crucial in the conditions. 748 mastered the conditions best to get their second win from 2000 with 919 a close third.

The 6th and final race saw the wind drop and become shiftier with bigger holes. 2000 and 748 had a close race for the duration with 2000 squeezing past at the last mark to take the win and the nationals with 1000 drifting across the line a distant 3rd. So the weekend ended with Stuart and Zoe retaining their national champions crown by a single point from Matt and Frankie with Ellen and Chris taking 3rd tied on points with Ian and Bridget but with a better last result.

All agreed it had been a great weekend's racing with all the boats having had some close racing and particularly the top four who frequently finished within seconds of each other. It also yet again demonstrated the great versatility and long competitive life of the Buzz with a brand new boat given some extremely tight racing by boats considerably older and the windiest race won by a 12 year old crew. Big thanks to the Port of Plymouth Sailing Association race officers for providing some excellent racing in the variable conditions.

Overall Results:

1st 2000, Stuart and Zoe Bailey (Wilsonian SC) 8pts
2nd 748, Matt Butler and Frankie Cook (Stewartby SC) 9pts
3rd 1000, Chris & Ellen Flewitt (Locks SC) 14pts
4th 919, Ian & Bridget Staples (Bartley) 14pts
5th 966, Julian Miles & Iian Christie (MBC) 26pts
6th 987, Roger and Penny Eyre (MBC) 29pts
7th 949, Mark and Robbie Turner (Warsash SC) 30pts
8th 921, Mike and Nathan Stanier (Stokes Bay) 39pts
9th 860, Jason Hotton and W Douie (Saltash) 40pts

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