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Ocean Safety 2021 - LEADERBOARD

Europe National Championship at Dabchicks Sailing Club

by Gareth Williams 21 Aug 2014 12:03 BST 16-18 August 2014

Class Chairman up the wrong creek, without a paddle

The 2014 Europe UK Nationals, hosted by Dabchicks Sailing Club, took place alongside the OK Nationals from 16th to 18th August.

Saturday saw a healthy force three against an equally healthy incoming tide producing some steep chop on the race course. The first race started with an individual recall, with local David Labrouche, certainly trying to make an impression in his first race in a Europe with a port tack flyer, was just a little too keen! But, with the tide under the fleet, a couple of others didn't take the chance of an OCS and headed back as well. This left Mandy Horton and Richard Major ('Richard II') to lead the charge left into the tide and up to the windward mark. By the end of the first triangle Gareth Williams had dragged himself back into the mix with Mandy and Richard II. By the top of the beat the order of Gareth, Mandy, then Richard II had been established, which remained to the end of the race, but only just. After a quick dip at the gybe mark class chairman, Andy Harris had claimed 4th in the race, but decided that a trip up the wrong creek to see the wildlife in the Blackwater Nature Reserve was more important than the second race, or the early shower he had planned!

The second race started cleanly, with the left of the beat clearly favoured by the tide. It became a drag race with the only decision being when to tack to avoid overstanding the windward mark. The top three in this race was the same as the first, with Mike Wallis rounding out the top 4. Fortunately, Andy had found his way back out of the wrong creek to join the fleet back at the Club in time for the evening BBQ.

Day 2 started with the age old pastime of all sailors, studying weather station readouts and forecasts; the biggest decision needed was when to get lunch! The forecasts all seemed to indicate the wind was only going to build from the current 30 knots, but the race officer had a special locals' forecast that promised a lull at about 14.30. The fleet obediently launched in time for the 14.30 start, and the wind had indeed dropped; unfortunately this lull only lasted until 14.20. To be fair, the RO never made any promises as to how long the drop in wind would last. As the fleets were on the water, a race was held in some big wind that generated some very steep waves in the deep channel by the gybe mark. Another clean start saw Gareth take the lead, chased this time by Richard Eagleton (Richard I), who was revelling in the stronger winds. Gareth took advantage of his upwind speed to chicken out of all the gybes and hold the lead to the end (on shore he was making up some excuses about playing the percentages; everyone else just decided he was chicken!). Richard, who was definitely not being a chicken, held second to the end, ahead of Mandy, who was now putting together a very consistent set of results. On the sail back to the club, it became evident that Richard I had indeed left it all on the race course; with no energy left to steer his boat around both the mooring buoy and the attached tender, he tried the direct route between them, with limited success, but did achieve a 5/5 from the watching safety boat.

Curry and Pub Quiz was the reward for us after sailing but, with a dead heat in the quiz, a deciding challenge of flat hiking, on the Hiking Bench supplied by event sponsors, HikingBench.com, was set. There was only one choice for the Europe fleet, and that was Angie Wallis, who unceremoniously defeated two OK team challenges by a clear minute, with only a little showboating.

Fully curry fuelled, the fleet took to the water on Monday for the final two races. With the wind reduced to a reasonable level, spotting shifting wind patterns became the craft required, especially as the tide was slack for the first race. David Labrouche certainly had boat speed sorted by day 3 and, with some local knowledge, had a knack of finding the right shifts to take the lead round the first two laps of this race, but an encounter with the windward mark let Gareth through. Having watched and learnt from David's mastery of the shifts on the previous laps, he kept the lead to the finish. David attempted a risky final beat tactic to regain the lead, but the risk didn't pay off, dropping him to six allowing Richard I, Richard II and Mandy through to round out the top 4.

The final race started as the tide started to flood, making the port side of an apparently unbiased start line tempting; unfortunately for those making that call, including Mandy, Richard II and David, the tide within the last couple of minutes pre-start built in strength to move the committee boat to windward leaving Gareth and Richard I an open line at the starboard end. David sailed well to get back from the start to steal his best result of the event, just ahead of Richard I, and he took the Junior Champion and Best Newcomer Trophies. Gareth finished in the lead to round out a clean sweep for the event. Mandy completed a consistent series with a 4th to take second overall and the Ladies' trophy.

The Europe Class are particularly grateful to Dabchicks Sailing Club and its Europe-sailing Vice Commodore Sailing, Rachel Ramsay, and to David Price of event sponsors, HikingBench.com.

Overall Results:
If you took part in the Europe nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1391Gareth WilliamsLeigh & Lowton SC111114
2362Mandy HortonGrafham Water SC2234411
3377Richard (I) EagletonBexhill SC7622313
4342Richard (II) MajorGrafham Water SC3363514
5323David LabroucheDabchicks SC5546216
6369Mike WallisGrafham Water SC6455720
7385Katie MapplebeckPennine SC910107632
8397Andrew HarrisSolent SC41010101034
9354Angela WallisGrafham Water SC8710101035

Trophies:

  • National Champion: Gareth Williams
  • Ladies' Champion: Mandy Horton
  • Junior Champion: David Labrouche
  • Best Newcomer: David Labrouche
  • Swinging Sixties Trophy: Richard (I) Eagleton
  • Roaring Forties Trophy: Richard (II) Major

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