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Ajax National Championship at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by James Skellorn 10 Jul 2015 14:58 BST 26-28 June 2015
Ajax Nationals at Harwich 2015 © Bob Portway

13 boats competed for the 2015 Ajax Champs in Dovercourt Bay, organised by Royal Harwich Yacht Club. One crew travelled from St Mawes, Cornwall and borrowed Hermione. The fleet were dazzled by the appearance of Indefatigable (Will Patten) freshly renovated by Olly Patten and looking as close to a brand new Ajax as we may ever see.

Friday began with fine weather and a light south westerly. Pegasus and Thunderer led the way up the first beat. Thunderer rolled over Pegasus approaching the weather mark and sailed into a clear lead. Pegasus, Mars, Atalanta and Guillemot were in a close battle behind them. Thunderer won from Pegasus with Guillemot third.

The wind picked up a little for the second race. Atalanta and Thunderer led the way, and this time Atalanta pulled clear to win from Thunderer with Guillemot third and Pegasus snatching fourth from Indefatigable at the finish.

In the third race Polly Oliver and Telamon went left in a stronger breeze to build a clear lead. Polly Oliver won from Telamon with Thunderer third from Atalanta. Overnight Thunderer led on points.

Saturday started with a light westerly breeze. Race Officer Doug Brown got the fleet away early.

After a long starboard tack in which they were lifted towards the mark, Guillemot and Pegasus were leading in a fitful breeze. Guillemot pulled clear, but boats inshore were holding the shore breeze and boats offshore picked up the sea breeze and were approaching under spinnaker.

At this point the weather mark was moved closer to the fleet in a well intentioned plan to get a result. Guillemot won, but in a claim for redress the race was subsequently ruled null and void.

For race five the sea breeze held, and in a good breeze, Thunderer won from Atalanta with Telamon third and Indefatigable fourth.

In the same conditions for race six, Atalanta and Pegasus contested the lead. On both beats Atalanta judged the laylines more accurately to win from Pegasus with Polly Oliver third and Indefatigable fourth. At the end of Saturday, Thunderer still led by one point from Atalanta.

Sunday brought grey overcast conditions and a fresh southwesterly. On a triangle sausage course Atalanta led the way right up the beat, with Polly Oliver and Teal chasing hard. Thunderer was some way back.

Knowing they had to beat Atalanta, they went left on the second beat, but it did not pay off. Indefatigable came through to third on the second beat. Atalanta won from Polly Oliver with Indefatigable third and Pegasus fourth.

In the final race Atalanta sailed away to a clear win from Polly Oliver second, Teal third and Telamon fourth. Overall Atalanta won comfortably, having won the last three races. Thunderer was second, Polly Oliver third and Pegasus fourth.

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