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Albacore National Championship at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by Mike Banner 23 Sep 2015 07:08 BST 13-15 August 2015
2015 Albacore National Champions Michael McNamara and Flip Foulds © Fiona Brown /

Congratulations to Mike McNamara and Flip Foulds of Grimsby & Cleethorpes YC on their victory in the Albacore National Championship. After eight testing races they claimed the championship by fourteen points from Judy and Paul Armstrong from Scaling Dam SC, while a single point behind in third place were Nev Herbert and Mark Fowler from Tewksbury Cruising and Sailing Club.

Twenty one Albacores gathered at the current Club of the Year – Brightlingsea SC for the three-day event. With a windy forecast it was with some trepidation that the fleet left the shore on Day 1 with a screaming reach out to the race area. However as they bobbed around waiting for the start the wind decided to switch off as a large thunder storm moved past - just far enough away from the boats! As the wind settled the fleet got away with Nev Herbert and Mark Fowler 8192 taking an early lead closely followed by Mike McNamara and Flip Foulds 6493 and Judy and Paul Armstrong 8209. As the race progressed Herbert and Fowler had a seemingly unassailable lead until a massive wind shift left them stranded on the right of the course with McNamara spotting the shift first to win from Mike Hartley and Alex Jardine 5897 (West Kirby SC) with the Armstrong's taking what would be the first of a string of third places, closely followed by Phil Smith and Tom Williams 8152 (West Kirby).

In Race 2 the wind freshened to a good force 5 and this time Herbert and Fowler made no mistake taking first place from McNamara and Foulds. With the tide now ebbing fast the fleet headed back for a well-earned rest and a pint in the Brightlingsea clubhouse.

Day 2 and the wind was up again and with three races the fleet prepared themselves by tucking into an full 'Essex' breakfast. Out on the course Herbert and Fowler were flying and threw down the gauntlet with three straight bullets. Behind them in each race was McNamara and Foulds followed by the Armstrongs. Despite many aching limbs over thirty sailors made the class AGM held adjacent to the club bar!

For the final day of the Nationals it was still all to play for especially when an uncharacteristic capsize by Herbert in race 6 really throwing the championships open. McNamara used his years of experience and his crew's hiking ability to seize the opportunity with both hands and proceeded to win this and the next two races. Jerry Rook and his crew 8128 (Lyme Regis) took second and a third in race 7 after the Armstrong's were OCS.

In the final race there was a big shift right. Mike Banner and Jason Upton 8133 (Leigh and Lowton SC) were on the right side to take advantage and almost sneaked into first before being sailed over by Herbert and Fowler, and the Armsrtrong's as they chased McNamara to the finish.

So the acknowledged master of albacore sailing (and sail making!) won the 2015 championships in convincing style with his crew Flip and at the prize giving they picked up the majority of the large silverware that the class has acquired over many years.

With the Nationals over the class laid on an optional crews race and a cash prize "round the islands" long distance race on the Sunday for those who wanted to stay. Both were hotly contested with Ian Simpson and wife Amanda 7525 (Hawley Lake SC) taking the crews race and Judy and Paul Armstrong beating Mike Banner and Jason Upton by just 15 secs after 1 ½ hour of the round the islands race.

A big thank you to all at Brightlingsea SC for running a great event and "we'll be back!" For 2016 the Albacore fleet returns to Llandudno for the Championships from 12-16 August.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Albacore nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosBoatSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1stShowdown for Jador6493Michael McNamara"Flip" FouldsGrimsby and Cleethorpes YC1‑222211110
2ndSlightly Ratty8209Judy ArmstrongPaul ArmstrongScaling Dam Sailing Club333337(OCS)224
3rd 8192Nev HerbertMark FowlerTewskesbury Cruising and Sailing Club‑141111135325
4thRunning on Empty8128J T RookTBALyme Regis SC‑9744523631
5th 5897Mike HarteyAlex JardineWest Kirby SC24564‑117836
6thRuined Dude6649Crispin Read‑WilsonMark CalvertParkstone/Lyme Regis5885‑8.542537
7th 8152Phil SmithTom WilliamsWest Kirby467911611‑1454
8th 8133Mike BannerJason UptonLeigh &Lowton812‑14131399468
9thAcushla6812Tim ColemanJoanne SankeyNottingham Sailing Club131191010106‑1669
10thAeolian II6959Richard SmithGeorge SmithBenfleet Yacht Club696118.514‑151569.5
11thThe Usual Suspects8213John WoffindenRob BloisMaidenhead SC10(DNC)10765OCS1171
12thTe Wero Gal8129Philip TindallTom TindallMaidenhead(DNC)DNC13121234975
13thMagical8069Barry WicksHannah DuncanMaidenhead SC7(DNC)1514148101078
14th 8158Matthew Metcaffe‑SmithLewis BraisfordSutton in Ashfield115118715(DNF)DNC79
15th 8155Matthew ThompsonMalcolm SwarbrickTewkesbury121012(DNF)DNC188789
16thBijingo7504Paul GimsonAndrew CorquetRudyard Lake‑161416161512131298
17thBluejay7525Andy PearceIan SimpsonHawley Lake SC‑1813171516161213102
18thNemesis6504Steve BaileyBeth Smithottingham Sailing Club17151919181714(DNC)119
19th 7917Mike ScottClive GimsonRudyard Lake SC151620171719(OCS)17121
20th 8189Craig HamiltonAmanda HamiltonWinsford Flash SC(DNC)DNC211819DNCDNCDNC146
21stBad News7993John HowardLynda BennettTCSC(DNC)DNC18DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC150

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