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National 12 Short Sharp Series at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by George Finch 13 Apr 2016 09:14 BST 10 April 2016
National 12 Short Sharp Series at Royal Harwich © Joe Hunt

Royal Harwich Yacht Club hosted an ad-hoc National 12 open meeting on Sunday. Partly aided by the Oppie Open Meeting at the RHYC on Saturday, 10 National 12s (7 members boats and 3 visitors) turned out for the club's first day of Sunday racing. This enabled the oppie-parents from Saturday to get out on the water on Sunday (and in some cases capsize more than their children had on the Saturday!).

As per last year, the RHYC kicked off their 2016 dinghy racing season with a short-sharp series. On Sunday the River Orwell experienced sunshine with an increasing easterly wind as the afternoon went on. With 23 boats out on the water, Race Officer for the day Matt House opted to use the main club start line and only run one start per race.

The first race got underway promptly and saw the fleet beating against the tide towards the first mark, onto a short reach and then downwind. By lap 2 Tom Stewart (crewed by daughter Isobel) had a strong lead, followed by Antony Gifford (crewed by son James) which the held to the finish. Further down the fleet, different tactics were being chosen for the downwind leg, with the confident (or more stable 12s with T-foil rudders?) opting to gybe, whilst others (Jon Brown (crewed by son Sam)) attempting to gybe and promptly capsize whilst George Finch (crewed by Lucy Homer) opted to tack-round and then sail past!

When race 2 began it was apparent a few of the boats had mistaken the 1-minute gun for the 3-minute gun and some boats were even facing away from the start. However, this race followed in a similar vein to Race 1. It was interesting to see that Jo Gifford (crewed by Charlotte Stewart) in N3348 had not learnt from her brother Jon Brown's mistake in Race 1, and promptly capsized during a gybe when George Finch (crewed by Lucy Homer) opted to tack-round and again sail past! At the front, Tom Stewart (crewed by daughter Isobel) finished first, with Antony Gifford (crewed by son James) in second.

Race 3 saw the 12s get off to a great start, although unfortunately two boats were OCS and didn't return. However, the conditions really showed how fast the 12s (both foiling and non-foiling) do go up wind. Once again, Tom Stewart (crewed by daughter Isobel) led from the start, although Tim Wood (crewed by Dan Patten) made a brilliant effort to keep up with the boats with t-foil rudders, by continuing his streak of coming 3rd.

Race 4 saw the wind increase further and with everyone's legs starting to feel the pain of hiking, (apart from Chris Mayhew (crewed by wife Nicole) who ventured out in his Dad's Final Chapter to join the fun) the Race Officer kindly reduced the race to one lap. Towards the gybe mark, once again Jon Brown (crewed by son Sam) and George Finch (crewed by Lucy Homer) were close by. Interestingly, Jon who clearly isn't afraid of getting wet decided to gybe and then capsize (he hadn't learnt from his Sister in race 2!), but George deciding to gybe at the last minute was successful in gybing and following on to finish just behind Bruce Johnson (crewed by Oliver Meadowcroft). John Meadowcroft (crewed by Charlotte Stewart) took line honours in his hijack design, yet again proving how capable the design is in a breeze.

By this stage, a number of the other dinghies racing had (wisely) retired. However, Race 5 started in a similar vein to the other 4 races although this time Tom Stewart (crewed by daughter Isobel) was capsized as the start gun went. Tim Wood (crewed by Dan Patten) used this to his advantage managed to fend off the boats with t-foiling rudders for the whole race and therefore crossing the line first. After this, signalling that 5 races were enough, most of the fleet headed home. However, John Meadowcroft (perhaps in a final attempt to ditch his 3rd crew of the day (Charlotte Stewart)) went for a 'final blast', only to capsize to windward within 5 seconds!

Thanks to the RHYC for allowing us to descend upon the start of their racing series which already had a great turnout of club dinghies. A special mention must go to Nigel Waller (crewed by Rory Gifford) for sailing N326, his 1938 'Uffa King' design in the breezy conditions!

The next National 12 open is on 17th April at Hykeham Sailing Club, followed by Gul Series #2 at Salcombe Yacht Club over the first May bank holiday weekend.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st3544WhitebaitTom StewartIsobel StewartRoyal Harwich Yacht Club1112‑55
2nd3529Cat in the HatAntony GiffordJames GiffordRoyal Harwich Yacht Club222‑328
3rd3471Lars Porsena Of ClusiumTim WoodDan PattenWalton & Frinton Yacht Club333‑5110
4th3543D.B. CooperJohn MeadowcroftDan Meadowcroft; Katy Meadowcroft; Charlotte StewartUpper Thames Sailing Club54(OCS)1313
5th3477ClandestinoBruce JohnsonOliver MeadowcroftRoyal Harwich Yacht Club85(OCS)6423
6th3513Silver LiningGeorge FinchLucy HomerRoyal Harwich Yacht Club6747(DNF)24
7th3483TontoJon BrownSam BrownBurghfield Sailing Club7658(DNC)26
8th326Rose MarieNigel WallerRory GiffordRoyal Harwich Yacht Club‑9869629
9th3437Worth Its Weight...Chris MayhewNicole MayhewRoyal Harwich Yacht Club(DNC)DNCDNC4DSQ37
10th3348Charlotte AnneJo GiffordCharlotte StewartRoyal Harwich Yacht Club4(DNF)DNCDNCDNC37

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