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Leader Nationals at Dell Quay Sailing Club

by Jane Wharmby 21 Sep 2005 08:40 BST 17-18 September 2005

Dell Quay SC hosted this year’s Leader Dinghy National Championships under clear blue skies and light winds on 17-18 September.

The event attracted visiting boats from as far as Shoreham, Milton Keynes, St Albans and Woodbridge in Suffolk as well as contestants from the home club. Last year’s National Champions, Chris and Jane Wharmby, and the winners of the most recent Leader Open Event, Mike and Val Sherwen, were present to do battle. Racing was close and exciting all weekend, with final positions hanging on the last race on Sunday.

Racing on Saturday started with a beat northwards to the Fishbourne buoy through the many moored yachts and dinghies. Local team, Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer, made the most of their local knowledge and rounded the windward mark first, leading the Wharmbys and the Sherwens down to Marina and Birdham. Chris Wharmby moved into the lead on the return beat to take line honours, with the Sherwens second and Fitzgerald/Dormer third.

Once again, in Race Two, Fitzgerald/Dormer led the fleet initially, flying their spinnaker to full effect, followed closely by the goose-winged Sherwens. Both boats sailed into a windless patch beside the leeward mark, and the Wharmbys, seeing what had happened adjusted course and were able to sneak past them at the buoy to extend a considerable lead and win the race. The Sherwens took second and Fitzgerald/Dormer crossed the line a second ahead of Roger Wilson and crew, William.

Race Three took place in very light winds on Sunday morning and Mike and Val Sherwen moved ahead early in the race, drawing out a long lead that was never seriously threatened. Fitzgerald/Dormer were 2nd , the Wharmbys 3rd, and Scott and Matt Fitzgerald fourth.

This left the competition wide-open for the final two races. The Wharmbys went off on a port tack at the start and were first to the windward mark, with the St Albans team of Roger Morse and Ashley Smith in 2nd. By the end of the race the Wharmbys were well ahead with the Sherwens second and Roger Wilson third.

By winning the final race the Wharmbys retained their National Championship title for 2005 with the Sherwens a very close second, and local team, Mike Fitzgerald and Tim Dormer third.

Overall Results:

1st, Chris and Jane Wharmby, 1083, Milton Keynes SC
2nd Mike and Val Sherwen, 26, Deben YC
3rd Mike Fitzgeraldn and Tim Dormer, 1078, Dell Quay SC
4th Roger Wilson and William Housego, 1157, Sussex YC
5th Roger Morse and Ashley Smith, 118, Welwyn Garden City SC
6th Scott and Matt Fitzgerald, 331, Dell Quay SC