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Seafly National Championship at Blakeney Sailing Club

by John Claridge 21 Jul 2016 16:42 BST 9-10 July 2016
Seafly Nationals at Blakeney © Mark Landamore /

Blakeney Sailing Club in Norfolk hosted the 2016 Seafly National Championships and, although the gusty 20 to 30 knot winds were challenging, three of the latest all GRP self-draining boats joined seven of the original wooden ones to compete for the title.

With crew ages between 13 and well over 60 and sailing credentials ranging from national championship winners to relative beginners, there was good competition throughout the fleet. The racing over the two days was often bordering survival conditions, with breathtaking, very wet reaches, sometimes dodgy gybes, and tricky spinnaker runs.

The front of the fleet in each race followed a pattern with John and Robert Claridge working their way through to take the lead and Alan Robinson and Hugh Ambery in their beautifully maintained and fitted out wooden Seafly 'Merlin' close behind, ready to pounce on any error.

Whilst the first and second positions never appeared to be in doubt, the battle for third was undecided until the final race, with Simon Hibberd and Alan Collett in 'Zippidee', Tim and Ben Uren in 'Grace', Alan Jackson and Frenesi Ewing in 'C fly', and Matt Boreham and Steve Soanes in 'Jupiter', all in contention.

Unfortunately, 'Jupiter' suffered gear failure and was forced to retire thus finishing in sixth place and Alan and Frenesi, capsizing whilst in a strong third place, moved down to 5th, allowing Tim and Ben to secure fourth overall. The third spot went to Simon and Alan in 'Zippidee' who, apart from the first two boats, were the most consistent.

It was interesting that there was little to choose between the speed of the wooden and GRP boats although John and Rob were certainly faster on the long reaches, probably due to their well matched sails and mast. Alan and Hugh meanwhile were using their newly fitted twin pole spinnaker system to good effect, always making up ground on the runs.

The weekend was also notable for the sailors reforming the class association and appointing a new committee who were tasked with organising open events around the country and the National Championships again at Blakeney Sailing Club next year.

The contact email for more class details is

Overall Results:
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PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st703 John ClaridgeRob ClaridgeLymington Y. C.‑11113
2nd477MerlinAlan RobinsonHugh AmberyBlakeney S.C.‑22226
3rd620cZippideeSimon HibberdAlan CollettBlakeney S.C.‑434411
4th702GraceTim UrenBen UrenChichester Y.C.5(RET)5313
5th701 Alan JacksonFrenesi EwingBlakeney S.C.753(RET)15
6th623JupiterMatt BorehamSteven SoanesBlakeney S.C.34RET(DNC)17
7th652Summer BreezeSteve LeighGeorge Harcourt Sean MooreBlakeney S.C.‑866517
8th653KittiwakeSean MooreAngela HarcourtBlakeney S.C.67(DNC)DNC24
9th379FizzangoDesmond HolmesLucy HolmesBlakeney S.C.9(DNC)RETDNC30
10th466Wind WaggonRoger BeavisVic BirtlesBlakeney S.C.DNF(DNC)DNCDNC32

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