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Sailing Around Britain
Sailing Around Britain

707 National Championship at Scarborough Yacht Club

by David Smith 4 Aug 2016 17:58 BST 28-31 July 2016
Close sailing and light winds at the 707 Nationals © Karen Temple

The four day National 707 Championships were held at Scarborough Yacht Club at the end of July. Six different winners in 12 races indicates that the eventual winner, Seaword, didn't always have it their own way.

Day 1

Day 1 had light winds and a very challenging nasty little slop. The winning boat in Race 1 was newcomer Braveheart, and helm Pete Robinson commented that his heart rate was 150 for the whole race as he's never won in the 707 before (I'd be interested to see heart monitors on every crew-member, and we could play 'spot the broach'..). With a bunch of other boats always right on your tail ready to pick up on the slightest mistake, this racing obviously isn't for the faint-hearted.

Race 1 was influenced heavily by the start (and premature start of many), resulting in A Grand Day Out leading Braveheart at the first windward mark. After a close downwind leg, Braveheart took the lead which was held until the finish, although A Grand Day Out made a very close run of it with the gap being only 4 seconds at the finish with Baby Beluga finishing in third.

Well done for Pete for keeping it together and avoiding the use of a defibrillator. Expected light wind specialists Seaword couldn't get going at all finishing 7th in the first two races, so it was going to get interesting.

The general tone of only a few seconds between boats at the finishing line was going to continue for the week.

In Race 2 local heroes A Grand Day Out helmed by Chris More must have had local knowledge to leave them clearly ahead in the increasingly frustrating conditions. Paul Gray and his new crew of Essex lads in Beaver Hunter were starting to prove their consistency by keeping in the top 3 in many races – a formula that has worked for them before. Everyone's favourite happy landlord, John Lewis, in Baby Beluga also had an eye on achieving steady results – there must have been an Essex Team talk.

The much-vied-for 'Richard of the Day' hats were closely contested. This daily prize is magnificently donated by the Sharky boat and is deserved by someone who makes a suitable error...such as being involved in multiple race infringements, forgetting to tell your wife you are away, being so hung-over they are still in bed when the first race starts, and even hitting other boats, jetties supertankers etc.... We always have enough contenders.

First Day 'Richard' honours to Micky off Sharky for over zealous rope pulling whilst on the foredeck resulting in the loss of the only winch handle. How they laughed onboard Sharky! Anth nearly split his mankini.

Day 2

The weather was a bit breezier and four races were held. Seaword started to find speed again, but did not have it all their own way scoring three seconds and a first with Sharky with a well deserved win in the first race. Rammie took two firsts, albeit the last one was regarded as a fluke as they gybed inshore to catch the breeze which actually worked and crossed the line at fine speed to the shock of Seaword and Beaver Hunter who thought they'd done enough. Keep looking over your shoulder boys.

Second day 'Richard' honours to Jamie of Second Fiddle. When leaving the boat after racing, he lost house and car keys from the unzipped bag, straight into the dock. Hours of fun continued whilst he searched for them with a magnet on a piece of string.

Day 3

Four races and four wins for Seaword who were really getting into their stride, which was unfortunate for the rest. Beaver Hunter were also consistent with 3 third places making these boats the ones to beat as they now lay clearly in first and second overall.

'Richard of the Day' was awarded to Mark off Valhalla for flying the "Dorito"- that is putting the spinnaker on upside down, which of course doesn't help when trying to win a race.

Day 4 - The perfect start..

Valhalla should be given a special award for a perfectly executed port end flyer following which they led the race, but also for the wearing of kilts and appropriately mooning as they crossed the entire fleet. In typical 707 fleet fashion they got an enormous cheer of support – I am sure this would be seen as unusual in most other fleets and events, but not in 707s.

They were overhauled by Seaword on the final leg but it certainly boosted everyone's spirits to see such gay abandon of convention on the race course.

So, the final day had four boats in contention for movements in second and third places – Baby Beluga, Beaver Hunter, Rammie and Sharky. Beaver Hunter was in theory catchable in second place but only if they had fundamental problems and their solid consistency showed no signs of changing until surprisingly they opened things up by scoring a ninth. Rammie blew the first race too having needed to beat Sharky to secure third place, but an 8th was going to cause problems. So it was down to the final race.

At the end of the day Rammie's 2nd confirmed them in third overall and Beaver Hunter in second. Braveheart were steadily improving their light weather form with third in both races, although too late to affect the results.

Final Day 'Richard of the Day' honours saw change in the use of the 'Richard' prize as it was decided to award it for 'Endeavour' and so it just had to go to Andy off Valhalla for pulling off the amazing port end flyer.

Thanks must be given to sponsors Z-Spars and of course Scarborough YC and their team who were kept going by Bruce Temple and Sam Usher and were more than generous with their hospitality and hard work on the race course.

The Race Officer and Team of Henry Wright, Kevin Appleby, and Martin Gledhill certainly did not mess about in course laying and prompt starting of races. There is a lesson that could be learned by others here... we were started on time, courses re-laid in minutes and the next race started shortly after the last boat finished the previous race. So, inspite of light winds we achieved 12 races in the 4 days.

Overall prize of 'W' of the Week was awarded to Jimmy off Second Fiddle. Jimmy went out on Friday and stayed out until 7am. He then put himself to be bed for an hour but didn't wake up until 10.30 by which time he'd missed the first race. He eventually made the second race via special delivery on Rudi's fast speedboat and a RIB.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8R9R10R11R12Pts
1Seaword, Titch Summers/Dara O'Malley (PEYC)(7)(7)212211111113
2Beaver Hunter, Paul Gray (RCYC)3233(5)43343(9)533
3Rammie, David Smith/MikeFleming (ASYC)(9)(8)451144368238
4Sharky, Andy Hughes/Anthony Cooper (THYC)4614(7)3266(8)5643
5Baby Beluga23(9)2475(9)526743
7A Grand Day Out5176(8)(8)67744451
9Second Fiddle895(10)9(10)108297875
10Black Sheep(10)(10)10839910910101088

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