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Ajax National Championship at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Mike Clayton 22 Jun 2017 08:26 BST 16-18 June 2017
Ajax Nationals in Dovercourt Bay © Will Patten

There were nine entries for the 2017 Ajax class championships sailed in Dovercourt Bay, Harwich from 16th to 18th June. Conditions were ideal for racing in the bay with the first day providing a shifty west north west wind from the shore that provided opportunities upwind for overtaking, with the second two days sailed in a sea breeze from the south.

The first race was probably the most dramatic with a number of place changes. Telamon led at the first mark and was caught by Thunderer on the run. On the second beat Polly Oliver gained the lead and held on to take the win with Telamon second and Thunderer third. Race 2 was set as an triangle, sausage course. Thunderer won the start with Polly Oliver looking lost on port and over the line. At the windward mark Puffin, Telamon and Guillemot were in contention. Thunderer had a comfortable lead and with the next group of boats going wide at the gybe mark Polly Oliver was able to gybe inside and gain second place. Guillemot extracted herself first from the group of boats and held on for third place.

The final race of the day had a slight pin end advantage and Polly Oliver ducked under Guillemot to win the pin with Thunderer starting closer to the Committee Boat. A shift on the first beat allowed Polly Oliver to tack clear and lead round the first mark followed by Thunderer and Dionysius. The first two boats remained clear but there was a tight battle for third with Dionysius loosing out to both Telamon and Guillemot on the short beat to the finish.

Day two started with a light westerly wind. Guillemot started at the Committee Boat end and went right up the beat and Polly Oliver led the remaining boats up the left side. As the windward mark approached Guillemot took advantage of a favourable shift to lead round the mark with Polly Oliver second and the consistent Thunderer third. On the run the wind died and the sea breeze filled in. This did not alter the places with Guillemot holding on to win and Polly Oliver second.

After a short break to allow the new wind to settle Race 5 was started. Polly Oliver again led away from the start with Thunderer and Guillemot behind. Teal was also in the mix and at the second windward mark rounding these three boats were close. Thunderer managed to get away down wind with a slick spinnaker hoist with Guillemot in third. For the final race of day two Thunderer had the best start and led from start to finish. Polly Oliver was again over the line avoiding an aggressive Telamon but was able to recover to second by the windward mark by benefitting from a favourable shift on the right hand side of the beat. This left the overall championship position as advantage Polly Oliver with Thunderer needing to win both races on the final day. It was also close for third between Telamon and Guillemot.

The final days sailing was sunshine and a force three sea breeze from the start time of the first race. The bay was alive with boats, including the classic yacht regatta. For race seven three boats had good starts, Polly Oliver, Thunderer and Telamon. Telamon was able to lead around the first mark and with Polly Oliver covering Thunderer up the second beat Telamon held on to win and by keeping Thunderer back in third Polly Oliver was able to secure the championship with a race to spare.

The final race was again led by Polly Oliver for the first lap but she overstood the windward mark on the second beat allowing Thunderer to take the lead which she kept to the finish. Behind these two Telamon confirmed her third place with another third.

The championships were well organised by the Royal Harwich Yacht Club and with the weather and the wind conditions being ideal for racing in the sheltered waters of Dovercourt Bay. The crews of the leading boats were:

  • Polly Oliver – Mike Clayton, Bob Portway and John Gill
  • Thunderer – John Williams, Hugh Williams, James Williams
  • Telamon – Gordon Sutton, Mike Moore, Philip Codling

Overall Results:
If you took part in the Ajax nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosBoat NameSail NoR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1stPolly Oliver171‑212122211

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