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Noble Marine 2012 #2

International 14 Gallon Trophy at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Mark Tait 13 Jun 09:57 BST 9-10 June 2018

The weekend of the 9th and 10th June saw two key events for the 14's at Itchenor. In addition to the boats having evolved into one of the most refined skiffs on the water, the other key benefit of the 14 class comes from its history. Spanning much longer than anyone can remember. The upshot of this fantastic legacy, are some awesome trophies, and some traditions that test skill and provide a variety of racing perhaps not seen amongst other dinghy classes.

Saturday's race, the Gallon is a case in point, this, the second most important event in the UK 14 calendar, is very worthwhile winning, a handsome eight pint silver tankard, which tradition has it is filled and then emptied by the winning team the evening after the race (thankfully it's been moved from a Sunday...)

The format itself is somewhat old-school, in that instead of finding the person who is best at starting by running lots of races over a series, it relies on the theory that if the race is long enough, the fastest boats will end up at the front. It's a proper test of stamina.

It's not possible to fit in a sufficiently long race within the restricted reaches of Chichester harbour over a low water weekend, therefore the fleet were sent out into Bracklesham bay, a sail of some 6 miles to the start. The first section of the race is then competed over an old style Olympic course; featuring with a solid mile-long beat, followed by the second section that takes the race back in over the Hayling bar, down to SW Pilsey, over to East head, up the Itchenor channel to finish on the traditional club line (this year we were spared the trip to Emsworth and back for some reason).

With the fearsome course set, and the fleet more eager than ever to prove themselves at the last event before the boats get packed off for the forthcoming World Championships in San Francisco, the main concern was would the wind play ball? Launching into a fickle South Easterly, the fleet was helped out of the harbour by a weak ebb tide. On the sail from the Hayling bar to the committee boat, the breeze had built to a solid 10 knots, prospects for the race looked good, and PRO Peter Taylor set five laps (some of the fleet were asking for a longer course at the briefing); it ended up as approx 20 miles.

After one general recall, the fleet were off, but with the sun had started to make an appearance, burning off the haze and turning down the dial on the wind. Most teams struggling to maintain twin wires, it was going to be a long one!

Half way up the first beat there was a clear split of the fleet, with those on the right hand side looking rather gloomy as the wind continued to build and clock left. Prime benefactors was Katie Nurton and Nigel Ash, followed by Liam Stracpoole and Wayne Bamicoat and Andy Shaw and Rob Struckett. Victims of the first beat were current POW champions, Neale Jones and Ed Fitzgerald, Andy and Tom Partington and Douglas Pattison and Mark Tait.

Opinion was still divided for the second beat. Would the wind swing back or keep going? It keep going, rather hard in fact, leaving those who went right early feeling very exposed, biggest losers in this were Douglas and Mark. The big left swing and slight increase in pressure resulted in significant compression on the second reach. Katie and Nigel still had a comfortable lead, with Liam and Wayne then Andy and Rob, Archie Massey and Harvey Hilary still in mix. Biggest gains were made by Douglas and Mark, tacking at the leeward mark back into the pressure that had come down with the fleet. By the end of the third beat they had come through from seventh to fourth, looking at the transoms on their two old boats!

At the end of the next lap, Katie and Nigel had started to feel less confident, Douglas and Mark had overhauled Liam and Wayne and Andy and Rob and were starting to bridge the large gap between the pack and the leaders. By the last windward mark, there was less than 100 yards between the two and a long way to go. After the two mile downwind to the turning mark, by the bar beacon the two boats remained evenly matched, extending their gap on the fleet. In the race over the bar and through the harbour it was clearly Katie and Nigel forte, revelling in the conditions in which they had won the Prince of Wales trophy two years prior, extending their lead to win the Gallon trophy for the first time, from Douglas and Mark, last year's winners.

Archie Massey and Harvey Hillary showed their class pulling through to third in the very last section of the Itchenor ahead of current POW champions Neale and Ed. Liam and Wayne visiting from Falmouth put in a fantastic performance in fifth. After such a long day on the water there were plenty of stories to recount as the fleet retired to Douglas and Hermione Pattison's for the traditional Gallon drinks party.

So having spent over six hours on the water the previous day, you'd think Sunday's fixture would be would be a simpler affair? Well clearly that'd be too easy. Sunday's racing was for the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Challenge Trophy. This is raced over two races out in Bracklesham bay. At the point the fleet reached the wreck just before the race area, when the wind completely switched off, five miles from home with no wind and a foul tide it didn't seem to be such a good idea to be out there. The three less adventurous members of the fleet who'd studies the forecast might be feeling smug.

As the sun burned through the mist a dark line could be seen on the horizon in the South East, this duly arrived, and a course was promptly set. By the time the fleet started the breeze had settled back down to 5 knots, the windward mark looked a long way off. Robin and Martin Pascal showed the fleet they were the most wily contenders, digging hard left to benefit from the best pressure, Andy and Tom Partington followed, ahead of Douglas and Mark. By the leeward mark Andy and Tom lead from Douglas and Mark.

Learning from the previous day Douglas and Mark tacked at the leeward mark to find the building pressure first to extend underneath the now covering Andy and Tom. By the windward mark the breeze had built to 10 knots, complemented by wall to wall sunshine it was turning into a classic day's sailing. At the end of the 3 laps set, Douglas and Mark had built a commanding lead, Andy and Tom maintained second, Andy Shaw and Rob Struckett pulled through to third, Archie and Harvey Fourth with Andy Fitzgerald and Richard Dobson in fifth.

The breeze held for the second race, at the gun Andy and Tom had to return, doing so rather late and thereby setting themselves a large challenge. Andy and Richard fired out to the left hand side of the course hotly pursued by Douglas and Mark. Over the next two laps the leading two extended from the pack, both clearly fast, by the second windward mark Douglas and Mark managed to get the advantage and from then on extended their lead. Andy and Richard maintained their position, followed up by Archie and Harvey, Andy and Rob followed by Andy and Tom who had done a fantastic job to pull back to fifth.

Overall Douglas and Mark were clear winners, behind them however scores for the two race series resulted in a four way tie for second. Scoring a second in the final race gave second overall to Andy and Richard, followed by Andy and Tom, Archie and Harvey and Andy and Rob.

Photos are at www.flickr.com/photos/126458419@N03/albums/72157692140416500

Gallon Trophy:

PosSail NoBoat nameHelm CrewR1Net
11557Amazing MasieN Ash K Nurton11
21561MarilynDouglas Pattison Mark Tait22
31563PuffArchie Massey Harvey Hillary33
41553ScrumpetNeale Jones Ed FitzGerald44
51500Liam Stacpoole Wayne Barnicoat55
61530Smash ItAndy FitzGerald Richard Dobson66
71544PamelaAndy Shaw Rob Struckett77
81531Eagle 2A Penman C Watson88
91555RoxanneMartin Jones Adam Lees99
101558DragonRobin Pascal Martin Pascal1010
111548The BeastJulian Pearson Dave1111
121546Jungle FireCharles Duchesne Adam Ovington1212
131554P Crockford J Elsby Hartman1313
141550BinkyTom Watkins James Salter1414
151527Blue FirePhilip McDanell Luke Boughton1515
161559TBAAndy Partington Tom PartingtonDNF17
171517PoppetG Yeoman J YeomanDNC18

Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Challenge Trophy:

PosSail NoBoat nameHelm CrewR1R2Net
11561MarilynDouglas Pattison Mark Tait112
21530Smash ItAndy FitzGerald Richard Dobson527
31559TBAAndy Partington Tom Partington257
41563PuffArchie Massey Harvey Hillary437
51544PamelaAndy Shaw Rob Struckett347
61523Tartan FrauleinKimball Morrison Jeremy Fowke7714
71500Liam Stacpoole Wayne Barnicoat9615
81558DragonRobin Pascal Martin Pascal6915
91546Jungle FireCharles Duchesne Adam Ovington11819
101548The BeastJulian Pearson Dave101020
111555RoxanneMartin Jones Adam Lees8DNC23
121488ElizabethDominic Van Essen High Maclean131124
131550BinkyTom Watkins James Salter12DNC27
141554P Crockford J Elsby HartmanDNFDNC30

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