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Unicorn National Championship at Stone Sailing Club

by Julius Mach 7 Aug 2018 13:09 BST 30 July - 3 August 2018
Gary Piper finishing a race during the Unicorn Nationals at Stone © Julius Mach

Unicorns began to gather over the weekend of 28 / 29 July to be welcomed by winds of around 30 knots so masts were left down and no practice took place. The winds had abated sufficiently by Monday to allow racing to take place.

The wind peaked just before the start of the first race and Oliver Boosey was caught out having to start the first race whilst inverted. All the boats finished unscathed although the helms were slightly the worse for wear. Dan Jarman revelled in the conditions and was followed by Gary Piper and William Dawson over the finish line.

A reduced fleet took to the water for the second race on a course which the race officer wisely set to avoid gybing. Jarman again excelled but was closely pursued by Dawson with Piper third. Richard Beke did well to finish in fourth place. Oliver again inverted and unfortunately tore his sail. Jarman was now a clear leader and hopeful of surrendering the capsize trophy which he won last year to Boosey the leading capsize trophy claimant.

Tuesday came and brought lighter winds which dropped further in the afternoon although gusts and wind shifts remained frequent. Race 3 saw some close racing, a little too close for Dawson as he sustained a hole in a hull. Beke sailed an excellent last leg to finish first having been well down the fleet with three legs to complete. Race 4 again had much place changing behind Dawson who having patched up his boat developed a huge lead only to sail towards the wrong mark at the start of the second lap allowing the whole fleet to sail past. Gary Piper slipped into the lead and held his place to the end.

The Unicorns decided to have a race on Wednesday, the rest day, as the forecast for the rest of the week was somewhat lacking in wind and it was felt desirable to ensure a discard. In light airs with a long run against the tide Piper triumphed with Julius Mach second and Dawson in third. Peter Toft, the most experienced sailor and a local, went for the north side of the run and was doing well until he encountered a sand spit and fell well back extricating himself from it.

On Thursday it was decided to try and get three races completed as the forecast for Friday morning was for little or no wind. The first race was started in a light breeze which died away to almost nothing and the race centred round who could make against the incoming tide and get round the leeward mark. In the end the rounding order round the mark turned out also to be the finishing order after two further legs. Piper and Jarman opted to cross the river twice and got better wind than those who opted not to cross the river. Dawson stayed on the north side of the river and opted for dead running rather than gybing downwind. The finishing order was Piper, Jarman and Dawson.

The sea breeze kicked in in the afternoon and two short races were achieved. It was now a beat against the incoming tide on a P shaped course. Owen Cox finally sorted out his borrowed Unicorn and finished second to Piper with Dawson third. The final race followed with Jarman coming first, Piper second and Dawson third.

The overall results showed Gary Piper to have overall with 8 points and Jarman second with 9 points. Dawson was third with 17 points. Fourth was Beke with 25 points and fifth Mach also with 25 points. Sixth was Cox with 29, seventh Toft with 39 and eighth Boosey with 41.

Very many thanks must be given to Wendy Robinson for getting all eight races completed in very difficult conditions.

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