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National 12 Burton Week 2018 at Brixham Yacht Club

by George Finch 28 Aug 2018 07:22 BST 18-21 August 2018
National 12 Burton Week 2018 at Brixham day 1 © Gareth Fudge /

Day 1 – Races 1 & 2

As a slightly reduced fleet of 28 National 12s arrived at Brixham for the 2018 edition of Burton Week and sixth Gul Series, we were greeted by a friendly and well organised clubhouse, even if there were a number of steps from the dinghy park to the bar. We were sharing the shoreside with the OKs for two days, as their championships were running Thursday to Sunday. After an efficient and informative briefing, the N12s were cleared to launch, ready for a 14:00 start.

Surprisingly for the 12s, the first race got underway without an individual or general recall. The first course for the week was Course A - Triangle / Sausage / Triangle. The wind was more than forecast, with gusts of more than 20 kts.

Almost as soon as the race started, the competition at the front of the fleet was evident with Graham Camm (crewed by Zoe Ballantyne) in N3530 and Tom Stewart (crewed by Robbie Stewart) in N3544 dominating. Tom and Robbie won the first race. Jeremy Hartley (crewed by Luke Lazell) in N3519 finished 3rd. Unfortunately, during this race, Nigel White's (crewed by Chris White) in N3445 rudder blade split in two on the first reach, meaning they had to retire. David Copse (crewed by Rowan Copse) in N3457 sailed to the start area but decided the breeze was too much for Rowan's first sail on the sea.

For Race 2, the PRO decided to keep the same course and get the fleet away as quick as possible. Remarkably, once again, the fleet all had a clean start, but the wind on the first beat tricked a few of the boats. A number of helms over compensated for the tide and ended up reaching to the first mark if they'd chosen to go left on the beat. Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne had a great understanding of the shifting breeze and won, followed by Tom and Robbie Stewart. Jon Ibbotson (crewed by Rachel Smith) in N3540 finished 3rd. Unfortunately, Jon Meadowcroft (crewed by Dan Meadowcroft) in N3543 retired due to an issue with their boom and Ed Storey (crewed by Tom Storey) in their new Dead Cat Bounce N3549 also had to retire.

As the fleet came ashore, aided by a highly efficient slipway team, it was time for Brixham Yacht Club to feed the OKs and the N12s with their gourmet barbeque. Unfortunately, the fire alarm hadn't been turned off and the wind was blowing smoke into the yacht club. The benefit of this was that Brixham Yacht Club now know how quickly the Fire Brigade will arrive, especially if there is a BBQ cooking!! After this, the fun and games really started with a N12 vs OKs Games Night. The 12s put forward a number of younger competitors which appeared to help the cause, with the N12s dominating at Draughts, Jenga, Bannagrams, Triominoes, Cards and Twister. Thanks to the OKs for jointly organising the social night which was great fun for all the family!

Day 2 – Sir William Burton Cup Race

This race consists of 4 laps of a triangle, each leg of which is a mile in length. The race also finishes at the windward mark, so there are a 5 mile long beats to contend with!

Competitors were gathering in the dinghy compound to the news that the PRO was holding the fleet ashore indefinitely. The wind in the bay was gusting over 35kts. It was decided that the OKs would launch and race first and then the National 12s, to ensure enough safety cover. Someone suggested that the wind had settled to 15-20 kts, so the fleet rigged and launched. As the fleet exited Brixham Harbour, we all questioned where the '15-20' kts had come from – it was more like 25-35! At this point a few of the fleet turned back or decided not to launch. As soon as those keen (or mad?) enough to race were in the start area, the PRO got underway with the 5-minute gun.

Everyone was holding back on the line and began fighting the white crested waves and strong gusts as the start canon was fired. All clear, including Jeremy Hartley (crewed by Luke Lazell) in N 3519 who was capsized at this point. The Hijack design of National 12 was showing its strength, with John Meadowcroft (crewed by Dan Meadowcroft) in N3543 rounding the windward mark first, followed by Nick Copsey (crewed by Jo Sallis) in N3548. Graham Camm (crewed by Zoe Ballantyne) in N3530 were in 3rd place. As the 12s rounded the first mark, it wasn't clear if the fleet would represent lemmings and we'd all bear away, nose dive and then fall in. The confidence of the top 5 or 6 boats showed the rest of the fleet that it'd be ok, and all the fleet made the bear away! Ian Gore (crewed by Alex Gore) in N 3525 wasn't happy with their position after first leg so went for the first reach all guns blazing – outhaul off, dangly pole on, board up, leeward shroud off. The result was of course a capsize, but fair play for trying! Nigel White (crewed by Chris White in N3445) were powering along the reach but their speed also resulted in the inevitable. After a 2nd swim, they decided to retire. By the end of the first lap, Jeremy Hartley (crewed by Luke Lazell) had sped round the course into 9th place, flying past George Finch (crewed by Lucy Homer) in N3513 as if the latter were standing still!

If Lap 1 was the exciting lap, Lap 2 was the brutal one. Nick Copsey (crewed by Jo Sallis) were reaching so fast, Jon Meadowcroft thought they were about to sail into the lead and over the horizon. And just as Nick said "I've never been this fast in a National 12 before", his rudder downhaul snapped, causing the T-foil blade to pop up. The force of this caused both wings to break of instantly and unfortunately Nick and Jo were forced to retire. At this point, Kevin Iles (crewed by Katy Meadowcroft) in N 3527 also suffered equipment failure – the universal joint on his tiller broke. Rosie White (crewed by Harry De Greeff) in N 3473 also opted to retire due to the unforgiving conditions. Ed Storey (crewed by Tom Storey) in N3549 also retired on Lap 2. The 2nd lap continued its brutality as Simon Ballentine (crewed by Karen Ballentine) in N 3431 capsized on the 1st reaching leg.

For the 3rd and 4th laps, the wind decreased slightly (or did the sun just shine a bit more?) On the fourth and final gybe, Patrick Hamilton (crewed by Isobel Stewart) in N 3502 managed to capsize, meaning the race for the first non-foiler was re-ignited with George Finch (crewed by Lucy Homer). On the final beat, there was close racing between Mike Hoyle (crewed by Nicholas Bright) in N3537, Simon and Karen and Patrick and Isobel. All 3 were swapping places, making Patrick and Isobel nervous as George and Lucy were gaining on them.

John Meadowcroft (crewed by Dan Meadowcroft) in N3543 won, with Graham and Zoe behind and Tom Stewart (crewed by Robbie Stewart) in N3544 following in 3rd. Jon Ibbotson (crewed by Rachel Smith) in N3540 finished 4th, with Jeremy Hartley (crewed by Luke Lazell) coming from last over the line at the start to 5th by the end of the race. Hats off to all 15 helms and crewed who finished the gruelling race, including first non-foiler Patrick Hamilton (crewed by Isobel Stewart) in N3502 and first Admirals Cup and U21, Ollie Meadowcroft (crewed by Alex Pausey) in N3320.

As the fleet came ashore, all the sailors were greeted by class chairman Gerald Copsey who was handing out pimms, a welcome change to the sea water we'd all consumed over the past 2.5 hours! The fun didn't stop here though, as a fishing trawler had managed to pick up an unexploded WW2 bomb and brought it into the harbour. Most of the younger crews and children were more excited about this than how their parents had done in the Burton Cup!

After a few hours rest (or full on sleep for some), it was time for the Burton Dinner, where the Burton Cup and subsidiary trophies are presented, including the Burton Brick. After Brixham Yacht Club had provided a fantastic 3 course meal, the Burton Cup was presented to Jon and Dan Meadowcroft.

The Burton Brick brought a number of humorous nominations. Some of note are:

  • NTOA Hon Secretary Janet Bloor – for refusing to evacuate the Race Office when asked by the Bomb Squad, as she politely suggested the safety of those sailing was a greater concern.

  • Patrick Hamilton and Isobel Stewart – for safely managing 3 out of 4 roundings of the gybe mark, only to capsize on the final gybe of the day!

  • Angus Beyts and Lucas Snellgrove – for heading north on the A1 after staying overnight in Newcastle and then finding the narrowest streets in Brixham, getting Angus' N12 stuck on a corner and holding up traffic, only to find out Lucas had entered 'Brixham' in the Sat Nav instead of Brixham Yacht Club!

  • Nick Copsey and Jo Salis – for applying the brakes whilst reaching on the 2nd lap and then feeding the rudder wings to the fishes.

  • Richard Elston and Duncan McGoldrick (1) – for capsizing in Brixham Harbour, where the wind was a lot calmer than during the Burton Cup Race!

  • Richard Elston and Duncan 'Judy' McGoldrick (2) – Winner of the Burton Brick – for taking 6 hours to drive from Bristol to Brixham. Only when they arrived in Plymouth did they look at the map and then realise Brixham wasn't near Plymouth at all.

Day 3 – Races 4 & 5

For Race 4, the PRO decided to use Course C – a trapezoid. The 5-minute gun went, then the four, then there was a postponement. The 5-minute gun went again, then the four, then there was a postponement. It was one of those days when the wind swings 30 degrees during the 5-minute countdown. On the 3rd attempt the fleet got away and those who initially sailed left benefited. Ollie Meadowcroft (crewed by Alex Pausey) in N3320 beat his dad and brother John and Dan Meadowcroft to the first mark!

Graham and Zoe dominated and won Race 4, which felt slightly processional, if a quick race. Tom and Robbie Stewart who initially went right, caught up to 5th place. Jeremy and Luke finished 2nd, with Jon Ibbotson and Rachel Smith in 3rd. Ian and Alex Gore finished 4th.

For Race 5, the PRO changed the course to Course D – Sausage / Triangle / Sausage. After a general recall, Flag U was used which kept the fleet behind the line. Tom Stewart and Graham and Zoe were battling it out at the front, until there was an incident forcing Graham and Zoe to do turns. It wasn't until the next beat that they realised they'd only done a 360 and not a 720 and thus retired when they came ashore. John and Dan Meadowcroft finished 2nd, with Kevin Iles and Katy Meadowcroft in 3rd. Jeremy and Luke were 4th.

Day 4 – Races 6 & 7

The competitors were initially told to hurry up and get afloat, until they were then postponed onshore. There was little if any wind in the harbour and even less out in the bay. Just as Gerald Copsey said it was unlikely there would be any sailing on the final day, he received a call from the committee boat who informed him a sea breeze was filling in and there was now a constant 5kts of wind.

As the competitors stopped sunbathing and started rigging, the wind was building to probable champagne sailing conditions. Course C was chosen by the PRO and off the fleet went. Graham and Zoe continued their excellent sailing and took the bullet, followed by Tom and Robbie in 2nd and Jeremy and Luke in 3rd. Ian and Alex Gore took their third 4th place of the week. It was now down to the last race to decide who would be the 2018 National Champion- Graham and Zoe or Tom and Robbie.

Nigel and Chris White in N3445 displayed some fantastic sailing to finish 10th and 1st non-foiler, with David and Rowan Copse in 13th and 2nd non-foiler behind them. George Finch and Lucy Homer in N3513 battled with Ollie Meadowcroft and Alex Pausey during the race, but finished in front, taking 3rd non-foiler and finalising their position overall as 1st non-foiler for the week.

The 5-minute gun for the final race of Burton Week started just before the time limit of 1355 as per the SI's. Once again, U flag was displayed at the 4-minute gun, but the fleet had a clean start. Sailing Course D, the fleet was kept close together, allowing for a lot of places to be swapped after the first beat which favoured anyone who had gone right. After the 3rd lap, it was Tom and Robbie who won, with Graham and Zoe in 2nd, followed by John and Dan Meadowcroft in 3rd. Kevin Iles (crewed by Katy Meadowcroft) in N3527 finished 4th. For the final race, Tom Storey took over as helm from his Dad and finished a very credible 11th place.

The fleet then endured a long beat back into Brixham Harbour, before packing the boats away and attending the prize giving which was promptly started by Michal Brookman and Gerald Copsey. Thanks to all at Brixham Yacht Club who made Burton Week 2018 run like clockwork and ensured the sailors had a fantastic time on and off the water.

Once again Burton Week has showed that National 12s are an incredibly exciting 2 person dinghy to sail and perfect for those looking to sail with their children or partners, whatever your age! Head over to today to get started on your N12 journey.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the National 12 nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoHelmCrewBoat NameClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7Pts
13530Graham CammZoe BallantyneVery Hungry CaterpillarBurghfield S C212129129
23544Tom StewartRobert StewartWhitebaitRoyal Harwich Y C123512110
33519Jeremy HartleyLuke LazellDead Cat BounceStokes Bay S C365243522
43540Jon IbbotsonRachel SmithAtomic KittenBurghfield S C634356627
53543John MeadowcroftDan MeadowcroftD B CooperUpper Thames S C8291925328
63525Ian GoreAlex GoreMogUp River Y C457464730
73527Kevin IlesKaty MeadowcroftSnagglepussRya7429638432
83532Gavin WillisClara DawkinsF’in BoatBristol Corinthian Y C108291097852
93545Tom LeeJenefer BuggeA Wood And A SheepBurghfield S C998715161058
103473Rosie WhiteHarry De G/ Tanya C Max Factor Sutton Bingham S C1111298109958
113526Christian DayCharlotte StewartCatch The SunSalcombe Y C121061511141265
123537Mike HoyleNicholas BrightLolaSalcombe Y C21129148111468
133431Simon BallantineKaren BallantineZippySalcombe Y C1314101314151879
143513George FinchLucy HomerSilver LiningRoyal Harwich Y C1413121813171685
153320Ollie MeadowcroftAlex PauseyQuasimodoUpper Thames S C1816131616192198
163549Ed StoreyTom StoreyIn The RedYorkshire Dales S C292929117121199
173502Patrick HamiltonIsobel StewartCarbonaraBurwain S C15291122191815100
183445Nigel WhiteChris WhiteCapriciosaBurghfield S C29292912121013105
193429Rob StarlingHolly StarlingFools GoldBurghfield S C20172917182020112
203406Nigel HudsonFreya HudsonWhizz BangBartley Green S C19181421212129114
213547Dare BarryEvan JacksonThe Ultimate PuddingRoyal Victoria Y C16292920172219123
223291Richard ElstonDuncan McgoldrickWhite RiotRoyal Harwich Y C23201525222322125
233457David CopseRowan CopseEbbaBurghfield S C29292919201317127
243548Nick CopseyJoanne SallisAll Tied UpStokes Bay S C572929292929128
253231Angus BeytsLucas SnellgroveMr BillNewburgh S C24212923232424139
263521Alan BeetonGeorge Rowland Man-o-warBurghfield S C22192924242929147
273501Neal LillywhiteFreya LillywhiteSilverfinBurghfield S C17152929292929148
283329David DownsRos DownsSir GawainTata Steel S C29292929292523164

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