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The Cruising Village 2021 - LEADERBOARD
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GRP Repair by Pete & Penni Vincent

Redwing Championship at Centre Nautique de Plérin

by John Banks 23 Sep 2018 07:10 BST 26-31 August 2018

This is the second time the National Redwing Class has visited the wonderful venue of Tournemine, Côtes-d'Armor, Brittany - the first time being in 2014.

The Championships were organised by the association of Le Grand Léjon who have two Redwings at the moment (numbers 220 and 22) in conjunction with Centre Nautique de Plérin.

On Saturday 25th August, crews arrived and rigged with 14 boats from the UK and one from the local club. There was a briefing and reception to welcome the crews and for people to renew friendships.

Day 1 - Sunday

Due to a forecast of little wind, no race was held and crews were free to tweak their boats. Most people however, took the opportunity to visit the beautiful local area which includes the close by towns of St Brieuc, St Malo to the east and harbours such as Binic and St Quay Portrieux and Paimpol to the NW.

Day 2 - Monday

Race 1 - With 5 seconds to go, Peter Kinver (250) thought he had found a decent gap on the start line when suddenly a boat crossed at speed in front of queuing boats from right to left, clipping both Mike Foulkes (253) and Peter in the process leaving them hemmed in. There was no option other than to tack off, weave through the other starters and head out to the right of the course. By the time the fleet had got fairly settled, Angus (249) had established an early lead, closely followed by Keith (251), Arthur (243), Jack (240), Peter (250) and Colin (245). Keith was fast down the reaches and overtook Angus to reach the leeward mark first.

The wind during the race was variable in both direction and strength reaching a nice breeze at times but patchy in places and some boats lost out in the holes.

At the start of the second beat, Arthur took a flyer to the right and Colin took a flyer to the left leaving the rest of the front bunch working up through the middle. Arthur reached the mark first followed by Angus, Keith, Peter and Jack. Keith overtook Angus on the reach again and Jack overtook Peter.

The American dude, Cecil (246) sailed with the Jinx, Geoff the bolt, who stepped in due to Hedley feeling unwell in the dinghy park. However, their race was short lived due to gear failure.

It was great to see everyone at sea, especially Morgan Streeper who at 15 was the youngest helm in the fleet sailing Paul's brand new 254 (with a very commendable final overall placing of 10th). This is the latest boat Clifford has built and unfortunately will be the last. What a legend.

The exciting final beat saw the lead change hands several times in the shifty and sometimes light conditions. This at the front and there was also big changes mid fleet. However, with the help of a wind shift at the end of the beat Peter came out in front with Angus following very closely. Arthur, Keith, Jack and Colin not far away

With a breeze following the leaders the final reach was hectic as the boats all closed up and at the leeward mark Angus was pressuring Peter. Arthur lost out to Jack who slipped though at the mark. Keith lost his mainsheet and allowed Colin to whip through and all made a hectic dash to the finish line.

The final order of the first six was Peter, Angus, Jack, Arthur, Colin and Keith.

Day 3 - Tuesday

Race 2 - Wind Northerly force 2 blowing straight onto the beach - and it was sunny and warm!

Race for the Babbacombe Trophy started at 13:00 and got away first time with the usual suspects showing at the front.

Angus and Eric (249) started mid line just below Jack & Ivan (240), they pulled out ahead and tacked across to get out to the right side of the course which was thought to be favourable considering the tide.

At the windward mark, Angus and Eric (249) rounded first, followed by Colin & Alex (244) then Keith and Ned (251)

Colin & Alex closed up towards Angus and Eric at the start of the first reach before Angus and Eric pulled away again into the gybe mark. This left a four boat chasing pack in pursuit down the broader second reach.

The upwind leg on the second lap split the fleet across the course with lots of place changes. The wind was shifty here and tacking with the wind changes became very important. As they reached the top of the course Angus and Eric were still in the lead now followed by Jack and Ivan.

Jack and Ivan found good speed on the last reach and closed up towards Angus and Eric. However, aided by sailing a very good beat to the finish. Angus and Eric tacked to cross Jack and Ivan, tacked again to cover them and held out and was first to the finish line.

Day 4 - Wednesday

Wednesday was to have been a lay day but was used to catch up on the race missed on Sunday with two races back to back

Race 3 - A welcome SW 10 -12 knot breeze filled in as 15 boats made for the start. No 'Grand Lejon' today, but a stout GRP Committee launch. A short line set, 5-minute postponement and the fleet were generally away on starboard tack in shore with a few tacking away for clean air.

Peter and Joe (250) were going well until their starboard trapeze wire gave way. Joe knitted wire and rope, before pursuing the whole fleet.

Angus and Eric (249) were first to the windward mark, then Jack and Ivan (240), Colin and Alex (245), Keith and Ned (251) and Arthur and Tamsin (243). This group pulled clear and positions were maintained to the end of the first lap.

Jack, 240, determinedly attacked Angus's weather, on the second lap downwind, resulting in a luffing match and a 720 penalty for Jack. This left Keith, to take the rhumb line and then led at the leeward mark.

In the increasing breeze, places to windward were hard won, with planning off wind. Keith led to the finish. Angus second, Jack third, Colin forth and Arthur fifth. Paul and Tristan (252) in sixth, just ahead of a good recovery by Peter and Joe. Then Ben and Toby Hicks (205) continuing their much improved placing's this year. The 2 latest boats, Mike and Yves (253) and Morgan and Paul (254) raced hard finishing respectively 9th and 10th. Good competitive sailing was enjoyed throughout the fleet, with Richard and Keith in 'Kittiwake' No.2, Steel plate rigged, last but not least.

Race 4 - The race committee wasted no time in re-configuring the course for the change in wind and tide before the second race of the day and the fleet got away first time.

Jack & Ivan (240) got off to a flying start heading off to the middle left of the upwind leg. Many of the fleet headed to the right, Angus & Eric (249) and Colin & Alex (244) took chase to the right half way up the leg. Angus and Eric noticed the windward mark was further left than most had anticipated and tacked back bang on the starboard lay-line. Jack & Ivan crossed ahead but hadn't spotted the lay-line and carried on for several more boat lengths before tacking and giving chase.

Angus & Eric managed to keep a healthy lead down the reaches and then sailed the upwind legs maintaining loose cover over Jack & Ivan who were being slowly caught by the two Kinver's (250 and 243) and Keith and Ned (251). This was repeated on the next lap but the pack finally caught Jack & Ivan (240) with Peter & Joe (250) and Keith & Ned moving up to second and third respectively. These positions were held down the reaches.

On the final upwind leg to the finish Angus & Eric took the win, Peter & Joe took second to start a charge up the leader board. Keith and Ned just held off R240 Jack & Ivan on the run in to the line to keep alive their hopes of a top three finish with Jack and Ivan finishing in fourth.

Day 5 - Thursday

Thursday dawned - a two race day with the race committee having brought race 6 forward a day as the forecast was for no wind on the Friday.

Race 5 - Mathematically any of the top 5 could still win the series, but Lyonesse sailed by Angus Cook and Eric Evans of North Devon YC (249) held a significant lead at the top, having never finished outside of the top two. Also by having won half of the races so far, were the odds on favourites to take the series barring a disaster, by needing a third or better from the remaining two races.

Initially there was a little more breeze than forecast for the start of race 5 and the fleet got away cleanly in a nice force 3 from the NW.

There were varying approaches to the first upwind leg - some favouring the right hand side that had paid earlier in the week - but the tide conditions were now much different. Most of the front runners made it up the middle with Jack and Ivan (240) looking strong half way up the leg with Angus & Eric (249) crossing out under their stern looking for a break on the right hand side.

As the fleet converged on the first mark, those that had stayed left benefitted, Arthur & Tamsyn (243) and Jack & Ivan (240) arrived more or less together and duelled to be first around the buoy. Arthur & Tamsyn (243) missed the lay line and in so doing had to put in a couple of extra tacks allowing Jack & Ivan to round first followed by Angus & Eric.

These two boats extended out from the chasing pack of usual suspects that comprised the top six in the series. As they arrived at the leeward mark Jack & Ivan headed off to the right on port initially. This left an opening for Angus & Eric, they tacked as soon as they rounded the buoy and pushed out on starboard in clean air. The chasing pack all pushed a little right also to clear air before tacking. From here Angus & Eric manged to keep way on as the breeze dropped and pulled out ahead of the fleet and then found the new breeze first. That was converted into a very secure lead of over a minute by the end of the upwind leg with Jack & Ivan retaining second but the chasing pack had closed the gap.

Angus & Eric held their lead down the two reaches and had the luxury of being able to cover Jack & Ivan at all times on the third beat.

These positions were held down the reaches. Angus & Eric took first place and were jubilant to win the National title for the first time and especially with a race to spare. It is noteworthy that this was the first time for a non-Looe boat in more than two decades to take the championship. Jack & Ivan took second, and retaining second place in the series, with Colin & Alex third.

Other notable results included 15 year old Morgan Steeper's fifth race at the helm of R254 achieving a commendable 9th place and his best result of the series.

Race 6 - With zero wind forecast for the Friday race 6 was sailed immediately after Race 5, Having won the mornings race and secured the championship Angus (249) gave the stick to Eric for the final afternoon race.

The race started with a little more wind than the earlier race but many boats seem to have been caught napping as only 5 boats were on the line when the starting gun went. The rest of the fleet followed after about half a minute, with a lot of shouting as one appears to have hit the committee boat. In the end most got away cleanly and did well up the first beat.

Both Peter Kinver and Joe Palfery (250) and Keith and Ned Buchanan (251) arrived at the windward mark neck and neck. Unfortunately for Keith he was on port tack, tried to squeeze in and lee bow 250 round the mark but did not quite make it. While Keith did his turns for impeding Peter, Colin (245) then Jack (240) slipped past and followed Peter down the first reach. These first four boats featured for all of the race with Peter leading all the way. Colin managed to close the gap on the final beat but Peter managed to tack off for the windward mark just in the nick of time and then pulled out a decent lead down the final two reaches and short beat to finish first with Colin second.

Meanwhile on the final reach it appears Keith and Jack got tangled up with Jack coming out of it best and finishing third with Keith fourth.

Eric at the helm of 249 this time finished not far behind in fifth and Arthur (243) sixth. The fleet were all fairly close and there were some good battles for the remaining places.

When Christine Nichol (221) crossed the finish line, her crew Daniel Thiery known for his daily swimming activities with Jack le Breton, found the pull of the sea too much. He missed the toe straps and fell out of the boat and had a short swim back to the waiting Redwing.

Day 6 - Friday

Today was a free day for packing up, meeting up with friends, enjoying the warm sunshine and sightseeing.

Competitors and friends gathered at 17.30 in the club for the prize giving. After this were speeches of thanks for all the hard work members had put in to welcome and cater for the visitors and for the Race Committee and Rescue Crews.

Thanks to Rick Staples and Andy Cooper from Bristol Avon Sailing Club who trailed Rick's 7m RIB over from the UK. This provided additional rescue cover, a platform for Philippe to take some stunning photographs and for others to view the racing for the third year in a row.

Also noted was the wonderful renewal of friendships established between the Redwing entourage from the UK with people of similar minds from le Grand Lejon and Club Nautique de Plérin. This was ably demonstrated by the interaction of crews such as in Redwing 221 where Daniel Thiery and Gilles Saudreau sailed with Christine Nichol after her helm hurt his foot on the first day and Yves Trouinard sailed with Mike Foulkes in 253 for the whole week.

After the prize giving, people moved off to a marvellous venue for le Repas des équipages et Musique.

What a wonderful week and we all look forward to 2022 when it is planned to hold the Championships again at C.N.Plérin. This will also coincide with the 30th anniversary of the founding of Le Grand Léjon


Thanks to the winning crews of each race for providing first hand details and information of the racing to help me put together this report.

All photographs are courtesy of Philippe Saudreau and are gratefully acknowledged.

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

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewClubNatR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1249LyonesseAngus CookEric EvansNDYC / BCYCGB21211‑57
2250Bald EaglePeter KinverJoe PalferyLooe SCGB15‑724113
3240Cock of the RockJack PopeIvan JaycockLooe SCGB323‑42313
4244DragonColin CrabbAlex RichardsonLooe SCGB534‑53217
5251ShagKeith BuchananNed BuchananScillyGB‑64136418
6243Celtic WarriorArthur KinverTamsin KinverLooe SCGB4‑6565626
7252Red KitePaul DunnTristan WearingLooe SCGB9‑11677736
8205SpiritBen HicksToby HicksScillyGB77888‑938
9253White FalconMike FoulkesYves TrouinardLooe SC / C.N.PlérinGB8891010‑1645
10254SongbirdMorgan SteeperPaul SteeperLooe SCGB101010‑1191049
11246NightingaleCecil Du ValleMartin HeadleyLooe SCGB‑16912911853
12178VenusCarol ShaveJake BuchananScillyGB11‑131312121159
13221DiscretionJohn Banks *Christine NicholPz S C. * / B A S CGB / F*12‑141114131262
14220PipitJack Le BretonJean‑Claude CamarC.N.PlérinF13121413‑161365
152KittiwakeRichard SpillerKeith CockrellDorsetGB14‑151515141472

* John Banks helm race 1. Christine Nichol helm & Daniel Thiery (C.N.Plérin) crew races 2, 3, 5 & 6. Gilles Saudreau (C.N.Plérin) helm & Christine Nichol crew race 4.

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