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National 12 Gul Series 2018 Round-Up

by Zoe Ballantyne 19 Nov 2018 06:40 GMT
National 12 Gul Series at Salcombe © Sophie Mackey

The year didn't get off to a promising start for the National 12 GUL series 2018, as the weather conspired against us.

The first event at Burghfield was cancelled due to heavy winds, low temperatures and driving snow. Only two boats were foolhardy enough to take to the water, and it was soon decided that postponement until October was the sensible option. The second event, Trent Valley, had a different problem – too much water. Spring snow and rain meant that the river Trent was too flooded to safely sail in April and the event was postponed until May.

The Salcombe GUL event took place as usual on the first May bank holiday weekend in beautiful sunshine. The racing was typically Salcombe, with last minute reverses of position and nail-biting finishes, but was won convincingly by Tom & Robbie Stewart. Lashings of ice cream and the excellent Salcombe YC hospitality were enjoyed by all after racing.

Bad luck struck again for the Shoreham event in mid-May, as the club slipway had been damaged and the open meeting had to be cancelled. Instead, the fleet had another go at making it to Trent Valley. It was worth the wait for a gloriously sunny light wind day, with spectators sunbathing on the lawn as the fleet passed up and down the river. Graham Camm, variously crewed by wife Zoe and children Anya & Felix took first place in a China Doll design borrowed from the Turner Collection, with John & Catherine Sears in second and Gerald and Tanya Copsey in third place.

In July, 23 N12s journeyed to Royal Harwich for a perfect weekend of sunshine and light breezes. Despite Gerald (class chair) not quite making it on the water all weekend, a rudder left behind in Scotland and one helm departing from the boat unexpectedly, the majority of the fleet enjoyed champagne sailing. The traditional pursuit race was won on the Sunday by Jon & Sam Brown, proving that you don't have to have a T-foil to win races. Tom & Robbie won overall again, closely followed by Graham with various family crews in second and Steve & Jo Sallis in third.

The National Championships were hosted by Brixham YC, with excellent on and off the water organisation and warm hospitality. Seven races were held over four days with close racing throughout the fleet. The premier race of the championships, the Burton Cup (12 miles round a triangular course), was deservedly won by father and son team John & Dan Meadowcroft. It was a nail-biting finish to the nationals as it looked like there might not be enough wind to sail on the final day and the top two positions (Tom vs Graham) were very close. Eventually the wind filled in enough to get two races in and the overall winner was decided by the last race. Tom & Robbie won the race but Graham & Zoe took second place, which was enough for them to take the title. The infamous Burton Brick was won by Richard Elston and Duncan McGoldrick for gross navigational errors (who got lost on the way to Brixham because they thought it was near Plymouth!).

From the south coast, the fleet next travelled north to Solway for the Scottish championships and fifth GUL event. The event was dominated by Mark Simpson with son Toby and wife Emma crewing. Neil McInnes and Anne Stewart came second just ahead of Ian & Margaret Purkis on count-back.

Staying north, the sixth GUL event was at Ripon SC. The fleet experienced all possible wind conditions within one race, from gusts big enough to capsize N12 expert Phil David, to flat calms in the narrows. This kept the competitors on their toes all day (until it was time for the pie supper after racing). Ian & Alex Gore were triumphant overall, with Graham & Felix Camm in second place and Philip David & Emma Hampshire in third place.

The rescheduled Burghfield event took place in late October with a sprint racing format. The morning dawned with a glassy finish to the lake so racing was postponed in favour of a paper boat competition. Luckily the wind filled in for the afternoon and the race officer squeezed in six quick races. Jon Ibbotson & Rachel Smith put in a strong performance to win the event overall, with Jon & Sam Brown in second and John & Dan Meadowcroft in third place.

The final event of the GUL series 2019 took place at Northampton Sailing Club, with shifty and gusty conditions providing a challenge for the competitors. With four events to count, the winner of the event could clinch the series. In the end, following an unlucky capsize for Tom & Robbie in race 2, it was Graham & Zoe who took the overall win.

Tom & Robbie won the hotly contested family prize, with John & Dan Meadowcroft in second and David & Rowan Copse finishing a fantastic season in third place.

Angus Beyts, who has probably travelled more miles than anyone else in the fleet, and sailed with a whole range of crews, won the Admiral's Cup prize for single-bottomed boats.

Nigel & Chris White won the non-foilers prize, with George Finch & Lucy Homer in second and David & Rowan Copse in third.

The class would like to say a big thank you to GUL for their sponsorship support throughout 2018 and we look forwards to the next GUL series in 2019.

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameHelm & CrewClub
1Very Hungry CaterpillarGraham Camm& Zoe BallantyneBurghfield
2WhitebaitTom & Robert StewartWaldringfield/ RHYC
3Atomic KittenJon Ibbotson & Rachel SmithBurghfield
1WhitebaitTom & Robert StewartWaldringfield/ RHYC
2DB CooperJohn & Dan MeadowcroftUpper Thames
3EbbaDavid & Rowan CopseBurghfield
Admiral's Cup
1Mr Bill/ReflectionAngus Beyts & Peter Russell/Lucas Snellgrove/Bruce CopemanNewburgh
1CapriccioNigel & Chris WhiteBurghfield
2Silver LiningGeorge Finch & Lucy HomerRoyal Harwich
3EbbaDavid & Rowan CopseBurghfield

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