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2000 class Millennium Series Round 4 at Thorney Island Sailing Club

by Miles Wade 18 Jun 2019 12:35 BST 15-16 June 2019
2000 Class Millennium Series at Thorney Island © Chris Cunningham

Twenty five boats assembled at Thorney Island, by courtesy of the Army Sailing Association and Thorney Island Sailing Club, to participate in a two-day Millennium series event on the 15th and 16th June.

Early high tides meant an early start with race briefing at 09:15 and the first race, using the Club start line under way just after 10:00. Matt Sargent, the Race Officer, was able to set an upwind downwind course in the Thorney Channel, reminding sailors of the 'room to tack' rule, as the upwind leg was against the tide requiring careful depth judgement to work up the muddy shoreline in 15 knots of breeze.

Jasper and Laura Barham set the early pace with Simon Horsfield and Katie Burridge involved in tacking and gybing duels throughout the race, a pattern that was to be repeated many times throughout the weekend. Their tacking duels were occasionally interrupted by Rob and Sarah Burridge upwind, using their tactical nous, and Kev O'Brien and Hannah South downwind, as they worked the gybing angles to stay on the plane. Jasper duly won the first race with Simon second and Rob third.

The Race Officer then moved the course out to the main harbour area, as the wind rose and horizontal rain inundated the fleet typical British June weather.

As the second race got under way the tide began to ebb and the wave sizes increased. With a slight starboard end bias, Jasper yet again set the pace with Simon and Rob putting him under pressure throughout. Meanwhile, positions were changing hands between Miles Wade and Gemma Burridge, Richard Curran and Addy Parrie, and Ian and Sarah Yardley cutting in amongst the leaders. Kev's speed downwind earned him his second fourth position while Rob was third, Simon second and Jasper first. A squall 25 knots then blew through the fleet at 12:30, challenging the late finishers so that by the third race the fleet had been whittled down to 16 boats.

An audible groan went up as the Race Officer put up the five laps board on the last race, which was conducted in challenging tidal and wind conditions, causing the spacer mark to drift by the third lap. Jasper and Simon continued their ding dong upfront and, by the end of the third lap the spacer mark was some 100 metres upwind of the top mark, having been carried by the tide. By the end of the fourth upwind leg, the spacer had disappeared. Jasper persevered down tide and upwind - eventually finding it on the Winner Bank, rounding it and returning, by which time everybody else had just rounded the top mark and headed for home.

Simon, Rob and Kevin finished 1, 2 and 3 on the water and Jasper, the only one having found the spacer mark, finishing right down the fleet. Confusion reigned at the end of the race as Matt Sargant began to unpick the various rules to determine the right outcome. As Race Officer, he was required to protest the whole fleet who had failed to round the spacer mark, leaving it to a hastily assembled protest jury to review the multiple redresses. The Committee reviewed the arguments of missing buoy and standing into danger and, by the next morning, had decided that the last recorded position at the downwind rounding on the fourth lap would stand. This put Simon first, Jasper second and Rob tucked in at third, with Jasper the overnight leader.

Sunday morning's racing dawned with overcast thunderous clouds, horizontal rain, force 4 gusting 5, with the forecast set to increase. Matt Sargent was unable to lay a course in the Thorney Channel because of the wind direction, so rounded Pilsey Point to set a course in the harbour again. He called the fleet afloat at 10:30 and racing got under way at 11:00 in 20 knots of wind and a smaller fleet 10 boats. Racing proved to be high speed and challenging with a few capsizes adding to the Race Officer's challenge.

With a starboard-end bias, the Committee Boat end was favoured in the fourth race. The fleet battled upwind; yet again the same pattern emerging with Simon proving his speed downwind with Jasper covering him effectively upwind. After 35 minutes racing at the end of the fourth lap, the Race Officer raised the shortened course flag, as the fleet descended at speed to the leward gate, Jasper, not seeing the shortened course flag, lowered his kite and rounded while Simon swept through to the finish line. Jasper quickly recognised his error and turned to finish second, Kev finishing third, hotly pursued through the gate by Miles.

With the wind increasing, a port-end bias with the tide ebbing at full strength at the pin-end, a melee was created at the start as Simon careered down the line seeking pin-end advantage. Jasper neatly luffed him over the line, taking himself over which meant that Miles popped like a cork out of a bottle at the start. Both Simon and Jasper re-rounded and were soon back among the mix. Miles led Kev at the first mark but Jasper and Simon gybed off early out of the tide and were able to get back in front. All four boats converged at maximum velocity towards the narrow leeward gate where nerves of steel were required to call the drop at the last moment.

Jasper started to stretch out in front so that by the final downwind leg he had enough of a lead to finish first and settle the regatta in his favour, with Simon and he on equal points. Jasper, clearly not wearing his glasses on the day, missed the shortened course flag and repeated his schoolboy error of dropping his kite and turning upwind once again, only to see Simon slip through behind him and finish with a flourish to win the race and the regatta. Miles found some excellent downwind speed on the final leg to finish third. Both Kevin and Miles had been occasionally challenged by Ed and Ruben Dodwell who showed remarkable fortitude throughout the racing with Ed's son Ruben performing exceptionally well as the sole child on the water.

Matt Sargent and the Army Sailing Association did an excellent job setting two races on the final day in testing conditions but, by 13:00, the wind strength had reached the upper limit for the 2000 Class Association and water was beginning to run dry, so the sixth race was abandoned and prize giving was held in Thorney Island Sailing Club clubhouse with Simon having just pipped it from Jasper, with Kev third. The Endeavour prize was awarded to Dan Crase and Bruce Macdonald who battled round stoicly.

A terrific, close-run event in exceptionally breezy conditions, as exhausted but exhilarated crews headed for home, looking forward to the next event.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st22334Simon HorsfieldKatie BurridgeASA‑221115
2nd2042Jasper BarnhamLaura BarnhamSBSC11‑2226
3rd22619Kev O'BrienHannah SouthRAFSA‑4443415
4th22316Miles WadeGemma BurridgeASA5‑654317
5th2204Ian YardleySarah YardleySWSC67‑86726
6th22632Ed DodwellRuben DodwellRAFSA‑10875828
7th21598Josie MeredithHannah MeredithPapercourt SC‑111098532
8th2458Rob BurridgeSarah BurridgeWeirwood SC333(DNC)DNC35
9th21102Chris BrownKaren ‑1411117635
10th2374Richard HudsonIan HudsonBough Beech SC856(DNC)DNC45
11th22630Ben FlowerdewLuisa MellmanASA91412(DNC)DNC61
12th21405Dan CraseBryce MacDonaldDorchester SC21171310(DNC)61
13th22547Mark FoleyLaura FoleySBSC151310(DNC)DNC64
14th22501Simon TurnerKirk LesterASA1916(DNF)9DNC70
15th22642Richard CurranAdi ParryASA715(DNF)DNCDNC74
16th21446Guy RussellClare CollettWest Wittering SC139(DNF)DNCDNC74
17th2587Guy BoswellJulie BoswellLlandegfedd SC1712(DNF)DNCDNC81
18th2248John BestJustine WhittakerLOSSC12(DNC)DNCDNCDNC90
19th2803Jonathan DannattPetrina GoodwinTISC16(DNC)DNCDNCDNC94
20th2077Andrew FrogleyIsabella FrogleyTISC18(DNF)DNCDNCDNC96
21st21041Ian FrogleyGraham FrogleyTISC20(DNC)DNCDNCDNC98
22nd22321Rachel SheridanGeoff LambertWilsonian SC22(DNC)DNCDNCDNC100
23rd21557James CameronIan CaswellWeirwood SC(DNF)DNFDNCDNCDNC104
23rd21464Martin SweetPenny SweetTISC(DNF)DNCDNCDNCDNC104
23rd21746Nigel HarleyTom HarleyTISC(DNF)DNCDNCDNCDNC104

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