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Seafly National Championship at the Lymington Dinghy Regatta

by Tim Uren & John Claridge 20 Jul 2019 06:46 BST 13-14 July 2019
Seafly Nationals at the Lymington Dinghy Regatta © Paul French

The Seafly class returned to the South Coast for its National Championship over the weekend of the 13th and 14th of July - having a class start as part of the annual Lymington Regatta - jointly hosted by the Lymington Town and Royal Lymington sailing clubs.

The three local boats and visitors from as far as field as Bristol, Blakeney, Winchester and Chichester, enjoyed a fantastic weekend of sailing in the Western Solent. With the predominantly light, shifty winds and strong tides,the race committee did a brilliant job getting in the full schedule of three races each day on large trapezoid courses.

With brothers Robert and Will already entered, George Odling made great efforts to get the newly restored Seafly 640 out on the water, but was ultimately foiled by wrong size sails, so the much anticipated "battle of the three Odling brothers" was left to Robert and Will.

Race one, after some jostling on the start line saw John Claridge and Pete Sanders quickly come to the fore with Will Odling & Alan Collett in Zippidee - one of the three older boats - putting in a strong performance to finish second and John with daughter Chloe Martin third.

Race two had an equally contested start with Zippidee forced the wrong side of the starting mark! John and Chloe were first round the Windward mark, pulling out a big lead with John and Pete second. On the downwind leg John and Pete split gybes and found stronger wind on the western side of the course rounding the bottom mark well ahead and went on to take the race with John and Chloe second and Peter Blick and Ali Husband third.

Race three was a more complicated affair - the second lap for the Seaflys coinciding with the start of the delayed handicap race - resulting in a large number of boats competing for wind on the second downwind leg. John and Pete lead from the start but Tim & son Tom Uren (who was sailing in his first race) found extra wind and better tide to the right of the pack, cheekily sailing through to second with John and Chloe third. The Skailes also recorded their best result finishing in 6th place.

Sunday saw the wind and tide coming from the East, with boats heading inshore and up-tide as much as possible before a mad sideways crab to - hopefully - get around the windward mark. John and Pete judged it perfectly and went on to gain a commanding lead, Tim and Tom rounded second but were overtaken on the spinnaker legs by John today sailing with wife Pam Martin and finishing in that order.

Race five, with the sea breeze attempting to come in, the wind looked as if it was going to depart completely in race five, but held out just enough for the top boats to beat the tide and get round the Windward Mark; some of the back markers however in all the fleets really struggled. John and Pete took the gun, followed by John and Pam then Tim and Tom.

Race six, contrary to expectations the wind actually filled in and was probably the best breeze the competitors had all weekend. Although still shifty the tide was not such an important factor. John and Pete having already wrapped up the series, again managed to round the first mark ahead with John and Pam second and Peter Blake and Ali Husband third finishing in that order. The tired crews were all happy to return to shore for the free tea and doughnuts, as a reward for their efforts.

Overall the regatta and venue were a big hit: John and Pete regained the winner's trophy, class newcomers, John & Pam Martin, sailed consistently well to finish strongly in second place and Tim & Tom Uren showed some good consistency mid regatta to take third place by one point from Peter and Ali.

Overall Results:
If you took part in the Seafly nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st704John ClaridgePeter Sanders‑1111115
2nd705John MartinPam Martin‑32322211
3rd702Tim UrenBen Uren4‑5233517
4th701Peter BlickAli Husband‑53444318
5th620Will OdlingAlan Collett24‑555420
6th198Rupert OdlingGiles Odling67(DNC)76632
7th639Tom SkailesJulie Skailes(DSQ)6667DNC34
8th640George OdlingHarry Odling(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC45