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National 12 Gul Series at Royal Harwich Yacht Club

by Graham Camm 24 Jul 07:54 BST 20-21 July 2019
National 12 Gul Series at Royal Harwich © RHYC

Royal Harwich YC hosted the fourth event in the National 2019 Gul Series. There were six races to count and a separate Smugglers pursuit race on the Sunday morning combined with the other classes. The conditions were gusty and very shifty with the wind coming over the hills behind the club house.

The event witnessed the launch of some recently modified 12s with Angus Beyts sailing his Pipedream sporting a new double-bottom and set of wings and also Chris Mayhew trialling a winged rudder retro-fitted to his Final Chapter.

Conditions were fantastic (if a little testing at times) and were enjoyed by the many younger crews with Jack Gore crewing for Angus, Anya Camm crewing for John Meadowcroft, the father son combination of Antony and Rory Gifford making a guest appearance from Scotland and also Max Shiel and Bella Scott sailing together.

The race officer set a variety of courses over the weekend using the space on the river to the best advantage. Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne won the first race. The fleet was treated to a complete white out in the second race as a huge thunderstorm unleashed its wrath on the fleet, this didn't stop Graham & Zoe claiming another first however.

Fortunately the wind didn't get up too much and the returning sun soon dried off the fleet. In the third and final race on the Saturday the fleet were tightly packed as they approached the windward mark. There was some commotion as some of the fleet didn't spot the spreader mark for the run and had to return this allowed Jon Ibbotson and Rachel Smith to take the lead and build a nice gap behind them which they held to the finish.

The fleet was treated to live music on the club lawn in the evening and the youngsters in the fleet played "man hunt" until the late hours.

The wind was fickle on Sunday morning for the pursuit race, despite this around half the 12 fleet took part. Angus Beyts and Jack Gore had a 4 minute head start on the other 12s to allow for the extra decades their boat had on the rest of the fleet. The remainder of the 12s started just before the RS200 and Finns. It was neck and neck off the line with Tom & Robbie Stewart, Ian & Alex Gore and Graham Camm (now crewed by Rowan Copse) vying for the lead.

It was Graham & Rowan who popped out just ahead by the first mark. Steadily Graham & Rowan made their way through the fleet chased by the Gores and Stewarts as the bands of wind brought the boats back together. In the final few minutes the RS400 and Phantoms were planing up behind the National 12s at the head of the pursuit race but they didn't quite catch them allowing Graham & Rowan to take the prize and the Stewarts and Gores to take second and third.

The fourth race in the Gul series was started on Sunday afternoon. The sea breeze was now trying to fill in and as a result was fighting with the gradient breeze sending the wind around in circles. The race officer managed to get the fourth race off ok. David & Rowan Copse took to the right hand side on the first beat and picked up some gradient breeze which lifted and powered them into the lead around the first mark. They were closely followed by George & Lucy Finch and Stuart & Theo Walsh.

By the start of lap two Graham & Zoe had caught the leaders. Commotion was to follow however as a loud sound signal came from the yacht club indicating that a container ship was about to travel up the channel. The timing couldn't have been worse with the 12 fleet now on the run going through the channel. The Royal Harwich rules state that any boat crossing between the rescue boat and the ship will be disqualified from the event.

The leading three 12s made it in front without incident. The following boats had to radically alter course to try and make it ahead of the rescue boat pilot. The fleet was finally cut off at Chris & Nicole Mayhew who had to retrace their steps to go behind the ship. Graham & Zoe finally overtook the Copses to win the race.

The wind shifted massively at the start of the fifth race with the fleet reaching on port off the start line. Ian & Alex Gore led the way and rounded the windward mark in a clear lead. Unfortunately for them the race was then abandoned. The race officer struggled to reset the course with the wind continuing to shift around. Finally he got the fifth race off.

Tom & Robbie Stewart lead off the start line. They headed out on starboard to left of Pin Mill and picked up a nice port lift which took them into the mark. Graham & Zoe came into the windward mark behind the Stewarts, they kept the pressure on them for the next three laps but Tom & Robbie kept the lead to win the race.

Having run out of time the race office called it a day and abandoned the final race.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5Pts
1st3530Graham CammZoe Ballantyne11‑2125
2nd3540Jon IbbotsonRachel Smith‑6412512
3rd3544Tom StewartRobert Stewart427‑8114
4th3529Antony GiffordRory Gifford354‑9315
5th3525Ian GoreAlex Gore27(DNF)4417
6th3527Kevin IlesTanya Copse(DNF)3561125
7th3543John MeadowcroftAnya Camm586‑11625
8th3483Jon BrownRosie Davey76‑87828
9th3437Chris MayhewNicole Mayhew(DNC)9313732
10th3545Tom LeeJenefer Bugge8‑109101037
11th3513George FinchLucy Finch9(DNF)DNC3940
12th3476Andy WebbJosh Reason101110‑121243
13th3546Stuart WalshTheo Covi‑Walsh111311‑151449
14th3450Max ShielBella Stott121212‑141349
15th3457David CopseRowan Copse(DNC)DNCDNC5DNC62
16th2153Angus BeytsJack Gore(DNC)DNCDNC161569
17th3443John Thornton (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC76
17th3528Peter Miatt (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC76

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