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63rd Shearwater National Championships at Brightlingsea Sailing Club - Overall

by Sam Vaughan 21 Aug 21:18 BST 19 August 2019
Shearwater National Championships at Brightlingsea © James Willmott

Day 3 of the 63rd Shearwater Nationals dawned with a slightly grey outlook with rain in the forecast, but the assembled sailors were more excited by the time the boats arrived at the race course.

Race 6 got under way in 10 knots of breeze. Carbon Footprint led up the first beat with Jessabelle in close pursuit. The breeze built through the race and Carbon Footprint using there deck sweeper mainsail showed how fast it can be, extending their lead through the race. The tide became a factor on the second beat, and this allowed So Tango to catch back up with the leading duo. The final downwind leg loomed, and all was to play for as the leading three boats in very close contention. Varying options on the run led to the race been won by Carbon Footprint from Jessabelle and So Tango.

Race 7 with the breeze building, the fleet were away from the start clean, even with a very congested pin end. Crowns led from the pin and pushed left looking for the most favourable tide. Jessabelle and So Tango went off to chase the leader, pushing the lead boat hard. On the first reach, which was perfectly set for the conditions the leaders punched out to further into the lead. One of the most interesting parts of Shearwater sailing, is the gybing of the Symmetric Spinnaker. Technique and experience make for ease of gybing and was certainly seen at the gybe mark as all the boats gybed perfectly to extend there lead. The next lap came and the breeze freshened and that deck sweeping sail came to the front again on Carbon Footprint. They came through the fleet to get into the top three. On the final run Crowns fought back to the lead, followed by Carbon Footprint and So Tango.

Race 8 started in similar conditions and So Tango punched out ahead to lead at the windward mark. Carbon Footprint were showing even more speed than in the last race, to be in second. These two boats sailed round in close proximity to have a really close race. Just behind, two boats were having another battle for third, Crowns sailed by Nigel and Sarah Stuart were being very firmly tested by their daughter Chloe Stuart sailing Simsek with Darren Tulley. The two battles closed in on each other on the final run to see who would come out on top in this race. So Tango went right followed by Carbon Footprint, Simsek down the middle and Crowns left. Speeds were similar as they all converged on the last mark of the course, So Tango were ahead, followed by Carbon Footprint, Crowns and Simsek. This is how the race finished, as close as it started.

Going into the final day, all was to play for, with the top three boats all within three points of each other and anybody still with the chance of winning the nationals. The day dawned with beautiful sunshine, and what was going to be a day of champagne sailing.

Race 9 got away with 14 knots of breeze and Genesis leading up the first beat with Carbon Footprint hot on the heels of the leader. Jessabelle came through on the reach to interfere with the leaders, and this allowed Crowns to catch up and come to play in the fight for the podium. The next lap loomed with more breeze and a shift allowing the fleet to compress. Crowns read the course the best and managed to steal the lead from Genesis, and they went into a battle for the lead. The close racing between these two boats allowed Carbon Footprint to split the top two. On the final downwind, Crowns held the lead, second went to Carbon Footprint and Genesis in third and they finished in this order

The final championship race of the series got away with all still to play on who could be the national champion. Crowns or Carbon Footprint who would come out on top. Jessabelle led up the first beat and had Genesis hot on their transom. Carbon Footprint were in the pack, and had a lot of work to do to come out on top. Crowns were in third, and this allowed Jessabelle to continue to lead from Genesis. The race continued in this way with the pack closing, Jessabelle managed to finish there series with a win, followed by Genesis and Crowns. This third place for Crowns and a fifth for Carbon Footprint allowed the championship to be sealed by Crowns.

Four fantastic days of sailing, with absolutely excellent race management allowed Crowns to win by four points in a hard fought championship with nothing been left on the table by any of the sailors. Thanks must got to the Race office and his team from Brightlingsea Sailing Club and the welcome and support from the club for the championship.

Overall Results: (top three, 10 races)

1st Crowns, 15pts
2nd Carbon Footprint, 19pts
3rd So Tango, 20pts

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