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Harken 29er Grand Prix at Weymouth & Portland Sailing Academy

by Monique Vennis-Ozanne 12 Sep 17:12 BST 7-8 September 2019
Harken 29er Grand Prix at Weymouth © 29er class

It was with a sense of anticipation that 63 29er pairs rigged up in the WPNSA boat park for the inaugaural Harken GP for the 2019/2020 season. The scene was set, and the gravity of the event not understated - a selector for the RYA Winter Youth squad, a valuable chance to get some racing experience at the 2020 Worlds venue, and the chance to test out recently forged partnerships for the first time.

Many brand new teams were welcomed for their first event, with notable credit to the huge exodus of Topper sailors this year (definitely trumping the Fevas) - perhaps looking to follow in the footsteps of the successes of other Topper alumni in recent years.

With a shifty and chilly northerly wind forecast, the sailors, looking rather miffed that the dress code "suns out guns out" doesn't apply in Weymouth and only in Garda, did their best to launch on time - the PRO insisting that he would be starting us on time regardless of the attendance on the line. Despite our venerable beach master Nia also doing her best to encourage the sailors into their extra layers, a fair few stragglers were traipsing out into the Bay as the 11:55 start time loomed, so a brief delay ensued.

The fleets were split into two, creating a headache for the organisers given the number of swaps and new entries in the fleet with no track record. Four races of qualifying (with a discard generously added) were scheduled, with a gold/silver fleet splitting out on day two. The yellow fleet, or what appeared to be "Topper hotshot fleet" were set off into 7-8 knots and unpredictable shifts of up to 30 degrees. The enthusiasm of the fleet demonstrated by the first general recall of the day (to the relief of the stragglers still battling to make the start). Several more boats were also snared at the second attempt, including the race winners 2661 (Monique Vennis-Ozanne/John Mather), allowing 2292 (Sian Talbot/Maddie Bristow) to claim the bullet, and a notable second place for 2121 (Quinn Edmonds/Finn Oliver) at what may well be their first event in 29ers.

A similar story on the blue fleet (or 29er youth squad reshuffled fleet) with relative newcomers 2234 (Emily Mueller/Florence Brellisford) also claiming a convincing bullet. Also impressing in the yellow fleet were Topper extraordinaires 2700 (Leo Wilkinson/Sam Jones) with two top 5s and 2898 (Aled Llewelyn-Jones/Ben Bradley) with a bullet in the third - expertly crafted off their topper peers at the last leward mark. It seems like the current talent pool is as strong as it's ever been.

The wind built for races 2 and 3, giving much relief to the thighs and knees of the heavier crews. The racing started to be dominated by some more familiar names - 2787 (Freya Black/Fin Armstrong) also recently teamed up secured all 3 remaining bullets in blue. 2742 (Rupert Jameson/Henry Jameson) back together for the first time in years since they tore up the Feva fleet also had a very consistent day - putting them second overnight behind 2787. 2661 squeezed into third after moving on from the initial UFD, notably winning race 2 by such a large margin that the finish flag on the committee boat was not even up yet. Such were the conditions, if sailors could break out from the pack and have the options to take gusts and clear air - large leads could be secured.

What's worse than a chilly northerly? An 8:45 D Flag in a chilly northerly. The sailors dragged themselves out of bed for the final series on Sunday morning, completing 1 race in a dying breeze of 4-5 knots. A commentator on the rib referred to the scenes as "hectic" - 35 boats converging on a congested leeward gate. 2787 expertly handled the conditions securing the first bullet (Weymouth being a favourite of Freya's, having won the youths there earlier in the year). I hear her crew isn't bad either. Silver fleet was wrapped up by 2721 (Dilly Ala/Angus Kilpatrick).

The breeze died off as predicted and the sailors traipsed in to much debate about what the rest of the day would have to offer. Many confidently de-rigged their boats - only to be dismayed by the breeze switching round (as predicted) and the fleet relaunched to the spark of a SW gradient. The familiar Weymouth left hand track towards the headland would surely start paying dividends, right? 2661 managed to secure what might be referred to as a convincing win in the first afternoon race, opting to start on port and hit the right hand side, coming to the windward mark with a several minute lead much to the surprise of themselves - and the fleet. 2700's more traditional approach payed off in the second, coming in from the left hand side on a huge lift - with no one able to catch them.

Back on land 2700 remarked that they are at full power around the 10 knot mark - perhaps we should have a new "featherweight" category at prize giving. 2661 opted for a similar approach in the last race and took home the last bullet of the day. Outside the limelight of the race winners, several pairings were putting together very consistent series - 2787 with three top 5s, 2742 with a 2/6/6, 2507 (Athena Vogiatzi/Maddie Wylie) with 3/5/7 - and continuing their form from the qualifying, 2234 having a great day - their only wobble being a twelfth, thankfully another Mueller (Ben) with Freddie Lonsdale in 2229 bagged a second instead to preserve the family reputation.

Over in Silver, now unable to benefit from observing the gold fleet first beat (their 5 minute signal being launched just 1 minute after gold starting) 2338 (Sean Woodard/ Toby Bloomfield) had a fantastic afternoon, as did 2230 (Maggie Rickman/ Thomas White) and 2909 (Drew Barnes/Hannah Morris). In fact, many of the silver fleet were hot on the heels of the gold fleet stragglers by the end of the two laps - another testament to the quality of the fleet.

Overall, 2787 kicked off their campaign with a convincing win, 2742 will be happy to bag a second at their first event and 2661 were pleased to resurrect some dignity after the UFD on the first day of racing in third. A whole host of new juniors made it to the gold fleet, a great sign of things to come. We are all looking forward to the next GP in Torbay and seeing as many of the fleet as possible.

First Mixed and first overall was 2787 with second overall 2742. Second Mixed and third overall was 2661. First all female team in fourth overall was 2234 with 2507 second girls at fifth overall. Third all female team was 2292. Third Mixed Team was 2695 (Flo Peters/Freddie Wood). First Juniors were 2229 Ben Mueller/Freddie Lonsdale), 1510 (Phoebe Peters/Raulf Berry) were second and 2222 (Robin Stein/Sam Brackley) were third.

Gold Fleet Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubsQ1Q2Q3Q4F1F2F3F4Pts
12787FREYA BLACKFINLEY ARMSTRONGHISC / TORBAY YC31111‑54314
22742RUPERT JAMESONHENRY JAMESONHAYLING ISLAND SC2332‑2126624
32661MONIQUE VENNIS‑OZANNEJOHN MATHERHHSC/HISC / HISC(UFD)1431713130
42234EMILY MUELLERFLORENCE BRELLISFORDROYAL LYMINGTON YC / CORINTHIAN OTTERS/12‑1273412231
52507ATHENA VOGIATZIMADDIE WYLIESOUTH SHIELDS SC / YORKSHIRE DALES SC5626‑1635734
62700LEO WILKINSONSAM JONESMAIDENHEAD SC / HILL HEAD SC3592‑231711552
72292SIAN TALBOTMADELEINE BRISTOWLEIGH & LOWTON SC16598716‑2152
82235WILLIAM PANKSEB GOTTONORFOLK BROADS YC / NORFOLK BROADS YC/RO1531132‑1981355
92433OLIVER EVANSLOUIS JOHNSONGURNARD SC / HAYLING ISLAND SC84104148‑22957
102733ALEX RATSEYOLLIE HAWKINSROYAL WESTERN YC / LOOE SC9104510‑1891057
112695FLO PETERSFREDDY WOODHAYLING ISLAND SC11911124‑1511866
122898ALED LLEWELLYN‑JONESBEN BRADLEYSAUNDERSFOOT / HILL HEAD SC HISC9261‑2523101667
132929TOM STOREYBEN WILLETTYORKSHIRE DALES SC / TATA SC5731671021‑2469
142241BEN HUTTON PENMANNATHAN CLARKBURNHAM ON CROUCH SC/ROYAL CORINTHIAN OT10471951313‑3171
152340SOPHIE DENNISEMMA WELLSHISC4888(UFD)12231174
162229BEN MUELLERFREDDIE LONSDALERLYMYC / R LYM Y C42117206112‑2281
172915OLIVER FELLOWSTOBY ATHERTON 121373199‑201881
182849ANNIE HAMMETTJESS JOBSONHISC / RTYC18179141167‑2382
192123ELLEN MAINPOLLY SANDISONNETLEY SC716691516‑291483
202937SONIA EVANSLIZZIE CATTERMOLEGRAFHAM WATER SC6121389‑22191784
211510PHOEBE PETERSRAULF BERRYEMSWORTH SC/HAYLING ISLAND SC8131411‑242015586
222121QUINN EDMONDSFIN OLIVERCHEW VALLEY LAKE SC21810520‑33141988
232736MAXI TUSTAINBEN IBBOTSONHISC / SOLWAY YC211015412‑24172099
242304EMMA JAMESJESS NELSONPARKSTONE YC / RUTLAND SC16(UFD)8727141812102
252111JAMIE WILKINSONWILL MORRISHISC/WARSASH SC1151710‑3228304105
262028JOSIE MEREDITHTAMSYN HILLSHISC/PAPERCOURT SC / SALTASH SC7142162227‑3228125
272343ZOE BELBENJAKE ATKINSSTOKES BAY SC1316181513‑292627128
282337JULIA BARNESTIEGAN PEARCERTYC / TRESAITH MARINERS SC12111218262528‑33132
292879ROBBIE MCDONALDARCHIE STOKESHAYLING ISLAND SC1011517283231‑35134
30408ADAM SANDISONTOBY HEATHERNETLEY SC6151512303127‑32136
31834ETHAN GERRELLTOM BARNESHISC / RTYCUFD8214(RET)302426137
322118OLIVER SMOULTTOMMY WILLETTLLANGORSE SC / RYA139191618‑343430139
332903INDIA PAGE‑WOODBLYTHE BERRYHISC(DNC)7111529263329150
341153TILLY GREGSONWILL ADLERSTARCROSS YC2420161031‑352525151
352222ROBIN STEINSAM BRACKLEYFELPHAM SC/HAYLING ISLAND SCUFD1223113321‑3534167

Silver Fleet Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubsQ1Q2Q3Q4F1F2F3F4Pts
12338SEAN WOODARDTOBY BLOOMFIELDDEBEN YC / PAIGNTON SC14‑241319433157
22230MAGGIE RICKMANTHOMAS WHITEHAYLING ISLAND SC/PAPERCOURT SC1417‑2421225667
32909DREW BARNESHANNAH MORRISWARSASH SC‑261422131542272
41490TASMYN GREENTYLER GREENLLANDUDNO SC182226‑29711883
52224FINBARR WORMWELLIMOGEN ASQUITHHAYLING ISLAND SC / HISC1719‑231711791393
62414IOLO DAVIESIOAN DAVIESCBYC/PYC171920‑2136161596
72721DILLY ALAANGUS KILPATRICKHISC/MENGEHAM RYTHE SC / HISC(UFD)2519261518599
82046GRUFF GREENGEORGE SELLWOODTEIFI BOATING CLUB15(UFD)16236141017101
92336LUCA MITCHELLZAK MITCHELLPAIGNTON SC19‑2626181810127110
102225OLIVIA BRACEY‑DAVISWILLIAM HELLEWELLHISC / PAIGNTON SC20152022139‑2412111
112231GEORGE VINCENTMATTY COHENPARKSTONE YC‑292018202213814115
12723FREDDIE WESTWELLJESSE KIBBLEHISC23(UFD)293081279118
13372ALASTAIR COOMBSSAM CARRLOCH VENACHAR SC162121‑2512151122118
142022MATTIS PRINCERUDY BARRNETLEY SC(UFD)242523521193120
152738TED LANERUPERT CLAPHAMCHEW VALLEY LAKE SC2018142219‑232210125
162266ALBERT GILMOREMILES DEVERELLPAIGNTON SC/ROYAL DART YC212324‑2910191319129
17871RALPH NEVILEAMéLIE CURTISFRENSHAM POND SC / BURGHFIELD SC2229‑32241716418130
181765ALISSA MARSHALLJORJA MARSHALLRHS/RHYC192322‑2424181711134
192327CHARLOTTE KNIGHTTOM PEACOCKNORFOLK BROADS YC / PARKSTONE YC252525‑272011254135
201504KATE ROBERTSONMOLLY HINSLIFF‑SMITHSWARKESTONE SC / NOTTS COUNTY SC28‑313030258616143
21873EMMA HUTCHINGSIZZY GRANTHISC2422‑282623171427153
22346CLARA JONESANNA UTTINGBURGHFIELD SC / STARCROSS23‑28272814222721162
231905JACK FUSSEYTEA SIROLLALANCING SC / QUEEN MARY SC2226‑302821252024166
241508LIA FLETCHERROSIE TARGETTFRENSHAM POND SC(RET)3029319262320168
252115KATIE YELLANDYASMIN SFAXIFRENSHAM POND27(RET)DNC2516242126172
26843RICHIE THURLBYCHARLIE MERRYWEATHER 26272727‑28281523173
271158BEN PURRIERTOM CAMPBELLPARKSTONE YC252828‑3127202625179
282040ALEX ASSIRATIBENEDICT RICHARDSONCASTLE COVE SC272731‑3226272828194

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