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Allspars 18ft Skiff Solent Grand Prix Series & European Grand Prix Series Finale

by Tom Hill 26 Sep 2019 10:04 BST 20-22 September 2019

Crews have just about got over the aches and pains after this weekend's skiff racing at Calshot, Solent. Three days of racing were planned with a strengthened fleet of skiffs from travelling European boats.

The event was the final round of the Allspars Solent Grand Prix Series, the final round of the European Grand Prix Series AND the 2019 Allspars UK National championship for 2019. Plenty to play for!

Day 1

The first day started with a calm Solent, but a few crews were worried having checked out forecasts and local weather stations. The breeze was set to fill and the wind readings were slowly creeping up. By the time of briefing, the breeze was up to 22knots and gusting past the 25 knot constant wind limit - with a forecast suggesting even more would come through. The Race Committee put a 2 hour postponement to monitor the wind and see if it came down. Unfortunately, by 2pm, with the wind still not playing ball, racing was cancelled for the day.

The European boats took the opportunity to sightsee and set about visiting the Southampton Boat Show and Beaulieu that afternoon, before the fleet reconvened for a BBQ on the beach. A little chillier than previous times, but the Hungarian Polenka certainly kept everyone warm!

Day 2

The fleet woke to another windy morning, and forecasts all over the place. However, the fleet were determined to get racing and launched for a 1pm start. The rigged boats shaking in their cradles on the beach certainly rattled some cages, but the conditions turned out to be perfect for a super Saturday on the solent. Most teams got a kite run in before the first race to calm the nerves and get focused for racing.

Once racing was away, there was certainly something to be said for sailing conservatively to keep the mast in the air. Leads kept changing between the front runners of JB Designs, The Time Genie and Union Rose. The Time Genie took the first race in front of Rutland. A few boats head in after the first race from small breakages leaving the opportunity for a few teams to get some decent points on the scoreboard. JB Designs led the last two races to the finish for two more bullets to leave them leading overnight. An impressive display of skills from the teams who made it out for all 3 races!

Day 3

There was some more forecast studying and weather station watching first thing on Sunday. However, this time it was huddled inside cars as the great british weather decided to show its wetter side! As crews rigged, the breeze died, which wasn't quite as planned, but they launched anyway. By the time they made it to the start line, the expected 10 knots SW came through. The first race was fired off with The Time Genie getting tangled with JB Designs before the gun, not the first time The Time Genie needed to spins for the day. Later, Graham would go on to comment he's "done more turns today in the last 3 years of skiff racing!". During the first race, a squall came through at the top mark, catching BabyCham unawares who pitchpoled infront of the fleet at the top mark. Racing was much closer and Be Light stretched out front he fleet to take the bullet in the first race.

The wind swung as the first race finished, but allowed for a larger course to be set in the new breeze. Two races were fired off, both of them with changing leads and a large rounding the first top mark. Rutland noticeably dropped out from the pack as a detached tiller extension sent them swimming, much to the amusement of the rescue crews! Be Light showed dominance in both races to complete the full set of 3 bullets for the day. It wasn't enough the pull them up onto the podium.

Overall

It was the consistency of the heavy weather teams from Saturday that rounded off the podium. The Time Genie and Union Rose were tied on points in 2nd and 3rd place, but countback meant The Time Genie claimed second spot. JB Designs were always near the front all weekend and that awarded them the top place for the European Grand Prix. A well deserved victory!

The Time Genie once again became UK National Champions. It certainly wasn't made easy for them by Union Rose who displayed vast improvements throughout the season to be up and playing with the front of the fleet!

A huge thanks to the race team of Mason, Nathan, Pippa, Kate, Harry and Mattis for giving up their time to run racing - a very professional team that was needed for the heavy weather! Thanks also goes to Allspars for their support of the fleet all year and Calshot Activity Centre for providing the facilities to allow the events to happen. That's it for skiff racing at Calshot this season, but stay tuned for some potential extra racing later this month!

Overall Results:

PosTeamNationSailorsR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1JB DesignDENJesper Brondum / Thomas Ebler / Eike Ehrig[4]112228
2Time GenieGBRGraham Bridle / Eddie Bridle / Cameron Tweedle1334[6]314
3Union RoseGBRAlex Lewin / Dan Harris / Jamie Freeman[5]2233414
4Be LightHUNMiklos Ujkelyi‑Gaspar / Botond Nemeth / Stew Mears3DNF (10)[DNS (10)]11116
5RutlandGBRTom Hill / Mark Kudlinski / Alasdair York2DNS (10)[DNS (10)]56629
6Original ChiaDENFlemming Clausen / Soren Clausen / Adam OvingtonDNS (10)DNS (10)[DNS (10)]65536
7Baby ShamGBRLuke Goble / Cameron Barr / Nick PrattDNS (10)DNS (10)DNS (10)74[DNF (10)]41
8The Green SkiffGBRDave Rowe / Tom Kiddle / Scott BonnerDNS (10)DNS (10)DNS (10)88[DNF (10)]46
9Sail 4 CancerDENMads Dolberg / Soren Poulsen / Mattis PrinceDNS (10)DNS (10)DNS (10)DNS (10)DNS (10)[DNS (10)]50

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