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2020 Unicorn National Championship at Stokes Bay Sailing Club

by Daniel Jarman 8 Sep 2020 14:09 BST 4-6 September 2020
2020 Unicorn National Championship at Stokes Bay © Tanya Piper

Stokes Bay Sailing Club welcomed the Unicorn Catamaran fleet to hold their 2020 National Championships. There was an air of excitement among competitors in anticipation for the fine weather forecast for the long weekend of 4th-6th September.

Race officers Dave and Louise Roberts provided superb race management with slick turn-arounds between races. Friday's first race started at mid-day as scheduled in a steady force 3 and late summer sunshine. Marginal trapezing conditions prevailed during race 1 as current title holder Dan Jarman built up a steady lead to take race 1 ahead of Brian Whitmey from Eastbourne making a great start to his championship debut.

There was slightly less wind for the second start and most of the fleet arrived at the windward mark together. William Dawson made tactical gains downwind in the favourable central tide-flow to round the leeward mark slightly ahead. The breeze suddenly kicked in to a solid F4 where former champ Dawson covered on the second lap in full trapezing conditions to win race 2.

As the afternoon wore on the breeze ramped up to a F5 for the final race of the day. Blasting off the start line into the Solent chop and brilliant sun made for a thrilling first beat lead by Richard Beke from Queensmead. Making the most of the downwind surf, Jarman managed to break away from the pack to take a second win of the day with another excellent performance from Whitmey hot on his heels.

Saturday provided a very similar weather pattern. Another newcomer to the class, catamaran specialist Paul Grattage, used his tactical prowess in the light conditions to gain a formidable win in race 4.

With the wind increasing to a solid F4 for the afternoon's racing, again Jarman locked back into full-on mode to say on top.

Stokes Bay sailor Gary Piper managed to put his earlier frustrations behind him to get back on his usual championship form, holding off short and frantic gybing duels going on behind to avoid the Solent ebb. Piper kept his cool to take race 6 in the closest racing in the series so far, with the finishing fleet divided only by seconds.

Very light breeze was predicted for the final day. Four different race winners and with the consistency of Brian Whitmey lying second overall, the series was still wide open.

Short tacking along the shore to avoid the tide was the order of the day. This gave the light weather experts Julius Mach, Will Stefanou and Iain Rogers the chance to get back in amongst the front runners and stir up the points even more. Piper's form continued in the light wind, enough to pass Jarman on the final run back, finishing first and second respectively.

Similar tactics were key for the final race 8. Again, it was Paul Grattage who tracked down the best shifts and tides to notch up his second win of the event.

After a challenging week-end event, Dan Jarman eventually took top spot to retain the Mazzotti Trophy.

Overall Results:
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1st Dan Jarman - GBR 1088 - Locks SC - 15 points
2nd Gary Piper - GBR 1094 - Stokes Bay SC - 19 points
3rd Brian Whitmey - GBR 1085 - Eastbourne SC - 21 points
4th William Dawson - GBR 1091 - Stokes Bay SC - 24 points
5th Paul Grattage - GBR 1062 - Stokes Bay SC - 27 points
6th Richard Beke - GBR 1100 - Queensmead SC - 37 points
7th Will Stefanou - GBR 1098 - Stokes Bay SC - 40 points
8th Julius Mach - GBR 1095 - Netley SC - 48 points
9th Iain Rogers - GBR 1092 - Bala SC - 61 points

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