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Flying Fifteen Balearic Championship at Puerto Pollença, Mallorca

by Stephen Babbage, Flying Fifteen Mallorca 5 Oct 12:23 BST 11-13 September 2020
Flying Fifteen Balearic Championship at Puerto Pollença, Mallorca © Jonny Fullerton

This year, the Nationals were sailed over three days, with six races planned. Covid 19 prevented overseas owners joining so the fleet was reduced in entries, however there were competitors representing Spain, Great Britain and Chile taking part.

Day 1 - Friday

As for each day, the course was to be sausage-triangle-sausage, winds were moderate, from just west of north.

Race 1 saw 'Ffinally' John Walker / Stephen Babbage get off cleanly and elect for the right side of the course, holding their lead at the first mark. 'Martini' Rafa Benitez / Pilar Casares and 'Flying High' Patrick and Vincent Harris fought hard on the opposite side of the course, but didn't catch the leader, and had to content themselves with a great tussle for second between them. The triangle proved exciting, with the first leg too tight for some of the crews to want to risk a spinnaker. Those who braved it won out, and the leading group extended to an unassailable separation for the final legs.

There were no further place changes at the front, with the Harris brothers in 'Flying High' beating Rafa Benitez / Pilar Casares 'Martini' across the line to take second.

For Race 2 the wind increased slightly, and at top mark became extremely variable, with 90 degrees shifts and from 0 to 15 knots coming from any direction. 'Ffinally' was ahead when the changes started, and she was left without wind and then pushed down away from the mark. 'Martini' and James Waugh / Ben Carwardine, sailing 'Puffin and 'Flying High' came in from the opposite side and rounded cleanly, with 'Stormtrouper lV' David and Corinne Miles coming in fast.

'Ffinally' was forced to take a penalty in the confusion but on the triangle caught and passed 'Puffin' who was having issues with her spinnaker (she'd actually torn it and was down to white sails for the rest of the race). After a tough battle, 'Ffinally' pulled ahead of 'Martini' and 'Flying High', to lead going in to the final beat. Again, the last sausage saw no place changes at the front, giving a day one close of 'Ffinally' with two bullets, and 'Martini' and 'Flying High' both on 5 points.

Day 2 - Saturday

Whilst 'Puffin' and 'Flying High' scrapped for the lead of race 3, 'Ffuga' sailed by Francisco Gadala-Maria / Ximena Rubio, sailed a great first beat, arriving at the top in third place. However, it was soon noticed she was going down the run goose-winged with no spinnaker and lost ground. After an uneventful beat 'Ffinally' caught and passed 'Martini' on the spinnaker reach, and came within reach of 'Stormtrouper IV'. The last beat didn't see any position changes, but on the last run 'Ffinally 'gybed inside 'Stormtrouper IV' to finish third to 'Puffin' and 'Flying High'.

As per day one, the wind increased and became split between the two sides of the course for race 4 of the series. 'Flying High', 'Puffin' and 'Martini' were having a great battle on the favoured side of the beat, building a gap that was never to be closed. 'Fuego's' upwind speed was such that she stayed in contention, eventually finishing just behind 'Wight Flyer' Stephen Parry / Teresa Parry and ahead of 'Stormtrouper IV'.

Day 3 - Sunday

The fifth race saw an even more pronounced split between left and right sides of the beat, with no way to switch sides, so it soon cost those who got it wrong. 'Flying High', 'Puffin' and 'Martini' again dominated the top three, with 'Dragonfly' Michael Beecken / Annie Wilson, taking a well earned 4th.

The final race started in a declining breeze, and 'Martini' took advantage of her lighter crew weight to take and hold first place ahead of 'Flying High' and 'Puffin'. 'Dragonfly' and 'Ffinally' had a battle all the way round, but there was no way past and the finish line saw them in that order.

So the series ended with Patrick and Vincent Harris winning the series on 8 points with James Waugh / Ben Carwardine 'Puffin' and Rafa Benitez / Pilar Casares 'Martini' tied on 12 points.

Overall Results:

1 ESP 3592 - Flying High - Patrick Harris / Vincent Harris - 8pts
2 ESP 3724 - Puffin - James Waugh / Ben Carwardine - 12pts
3 ESP 3382 - Martini - Rafa Benitez / Pilar Casares - 12pts
4 GBR 4014 - Fflinally - John Walker / Stephen Babbage - 15pts
5 ESP 3817 - Dragonfly - Michael Beecken / Annie Wilson - 25pts
6 ESP 3728 - Wight Flyer - Stephen Parry / Teresa Parry - 30pts
7 ESP 4058 - Stormtrouper IV - David Miles / Corinne Miles - 33pts
8 CHI 3598 - Ffuga - Francisco Gadala-Maria / Ximena Rubio - 40pts
9 GBR 3577 - Fuego Fatuo - Clive Walker / Jakob Gradisek - 44pts
10 GBR 3471 - Triffid - Francisco José Mascaró Jaume / Tomeu Mascaró Jaume - 45pts

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