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Musto Skiff Open at Stokes Bay Sailing Club

by Neale Jones 21 Apr 10:50 BST 17 April 2021
Andy Tarboton sporting lockdown hair during the Stokes Bay Musto Skiff Open © Georgie Altham /

After much anticipation, the Musto Skiff UK circuit was launched at the weekend with the Skiff Open at Stokes Bay. This first event of the year for the GBR class also marked the start of the Hyde Sails Series, which will see Hyde Sails sponsor six events within the UK circuit for an additional competition and some extra prizes.

Neale Jones, who took third place on the podium, gives his take on the action with this race-by-race event report...

A healthy turnout of 17 Musto Skiffs descended onto Stokes, masks in hand and all bristling with excitement about racing and catching up with friends. Stokes Bay had done a fantastic job, with all social distancing adhered to, a video briefing to keep everyone up to date, and an outside galley to keep us all fed and watered. The day was already starting to feel like we were getting back to normality.

The fleet launched into very little wind, and with the sea breeze yet to settle, the race office took the very sensible decision to call everyone back into the beach to wait for things to settle down. After a short break and a coffee, the fleet relaunched back into a building south easterly breeze, still fickle and tricky for the RO.

The first race had a big pile up at the pin end with some big names getting caught up in the melee. Tacking immediately off the startline and getting into clear breeze was Neale, Turbo, and Ed, and with the wind shift, it turned into a drag race to the top mark, which Neale won out followed closely by Turbo and Ed. Again, because of the shift, the downwind leg was much the same as the beat with very few gybes needed to get to the bottom gate. The top three remained the same until the final windward mark where Ed managed to get past Turbo and come in second to Neale.

Race 2 started in similar conditions, however, now was the time for a raft up at the starboard end of the line. Boats that got off the line well were able to get out of the tide and stay in good breeze. The race quickly became one of two halves where the top half of the fleet managed to get around the top mark before a slight drop in breeze, whereas the back of the fleet were stuck pushing tide and unable to get around the mark. In the end it was Tim, Richard and Dan who played the top marks to their advantage finishing in that order in the toughest race of the day.

Race 3, and the conditions looked to have slightly settled with the fleet spread more evenly across the line. At the starting gun, a left shift coming off the line allowed the pin end boats to tack and cross the fleet with building pressure. It looked for a while as though Neale would get around the top mark first, however, a drop in pressure and some savvy sailing from Bruce and Dave managed to get them around first and second, followed by a chasing pack.

With the wind dying on the downwind leg, it was time for “head out of the boat” sailing. The top three remained the same for the bottom mark, but the pack was getting tighter. On the next upwind leg, there was a big turnaround with the south westerly breeze filling in allowing for Turbo and Ed to hoist their spinnakers and steam past the languishing boats on the left of the course. Some tricky manoeuvring with the 800 fleet at the top (now bottom) gate saw Turbo and Ed in a drag race for the finish, the winner of which would take the event. Turbo put the afterburners on and held out for the win followed closely by Ed and Bruce.

Congratulations to Turbo for winning the first southern open meeting of the year. Second place went to Ed Chapman, with Neale Jones in third. A massive thanks, also, to Stokes Bay Sailing Club for hosting the event in their usual friendly way, and to Hyde Sails UK for providing additional Champagne prizes for the top three podium places.

The next GBR class event will be hosted at Ullswater Yacht Club for the Daffodil Regatta on 22 – 23 May 2021. This will also be the second event in the Hyde Sails Series, with another opportunity to get points on the board and win extra prizes courtesy of Hyde Sails UK.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmClubR1R2R3Pts
1525Andy TarbotonStokes Bay SC & HMYC3‑714
2333Ed ChapmanStokes Bay SC2‑624
3611Neale JonesStokes Bay SC1‑1245
4461Tim RogersNetley SC61‑117
5516Richard PelleyStokes Bay SC52(OCS)7
6557Dan VincentStokes Bay SC & RNSA43‑67
7623Bruce KeenStokes Bay SC‑12538
8222Ricky RobinsonStokes Bay SC‑99514
9469Nathan StanierStokes Bay SC7‑14815
10616Dave PostonMedway YC‑1510717
11375Josh BelbenStokes Bay SC‑108917
12216Guy RivingtonStokes Bay SC8‑161018
13582Paul MolesworthStokes Bay SC‑1841519
14178John PiattStokes Bay SC11‑171324
15414Gavin BrewerStokes Bay SC1411‑1725
16535David AnnanGrafham Water SC13‑151225
17543Steve WrightStokes Bay SC‑19131427
18487Sean ThijsseStokes Bay SC17(DNC)1633
19364Andy RiceStokes Bay SC16(DNC)DNC36

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