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British Sharpie Championships at Brancaster Staithe Sailing Club

by James Case 30 Sep 2021 10:25 BST 24-26 September 2021
Top three (l-r) 3rd GBR123, 2nd GBR9, 1st GBR125 during the British Sharpie Championships at Brancaster Staithe © James Case

Despite missing a year, Covid affected the expected turnout with our Dutch competitors having to cancel at the last minute. As anticipated in the preview, a reduced field took to the water for Friday's racing.

Will Ellison & Mark Healing revelled in the fresh conditions winning the scheduled Les Dye Trophy, and the first Championship race, whilst a few others unintentionally washed out the cobwebs, falling victim to the challenging conditions in Brancaster Bay. The Championship race top three was completed by Overy Staithe sailors Alex Smith & Paul Beachell in second, and BSSC fleet captain James Nunn & Henry Burkitt in third.

Saturday saw a doubling of the fleet size with Friday's work and teaching duties completed. Friday's race winning helmsman Will Ellison did the decent thing and attended a friend's Saturday wedding!

The races were sailed in a fitful SW offshore breeze, changing direction and strength throughout with big separation of the fleet due to a choice of the more tidal offshore route, or hoping for a lift along the shore albeit in a gentler breeze. Nunn & Birkett led at the windward mark having opted for the offshore route, followed by Chris & daughter Maddie Gibbs who took the middle ground.

The shortened course flag gave rise to a last minute tactical option, with the Gibbs' reversing the positions during the short beat to the line, winning the prestigious Duke of Connaught Trophy. Third was father and son Richard & Alex Mulderij, by far the youngest crew in the fleet, but showing the excitement of their first Nationals together with a huge smile at the finish!

Race three saw the Gibbs consolidate their position with a start to finish win, followed by Sisters Claudia, Selby Spink & Kiki Pattenden starting to show their inherited Sharpie skills, in the gentler conditions. Team Mulderij had a solid day with a further 3rd, thus the top three were all family teams.

Saturday evening's BSSC Sharpie Supper was greatly enjoyed by all, culminating in the presentation of the William Cracknell Memorial Trophy to Wells SC Commodore David Pentney Smith, in recognition of his contribution to the Sharpie class over the years. It is rare to find a Sharpie without some of David's exacting metalwork skills on show.

Sunday saw a similar SW direction with an increase in strength to F3. The vastly experienced Committee boat team of Bill Andrews & John Bellamy kept up with the tight schedule despite having to adjust the courses a few times.

A busy pin end on race 4 led to some vocal exchanges, with Tim Gibbs shooting the buoy and subsequently being called OCS, Chris Gibbs returned to restart due to uncertainty (he had started correctly) and without the luxury of a discard. Claudia & Kiki were relieved to hear the gun, having comfortably shown the fleet a clean pair of heels, and race long doubts over the Port end starting melee. The Gibbs' recovered to finish second, with Nunn & Birkett third.

The final race saw a much longer race with a now familiar top three of Chris & Maddie, Claudia & Kiki, and James & Henry.

The 2021 British Champions were Chris & Maddie Gibbs; a familiar place for Chris but a first for daughter Maddie. A remarkable family achievement continues, although her Uncle Tim Gibbs is still the youngest crew to win the Brits aged 15, in 1983.

Our thanks to all the Brancaster Staithe SC team for putting on such a well organised Championship at short notice.

Overall Results:
If you finished in the top ten at the Sharpie nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

PosBoat nameSail NoHelmCrewBrancaster Staithe Challenge CupDuke of Connaught TrophyWells Whelk PotLangstone MillRoyal Lymington Ocean CupPts
1stWindspiel125Chris GibbsMaddie Gibbs(DNC)11215
2ndAnnamarie9Claudia SelbySpinkKiki Pattenden(DNC)42129
3rdLuffa123James NunnHenry Burkitt32‑53311
4thCapella128Alex SmithPaul Beachell26‑96620
5thFuut226Richard MulderijAlex Mulderij(DNC)335920
6thRockabye12Will GibbsKaty Cundick/Charlie Orton5‑847521
7thChuckles63Sam NealMarcus Flint4911‑13731
8thRose of Sharon105Will EllisonMark Healing1(DNC)DNC41036
9thTitania16Andrew CracknellJustine Sykes(DNC)121012438
10thGhost133John CorneySarah Greenwood6‑151491140
11thAdventurer69Harvey GunhouseSally Wynne(DNC)11138840
12thPoelsnip135Martin ReadImogen Orton(DNC)7710NSC41
13thSkybird77)Tim GibbsSimon Neale(DNC)136111242
14thSouthern Cross111Tim AshbyCharlie BorthwickDNF1012‑161445
15thRose of Sharon105aMark HealingTim Andrews(DNC)58DNCDNC55
16thKelpie102Charlie BennionJim Crossman(DNC)141514DNC64
17thMiranda106Bruce KempSlug Kemp(DNC)DNCDNC151370
18thHouri3Cliff Nye (DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC84

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