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National 12 Inland Championships at Northampton Sailing Club

by Tom Stewart 9 Nov 2021 11:47 GMT 6-7 November 2021
National 12 Inland Championships at Northampton © Jennie Clark

A frisky forecast of 18-32 knots of breeze didn't put off eighteen National 12 teams from making the journey to Northampton Sailing Club for the Inland Championships and finale of the Dinghyshack travellers series.

Race officer John Wayling and the NSC team tested the sailors with a variety of courses over two days with big puffs and large shifts adding to the drama.

Race one was an inverted P course. John Meadowcroft and Anya Camm were hot off the line in their Hijack design and showed the fleet the way to the first windward mark only to discover that the jib-stick wasn't rigged allowing Tom and Isobel Stewart to take the lead before the first gybe swiftly followed by Jon Ibbotson and Rachel Smith then Steve and Joanne Sallis. It was all nip and tuck until the finish but Tom and Isobel held on.

For race two a trapezoid course was set. Tom and Isobel showed good speed off the line to lead again and stuck an early gybe in on the run just before the predicted big wind arrived causing all kinds of carnage behind them. The run leg was set close to the shore so you had to stick that gybe in like it or not! By the time the leaders were on their third lap there were five upturned hulls to carve around on the run some of which visited the Pitsford shore before recovering, the rescue teams were kept busy.

Tom and Isobel kept it upright and won again followed by Jon and Sam Brown in a Paradox design with David and Sarah Conlon in a Feeling Foolish third, both boats were retro-fitted with T foils and are proving to be super-fast in the right hands.

After race 2's carnage, perhaps to keep the boats off the shore, the course for race three was changed to windward-leeward, National 12s normally like to avoid dead runs in a blow so this was likely to be equally challenging. The bulk of the fleet decided that testing the clubs catering was better than testing the water(again) so only five hardcore teams started this one; notable amongst them was Phil David crewed by Emma Hampshire in a Foolish without wings which is even harder to control downwind.

It looked for a while as if Tom and Isobel were going to repeat their earlier performances but under pressure from the Browns and team Sallis they tipped it in just before the windward mark. Steve and Joanne took the lead but having had a rare swim earlier in the day took the option of tacking round instead of gybing on the run; Jon Brown saw the chance to snatch gold only to discover that Stevie was right and they went for a dip.

Steve and Joanne won with Dave and Sarah Conlon scoring a solid second.

Sunday started with less breeze (if there had been more sailing would have been cancelled). It was back to the trapezoid course. Meds and Anya were back on the pace but it was Tom and Isobel who got to the top mark first and escaped on the front of a gust, at least for a lap. On the next lap, Steve and Joanne hooked into a large starboard lift that brought them almost straight to the top mark and back on to heels of the leaders. Tom and Isobel sat on them hard and survived to the finish line.

The course for the final race was windward-leeward, a huge right-hand shift in the last minute before the start saw Robert Stewart sailing with his mum Charlotte in his first windy 12 event jump the gun at the windward end. The main protagonists were lined up below him. Steve and Joanne out-dragged Tom and Isobel who got a little lucky with a shift and yet again got to the top mark first.

The wind was arriving in solid gusts, Ian and Alex Gore were the first to gybe on to port and looked like heroes, they had broken clear only for the boats who ignored the shift to find more wind and as long as they stayed upright arrive at the leeward mark before them. Tom and Isobel won again and this time Meds and Anya held off Steve and Joanne. Ian and Alex overcame the disappointment of the first run and recovered to fourth.

Overall Phil David and Emma Hampshire were the first non-foiling boat in sixth place - a great performance in the breezy conditions. Ollie Meadowcroft crewed by Liv Miatt and Chris Hampshire were first Under 21s. Bernard and Ellie Clark were first Admirals Cuppers.

Overall Results:

PosBoatSail NoDesignHelmCrewClubR1  R2  R3  R4  R5  Pts
1stWhitebait3544Dead Cat BounceTom StewartIsobel StewartRoyal Harwich11‑5114
2ndCatbert3531Dead Cat BounceSteve SallisJoanne SallisHykeham3‑91239
3rdTonto3483ParadoxJoe BrownSam BrownBurghfield4235‑814
4thGlass and a Half Full3538Feeling FoolishDavid ConlonSarah ConlonBrightlingsea‑8326516
5thD.B.Cooper3543HijackJohn MeadowcroftAnya CammUpper Thames6RET(DNC)3227
6thOut of the Blue3499Feeling FoolishPhilip DavidEmma HampshireYorkshire Ouse‑1364101030
7thZippy3431Feeling FoolishOllie MeadowcroftLiv MiattUpper Thames115(DNC)8630
8thMog3525Dead Cat BounceIan GoreAlex GoreUp River(DNF)7DNC4433
9thOver the Rainbow3551Dead Cat BounceGeorge FinchLucy FinchRoyal Harwich10RET(DNC)7740
10thAtomic Kitten3540Dead Cat BounceJon IbbotsonRachel SmithBurghfield24(DNC)DNCDNC42
11thLars Porsena of Clusium3471Final ChapterDan MeadowcroftZoe BallantyneUpper Thames7RET(DNC)12944
12thVery Hungry Caterpillar3530Dead Cat BounceGraham CammFelix CammBurghfield9RET(DNC)9DNC52
13thA Wood and a Sheep3545Dead Cat BounceTom LeeJennifer BuggeBurghfield12(DNC)DNC111152
14thAgent Orange3406FreakoutBernard ClarkEllie ClarkRipon168(DNC)13DNC55
15thSnagglepuss3527Dead Cat BounceKevin IlesKaty MeadowcroftWest Oxfordshire5RET(DNC)DNCDNC57
16thSilverfin3501Feeling FoolishRobbie StewartCharlotte StewartWaldringfield15(DNC)DNC14RET59
17thCarbonara3502Big Issue 2Tim HampshireChristopher HampshireRipon14RET(DNC)DNCDNC66
18thHagar the Horrible3467Feeling FoolishAdam FullerSaffron HillOrwell17RET(DNC)DNCDNC69

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