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53rd Unicorn National Championship at Hayling Ferry Sailing Club

by Dan Jarman 1 Jul 2022 06:33 BST 23-25 June 2022

Hayling Ferry Sailing Club was the ideal venue to host the 53rd Unicorn National Championship held between 23rd and 25th June 2022. The event was also planned to merge with the Solent Forts Race which followed at the weekend for its 10th Anniversary. Both designated course areas, one on the open Solent, the other within the protective confines of Langstone Harbour, were key to making the event a success in the changing conditions.

It was encouraging to see newcomers Andy Bunyan and Paul Chatfield joining the regulars this year, and also special guest Grant Piggott sailing GBR 1094 on loan from the Piper stable.

Three races were scheduled for the Thursday in the light and overcast conditions, using the traditional triangle / sausage courses in order to provide some much favoured reaching legs for the Unicorns.

Gary Piper worked his way out of a tight starting pack as the wind built to 7 knots and held on to take Race 1. Dropping back to about 3 knots of wind in Race 2, Dan Jarman inched his way ahead for a close finish to take a win. Will Dawson was the third winner of the day as the breeze edged back up to a steady force 2. Overtaking on the final downwind leg, Will held on to narrowly beat the chasing fleet.

An upturn in wind and sun on the Friday morning caused much excitement among the competitors rigging on the beach. Again it was an outside course for race 4 set in a 16 knot Southerly and a building sea. Grant Piggott found the conditions much to his liking and was soon hot on the heels of Dan Jarman, eventually forcing a gybe-for-gybe match race on the down wind legs. Jarman managed to cover to the finish for a second win. The afternoon wind built to a solid force 5 for the next race and again it was Jarman who set the pace in fabulous sailing conditions, leading from start to finish, with Piggott 2nd and Piper 3rd.

Race officer Geoffrey Holden decided to bring the fleet inside Langstone Harbour for the final two races to provide a flatter course away from the rigours of the Solent chop, stirred up by a building 22 knot South-Westerly. Sinah Ski Channel provided a 'Stadium' feel to the course. About 2km long and only 450 metres wide between the sandbanks, competitors had to quickly adapt their tactical styles to suit, with lots more tacking, gybing and squeezing to the boundaries as the strong breeze blew perfectly down the length of the channel. Grant Piggott nailed both starts and used fast-paced covering tactics throughout to secure races 6 and 7 by just a few seconds, but it was the earlier consistency of Jarman who managed to retain the overall title.

Overall Results:
If you took part in the Unicorn nationals then enter your Gear Guide information here

1st Dan Jarman, GBR 1088, 9pts
2nd Grant Piggott, GBR 1094, 14pts
3rd Gary Piper, GBR 1098, 15pts
4th Will Dawson, GBR 1091, 28pts
5th Paul Chatfield, GBR 1062, 37pts
6th Iain Rogers, GBR 1092, 37pts
7th Will Stefanou, GBR 1093, 39pts
8th Andy Bunyan, GBR 1026, 45pts

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