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Impala National Champsionships 2022 at Plymouth

by Ben Meakins 13 Jul 2022 14:13 BST
Impala National Champsionships at Plymouth © Paul Gibbins Photography

Ten boats ventured to Plymouth for the first official Impala championships since the pandemic, from the Fal in the West to the Hamble to the East for a weekend of Caribbean sunshine and light but fairly steady wind. The Impala fleet joined the J/24s who also chose Plymouth Regatta as their 2022 Nationals venue.

Race officer Sean Semmens, a former Impala owner himself, set some short but challenging courses in the light airs that kept the boats with good boat speed and top tactics atop the leader board throughout the weekend. Despite the threat of a swift use of the black flag the Impala fleet were well behaved, save for a few boats keen to get racing who were over the line in the first race!

The first few races set the tone for the rest of the event, with multiple lead changes, close racing and beautiful sailing conditions. Local boats Imelda and Impulsive tussled for the top spot on day one with Impulsive getting two wins to ease ahead. Visitors Polly snuck in a couple of thirds after a slightly keen first start which saw them OCS.

Saturday saw a short postponement before racing continued south of the breakwater - with only the small matter of a large ship anchoring just above the windward mark to test the race officer's mettle. Imelda aced the first race with Impulsive buried in fifth, and Polly second, but Impulsive had their revenge with two more wins that day ahead of Polly with 2,2,3.

Behind her, Inca, just launched for the season was snapping at their heels and showing some impressive boat speed, while Zulu showed a consistent and improving set of results in fifth.

The final day dawned with a faint south-easterly that showed signs of shifting to the south. The breeze was struggling to make 6 knots, which meant that the Impalas were tangling with the back end of the J/24 fleet, but Polly slipped through to win the first race - just ahead of Imelda.

In the second race of the day, Impulsive was snapping at Polly's heels at the first windward mark, and slipped through with some slick manoeuvres and tactics to win the race and the event. With the breeze dying, AP over A was raised and the fleet headed ashore to the roasting heat of Plymouth Yacht Haven for the prize-giving.

Thanks go to the organisers and all the crews, as well as to the event sponsors: Plymouth Yacht Haven, Hemisphere Rigging Services, Ancasta International Boat Sales, Mount Batten Boathouse, Cattewater Harbour Commissioners, Dart Sails and Covers, Freshwave IT & Web, Paul Gibbins Photography, Rooster Sailing and Yachty Bits.

See more of Paul Gibbins photography

Next year's Nationals will be held in Hamble, and dates will be confirmed in the next few weeks.

Unusually, there are a couple of boats for sale at the moment: get in touch if you would like to join in the fun for some affordable, exciting, close one-design racing! There are competitive fleets in the Solent, Plymouth and Strangford Lough, and Impalas are hard to beat under IRC as well.

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

PosSail NoBoat NameOwnerR1R2R3R4R5R6R8R9Pts
1GBR 9594ImpulsiveDominic Hanley211‑5113110
2GBR9510ImeldaRobbie Boalch1221322‑513
3GBR9500PollyMeakins & Cudmore‑5332231216
4GBR 9560INCAlan Luscombe34434‑75326
5GBR9609ZULUKevin Palfreeman777‑8554439
6GBR9567AtalantaStuart Higgins4656‑767640
7GBR 9568InsanityWilkinson‑9864696847
89542WisecrackRoger Stanbury858788‑9751
9GBR9595ScallywagAde Beaven‑ Smith6‑999948954

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