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National 12s at North West Norfolk Week 2022

by George Finch 2 Aug 2022 07:01 BST 23-30 July 2022

The 72nd annual North West Norfolk Week once again invited the National 12 fleet to take part in this unique, family holiday orientated regatta, held at some of the best and quirky sailing venues on the Norfolk coast. The National 12 class has been part of this event since 1949 and always had a fleet start.

The huge attraction for many, especially families is the one or two races per day format, where each race is an open meeting and therefore has its own results and prize-giving on the day - meaning you can miss a day or two, but still be rewarded for the racing you do. Or, if you want to race for the week's points series, you can do that to - from a serious regatta to a family holiday, or somewhere in between, it offers something for everyone. A further attraction is the area, giving lots of options to the family, if they aren't going to join you at all the racing.

Day 0 - Snettisham Beach Sailing Club (Practice Race) - 1325 Start

Competitors were allowed to enter Snettisham Beach SC's club racing, if they wanted an extra day of sailing during their Norfolk holiday. 4 N12s took up the offer, with Paul & Caroline Watson (N3344) eager to make the most of their two day trip to Norfolk. Carol Sallis stepped in to crew for Steve Sallis, whilst waiting for their daughter Jo to turn up for the week.

Two races were held, with the breeze dropping off throughout. Afterwards, the fleet headed to the Jolly Sailor's at Brancaster Staithe, the usual venue for evening socialising during the week.

Day 1 - Snettisham Beach Sailing Club - 1430 Start

An ambitious start time of 14:30 was set and at 14:30 the committee boat was still on the mud. As the tide came closer, the wind was stronger and one by one the 12 fleet started to head off the beach, back into the clubhouse.

Four N12s launched, 3 made the start. Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531) flew off the line, closely followed by Ian & Alex Gore (N3525), although Alex 'kindly' knocked the tiller extension out of Ian's hand, causing them to do a perfect roll tack into an oncoming wave and then an inevitable capsize.

George Finch & Danny Blackburn (N3551) seized this opportunity to sail a good beat in 2nd, and gently sail down the 1st reach.

The Sallis' tacked round the gybe mark, very sensible. George & Danny followed; but went for a swim, allowing Ian & Alex to catch up. A 2nd failed attempt at tacking round led to George and Danny heading in.

Steve and Jo looked to take the win, with Ian and Alex in 2nd. However, with a 2 leg lead, Steve and Jo went for a swim and allowed Ian & Alex to pass and thus win the race.

Both, and the rest of the NW Norfolk fleet were very pleased to then see the abandonment flag, so no 2nd race!

Day 2 - Brancaster Staithe Sailing Club - 1630 Start
Wind - W, 15-20kts

A few of the fleet went for a walk out along the sandy staithe at Brancaster in the morning, to see where the shallow spots would be for racing later in the afternoon.

Six N12s launched, a few stayed ashore waiting for more sun or calmer conditions.

After a shallow sail out from BSSC, the course had been set in the harbour. It was a clean start, with the tide keeping everyone behind the line, as the fleet headed to the shallows (but not too shallow) to keep out of the tide.

At the first mark, Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531) rounded first, followed by George Finch & Nick Copsey (N3551) and Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) behind.

After an exciting rounding onto a deep reach, the first gybe mark was fine, leading to a fantastic reach across the harbour, with the fleet met with another gybe. Here George & Nick (3551) walked around, allowing Ian & Alex to gybe and therefore pass. This was the order for the remainder of Lap 1, and the next 3 laps. Occasionally the 3 were close, then further apart.

John & Catherine Sears (N2957) sailed an excellent race, keeping Steve LeGrys & Sabrina Ireland (N3432) and Pete & Olivia Miatt (N3448) behind for all 4 laps, finishing 4th.

The fleet and supporters then headed to the Brancaster Staithe Sailing Club clubhouse for refreshments!

Day 3 - Wells Sailing Club - 1730 Start
A beautiful evening sail in 8-14kts of wind

The seven strong N12 fleet had a close start, apart from Pete & Olivia Miatt (N3448) whose rudder repair from Sunday failed.

The aim of the first beat was to find where the most favourable tide was, whilst judging where to find the shallow areas. Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) and John & Catherine Sears (N2957) made the best decisions, although Kevin & Lindsey Iles (N3527) made up some lost ground to overhaul John & Catherine (N2957) by the first mark.

The inevitable speed of Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531) pushed them into 3rd place during the first reach. These positions held until a mainsheet failure onboard the Sears' boat allowed Steve Le Grys & Sabrina Ireland (N3432) to sneak into 4th.

Paul Turner & Andrea Murphy (N2750) enjoyed a gracefully sailed race in the original 'Cheshire Cat', careful not to push each other or the boat too hard during the fantastic evening.

The fleet then enjoyed traditional Wells Fish & Chips on the harbour wall as the evening sun shone brightly.

Day 4 - Ouse Amateur Sailing Club (Saddlebow) - 1030 Start
Light winds for the two races at Ouse Amateur Sailing Club (Saddlebow)

With a few of the entrants taking a day off to enjoy their family holiday, 6 N12s made it to OASC for the 10.30 start.

Pete & Olivia Miatt (N3448) launched but then came ashore to investigate ongoing centreboard issues.

The fleet sailed two slow races, with the top 3 results as below (combined). The racing was exciting as always, but with less to report than previous days, apart from Steve LeGrys & Sabrina Ireland (N3432) cooling off with a capsize 3 minutes before the start of race 2.

1st - Ian & Alex Gore, N3525
2nd - Steve & Jo Sallis, N3531
3rd - John & Catherine Sears, N2957

Day 5 - Blakeney Sailing Club - 0730 Start

As the fleet headed to the start area, the wind began to fill in. The tide was already high, beginning to turn and ebb 5 minutes before the start.

A short beat to Mark X saw Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) lead, with Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531) in 2nd. John & Catherine Sears (N2597) followed but were soon overtaken by George Finch & Olivia Miatt (N3551) on the first run.

Dodging moorings and choosing the best angle with the tide were the two main bits to concentrate on, before a long beat back up the harbour where being out of the tide was crucial.

Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531) and George & Olivia (N3551) crossed each other up wind, although Steve & Jo were always in the right place when it mattered! This continued downwind, ultimately allowing Ian & Alex to continue their lead.

On the 3rd lap, the tide was running extremely quickly now and a few helms thought they'd caught themselves on mooring lines because progress was so slow - but it was a combination of either strong tide or very shallow water.

Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) took the win, followed by Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531) and George Finch & Olivia Miatt (N3551) 3rd.

Again, Paul Turner & Andrea Murphy sailed 'the' Cheshire Cat around the harbour gracefully, which was excellent to see.

In the afternoon, the Gore's held the traditional N12 & friends BBQ in their garden, where the fleet socialised, ate and drank into the early evening.

Day 6 - Burnham Overy Staithe - 0700 Start

Seven N12s waited for the wind until after the planned start time of 7am. As soon as there was an inkling of a tiny bit of breeze the fleet had a briefing and sailed out to the start.

The wind built quite quickly to a nice steady breeze but at the same time it was also just past high tide so the race started on a dropping tide. Kevin & Lindsey Iles (N3527) were first to the windward mark followed shortly by Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) and then Steve & Jo Sallis (N3531).

Kevin & Lindsey Iles (N3527) held on to the lead on the reach to the second mark but Ian & Alex Gore (N3525) got past on the 3rd mark to take the lead. Two laps continued in that order, with the board and rudder coming up increasingly frequently as the water was disappearing.

Pete & Olivia Miatt, sailing Cheshire Cat were in 4th place with Steve LeGrys & Sabrina Ireland (N3432) and John & Catherine Sears (N2597) having a battle behind.

On the fetch to buoy D Ian & Alex went aground allowing Kevin & Lindsey to catch up and on the penultimate leg Kevin & Lindsey managed to dodge the shallows more than anyone else to get to the next buoy just ahead and complete the short beat to the finish to take victory.

The Gores were second, Steve & Jo 3rd. Pete & Olivia lost out to Steve/Sabrina (4th) and John/Catherine (5th). It was a close finish with 30 seconds between all 3. Bernard and Ellie Clarke (N2149) had a lovely sail in their vintage 12 to come 7th.

Day 7 - Snettisham Beach Sailing Club - 0730 Start

So... the last day of Norfolk Week saw a decent breeze at Snettisham. Much more sensible than the previous Sunday! A clean 7.30 a.m. start saw the fleet set off, with Steve and Jo Sallis (N3531) reaching the windward mark first, with Ian and Alex Gore (N3525) close behind. Alex and Ian were unable to catch Steve and Jo so they remained in that order for the next two laps until the finish. Meanwhile Steve LeGrys & Sabrina Ireland (N3432), John & Catherine Sears (N2597) and Dave Cooper & Joseph Pembry (N3294) battled it out for 3rd, 4th and 5th place.

The second race saw the wind drop slightly. The lighter breeze and some in-between race tuning saw Ian and Alex Gore (N3525) reach the windward mark first. They managed to hold off Steve and Jo Sallis (N3531) for two laps to take the win. Steve Le Grys & Sabrina Ireland (N3432) took their 2nd third place of the day followed by John & Catherine Sears (N2597) in 4th and Dave Cooper & Joseph Pembry (N3294) in 5th.

The fleet then congregated at the clubhouse for the overall prize-giving for the week and to enjoy some early lunch before heading back home after yet another amazing sailing holiday in Norfolk!

The dates for 2023 are 29th July until 6th August. Full details will be available at

Overall Results:

W3525Ian GoreAlex GoreUp River YC21‑21111‑2218
W3531Steve SallisJoanne SallisHykeham S.C.121‑3222‑31212
W3432Stephen Le GrysSabrina IrelandRoyal Harwich Y.C.DNC(DNS)‑5444543327
W2957John SearsCatherine SearsNotts. Co. S. C.DNC(DNS)4‑553455430
D3294Dave CooperJoseph PembreyOASCDNC(DNC)(DNC)635DNCDNC4545
D3527Kevin IlesLindsey IlesWest Oxfordshire S CDNC(DNS)(DNC)2DNCDNCDNC1DNCDNC58
W3551George FinchDanny Blackburn / Nick Copsey / Olivia MiattRoyal Harwich Y.C.DNCRET3(DNC)(DNC)DNC3DNCDNCDNC61
W2750Peter MiattOlivia MiattCarsington S.C.RET(DNS)6(DNF)DNCDNCDNC6DNCDNC67
D2750Paul TurnerAndrea MurphyTrent Valley S.C.DNC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNC6DNCDNCDNC72
D2149Bernard ClarkEllie Clark Overy Staithe SCDNC(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNC7DNCDNC73
D3344Paul WatsonCaroline WatsonHykeham SC3(DNC)(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNCDNC77

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