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Osprey National Championships at Porthpean Sailing Club

by Kevin Francis 8 Sep 2022 11:48 BST 3-6 September 2022
Osprey National Championships at Porthpean © Stacey Bray

All competitors confirm that the summer is now officially over....

After the amazing run of hot weather and light winds, often making open, national and world sailing events frustrating in the UK, the forecast for the Ospreys looked solid, unfortunately a little too solid as it turned out.

Using the song titles sung by Freddie Mercury as the reporting medium:


A healthy turnout of boats from Mk II through to the latest Mk VI were assembling on the green and in the dinghy park as the usual fever pitch boat preparations began. Several crews decided to walk boat and trailer down the steep hill shouting Don't Stop Me Now as they went. Camping was in the car park just across from the club and everything looked to be in order and convenient.

A quick walk down the slipway gave the first indications that trouble was coming with a strong on shore breeze and a steep surf onto the short beach as the tide rose.

As launch time approached we watched the committee boat, a large yacht position herself whereby an extended period of Radio Ga Ga ensued between them and the shore. The feedback from this communication was that the yacht could not hold station in the strengthening breeze and rising sea state. The launching also looked more precarious than earlier.

With the forecast set to worsen the race team were Under Pressure to call it. Time passed slowly but inevitably there was a Breakthru although not a good one with racing abandoned for the day.

This did provide the chance for everyone to catch up, some would say a Seaside Rendezvous and after a few beers staring out at the rugged Cornish coast most agreed that These Are The Days Of Our Lives. Alternative plans were made with some staying and some going out for the day. Two teams even decided that a little practice in the breeze was in order and so they left to Ride the Wild Wind with lots of bystanders watching in awe as these magnificent machines smashed out to sea headlong into the impressive waves.


The race team and pretty much everyone at Porthpean and nearby had been studying the vast range of forecasts and rightly made the decision to get afloat early to avoid another misfire and to try and complete three races to secure a series. The committee boat was holding and all was looking good, with the wind strangely light. Everyone was by now very keen to get going and boats were quickly assembled on the beach.

The launching was still difficult due to the leftover swell and ironically not enough breeze to power up. With the help of the local shore team and the competitors all boats were away safely. Mutterings of Sail Away Sweet Sister were heard from those left behind.

Once clear of the shore and settled down everyone went through the usual drills and adjusting to the waves with crews reminding helms, "Don't Try So Hard". Passing by the committee boat to declare that Now I'm Here, at this point a local pod of common Dolphins showed up which was a welcome distraction.

All races would be conducted under the black flag to avoid delay and the class was respectful of this throughout. Banging right paid off and as most headed for the cliffs the lift that would be coming soon brought many smiles to the helms in that area. The windward mark was soon reached with most of us overstanding somewhat with the tide playing its part, thus it was time for the Hammer To Fall and to crack off and blast to the mark as fast as you could.

Matt Burge and Vyv Townend had produced A Kind Of Magic to lead away to a commanding position from first time Osprey Nationalists Peter Gray and Geoff Edwards using the class boat and long-time fleet exponents Martin Cooney and Peter Frith.

Race 2 and everyone was now familiar with the right-hand path. This time it was Martin and Peter who engaged footing mode and disappeared into a comfortable lead early on. Hot on their heels was the new pairing of Caroline Croft and Mikey Grieg who were only going to get faster as the breeze filled in.

Part way through this race this pairing went over the top of Kevin Francis and Simon Hawkes with Mikey's casual Body Language confirming that this was not a battle that could be won. Previous National champions Terry Curtis and Peter Grieg were now finding form and secured a third place finish with Burge and Townend back in fourth.

Race 3 and by now the wind and sea had decided to wake up with surfing waves and full trapezing all of the time. The experienced teams were now consolidating the positions and visibility was becoming an issue in the troughs with several encounters with The Invisible Man up the beat leading to crash tacking and thoughts of Was It All Worth It.

Another new youth team sailing Peek a Boo, Ben Townsend and Ed Richardson, showed great speed upwind and great potential for the future. Many teams were starting to fatigue as the conditions worsened. Seasickness had taken its toll with the words Jesus and Bijou among others coming from several boats who then retired, a reminder that we are All God's People. Curtis and Grieg got the win from Burge and Townend.

And so to the recovery to the shore which would prove to be very traumatic. Mainsails were dropped and stowed, and the run in committed to. The main aim was to Keep Yourself Alive and to protect the boat but alas as we tried to help from the shore first one then Another One Bites The Dust as the swell took control. Luckily with the help of a great many people all crews and boats were recovered fairly intact. Several crew looked like Death On Two Legs after being swept under the boat and into the surf.

Once safely changed and hydrated the inspection of damage and repairs could be made. For those that escaped it would be more a case of Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon.


Day 3 and the now familiar sound of wind in the rigging and the foretold scenario from every weather app available proved correct and the day's racing was abandoned early.

Some crews went off for a Bicycle Race to nearby Charlestown, others hung around and tinkered some more with many boats suffering from grit in the centreboard case it was time for a clean of the hull where along with MER and Jif there was definitely some Flash used!

By the afternoon boredom had set in and some of the collective had started to suffer with one announcing "I'm Going Slightly Mad" and another "I'm In Love With My Car". These were worrying revelations and all were taken to the bar to hydrate some more. Not long after this all hell let loose with thunder bolts and lightning which as you can imagine was very very frightening.


Day 4 and all assembled early with talk of two races before the bad weather arrived. The race team were doing all they could and were determined that The Show Must Go On.

The fleet were by now weary in general and only some were keen to Play the Game. It was clear that for those with all to play for there was only One Vision. By launch time the same scenario as had been seen on every day was playing out and the safety of both the rescue crews and the competitors was the main consideration. With this in mind the decision was taken to again abandon the day's racing and with it the conclusion of the event.

A surprised comment of "We Are The Champions" from Burge and Townend but tempered with "It's A Hard Life" for some as the discard never came into play. This did mean that the prize-giving could take place nice and early to allow most to depart around lunchtime with the furthest travellers going back to Scotland and even Kenya!

The Osprey class would like to thank Porthpean Sailing Club and all helpers for its sterling efforts, in difficult circumstances. To our sponsors and supporters and to all of the competitors that made the effort to travel to the event - thank you.

We look forward now to next year's National Championships in our 70th year from Hayling Island Sailing Club September 2nd to the 5th. Early entry discount is offered as an incentive before the end of October - go to for details.

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

PosCountrySail NoBoat NameHelmNEW!ClubR1R2R3Pts
1stENG1353CallistoMatt BurgeVyv TownendPoole YC1427
2ndENG1290SwiftwunMartin CooneyPeter FrithPoole YC3159
3rdENG1234Plan BTerry CurtisPeter GreigWeymouth SC73111
4thENG1339Thomas TooCaroline CroftMike GreigLymington Town SC62311
5thENG1360Blood and ThunderPeter GrayGeoff EdwardsStaunton Harold SC26412
6thENG1311Oh Spray!Chris GouldNick BroomhallLymington Town SC410721
7thENG1352String Driven ThingPiers StrongPhil AngravePoole YC87621
8thENG1296WhiteStarKevin FrancisSimon HawkesCastle Cove SC145827
9thWAL1365Carpe DiemDave GriffithsMaurice ClarkeTenby SC582235
10thWAL1334Back AgainJaime BohataTim GriffithsTenby SC9151337
11thENG1381 Richard HartleyMark HartleyBlithfield SC1191838
12thKEN1116Lethal WeaponDavid CarrollSteven CarrollNaivasha YC16141040
13thSCO1314Think AgainViola ScottMichael ScottLochaber YC10162046
14thENG1298Barking MadMichael AtkinsonPaddy LewisPoole YC2122952
15thENG1373Great WhiteRichard MarshallDan MartinPoole YC18112756
16thWAL1348Jammy DodgerOscar ChessDavid CharlesTata Steel SC29131456
17thENG1350WARNING...Contains NutsAlec MamwellArthur ButlerConiston SC15182356
18thENG1291WaimanuAlex WillisNick WillisHayling Island SC30191261
19thENG1292Light & BitterPaul HeatherJonathan OsgoodTeignmouth Corinthian SC22261664
20thENG1085InfidelColin StephensGeorge OdlingPenzance SC1312DNF68
21stENG1363Robbers AlleyAlistair RaynardRob BurdekinCarsington SC23281768
22ndENG1207SchiaffinoAndrew HattersleyRichard HattersleyPoole YC24232168
23rdENG1368LOLSteve LeneyColin AndersonBlithfield SC25202469
24thENG1382Ghost ShipRoger BlakeJames BlakeGreat Moor SC1217DNF72
25thWAL1114Just PogoRos DownsDavid DownsTata Steel SC19252872
26thENG1007Bird of Prey IIIGraham HeadAntony ShawMargate YC20272572
27thWAL1225Pink PantherPaul BambridgeCarwyn OwenTata Steel SC27321978
28thENG1322Peek a BooBen TownsendEd RichardsonEmsworth SC26DNF1180
29thENG1273FrustrationJo MahyRichard BowersCastle Cove SC35212682
30thENG1345NamelessThomas ChadfieldNick ArronBlithfield SCOCS301588
31stENG1316JaneKeith McDonaldAndy BrittainSmall Heath YC32293091
32ndENG1295Big Girls BlouseMark ReynellChris GreethamPoole YC2824DNF95
33rdENG1341YlostWilly CrichtonJon BattRibble Cruising Club33313296
34thENG1326ShamelessRob SouthernAdam SouthernEmsworth SC36332998
35thENG1310Brave New WorldMichael RichardsonRichard KellawayPoole YC34343199
36thENG1331OdelineMatt BiggsAndy CouchBlithfield SC17DNFDNF103
37thENG1183HippoCrocoDonkiRussell WheelerMark MawhinneyIsle of Sheppey SC31DNFDNC117
38thENG1319Prey EncoreStuart MaunderChris PlayfairPoole YCDNCDNCDNC129
38thENG1355Last ChanceIan HartAndy EmondsPoole YCDNFDNCDNC129
38thENG1317The DukeSimon TownsendJackTownsendEmsworth SCDNFDNCDNC129
38thENG1372Mellow YellowMick GreenlandJerry DixonIsle of Sheppey SCDNCDNCDNC129
38thENG1362OMGEmma StevensonPete LloydWeymouth SCDNCDNCDNC129

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