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GP14 Southern Area Championship at Brightlingsea Sailing Club

by David Innes 17 May 08:22 BST 13-14 May 2023
GP14 Southern Area Championship at Brightlingsea © Tim Bees

With a great forecast for Saturday, but Sunday looking dodgy, there were 11 entries for the GP14 Southern Championships at Brightlingsea on the 13th and 14th May with a few regulars not being able to find a crew for the weekend.

Brightlingsea is a fantastic place for a championship with a great clubhouse, an excellent race team and the open waters of the Mersea flat where the Rivers Blackwater and Colne meet. Brightlingsea invited the GP14's to combine with the Merlins and Hadrons so the club, and the water, was buzzing.

The first race got away in a 15-16 Knot northerly with the first beat against the last of the ebb from the line which was set just to the west of the main channel into the Colne. Fergus and Jasper Barnham (Snettisham Beach) were fast off the line in their battleship grey GP (soon to become known as the "Deathstar") with Paul Trubridge and Matt Hall (Frensham) also well away. The fleet split to either side of the fairway with Fergus and Jasper reaching the windward mark first followed closely by Paul and Matt, Tomasz Szakola and Adeel Khan (Welsh Harp), Maurice Cleal from Wembley with guest local crew, and James Ward and Richard Whitehill from Papercourt. Fergus and Jasper coming to the end of the second triangle correctly identified that the GP14s had another lap despite the finishing Merlin's and kept going with Paul and Matt close behind. However Maurice and Tomasz/Adeel with spinnakers flying charged to the finish line only to sheepishly drop and get back on the beat. We have all done it!

With the second race away and rising wind there was little tide and the fleet split with Fergus and Jasper leading at the first mark followed by Maurice and Tomasz with David Innes/ John McGuinness from Frensham in fourth. By the second beat the flood was getting going and there definitely seemed to be a lee bow effect for those going left. Fergus and Jasper took the win from Tomasz /Adeel with David/John third.

The third race was started out of sequence with the Merlin's having a couple of recalls and ending at the back and with Fergus and Jasper again leading we had to sail the second reach leg on port through the starting Merlin's who were on starboard and wide with it! Over a beer that night there was much discussion about how it was difficult to then keep track as the Merlin's seemed to be everywhere as we got the boats up on the plane as the wind rose and the sun finally shone. Fergus/Jasper first, Tomasz/Adeel second, James/Richard third and Paul/Matt fourth.

The RO had warned at the briefing that he might run a fourth and with glorious conditions he sensibly went for it although some crews headed home. After a full-house of general recalls in their 3 preceding races, the mis-behaving Merlin's were finally served with a black flag, which (understandably given the time of day and the prospect of refreshments in the clubhouse bar) remained up for the Hadrons and GP's. This was unfortunate for Paul and Matt who came so close to executing a perfect pin-end start, but misjudged the tide and were marginally over and were DSQ. Fergus and Jasper won again with a dominant performance with Andy Wadsworth and Cathy Howard from Brixham YC taking second from James/Richard in third and Tomasz/adeel in fourth. With Paul and Matt OCS Andy Shrimpton and Roger Jeffs from Welsh Harp took fifth and Steve Corbet and Liz Noblet from Leigh on Sea took sixth.

Overnight Fergus and Jasper had already won the event with Tomasz/Adeel second and James and Richard were third. On Sunday there was a sensible early decision to abandon racing these were the final positions.

Overall Results:

PosSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4Pts
1st14238Fergus BarnhamJasper BarnhamSnettisham Beach SC‑11113
2nd13237Tomasz SzakolaAdeel KhanWelsh Harp SC‑42248
3rd13316James HarpRichard WhitehallPapercourt SC‑543310
4th14157Paul TrubridgeMatthew HallFrensham Pond SC254(OCS)11
5th14014Andy WadsworthCathy HowardBrixham YC68‑10216
6th14234David InnesJohn McguinnesFrensham Pond SC835(DNC)16
7th14253Maurice Cleal Wembley SC368(DNC)17
8th13818Andy ShrimptonRoger JeffsWHWC‑776518
9th14179Stephen CorbetLiz NobletLeigh‑on ‑sea9‑107622
10th13299Jamie IslesCaro MitchellWelsh Harp SC‑1199826
11th14044Richard ConnettTom JacksonWembley SC10‑1111728

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