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West Country Boat Repairs 2000 class Millennium Series Round 4 at Thorney Island Sailing Club

by Mark Foley 4 Jul 2023 13:50 BST 1-2 July 2023
West Country Boat Repairs RS2000 Millennium Series Round 4 © Mark Foley

Round 4 of the 2000 Millennium series sponsored by West Country Boat Repairs took place on 1st and 2nd July at Thorney Island Sailing Club, on a weekend that also saw the Round the Island race and the Lord Birkett Memorial Trophy at Ullswater.

The tide times meant that there was an early start on the Saturday morning, briefing at 9.30am with a 10.30am race start time. With a strong, rising north-westerly breeze forecast, and a dropping tide, the race officer laid a course that spanned two tidal channels in the harbour to make for some interesting course choices. Getting a good start was extremely important.

Pete Vincent & Sophie Bentley led the fleet away in race one and, although chased hard by Natalie Johnston & Tom Bernal in second place, they were never caught, with Jeremy & Ali Short in hot pursuit in third.

A strong, shifting breeze meant that the support boats were in constant demand for mark moving and standing by for a number of capsized boats. Race two saw the wind increasing, and it was Joe Gallivan & Sarah Burridge, sailing the oldest boat in the fleet, who took to the front and were never challenged. Natalie & Tom were second and Pete & Sophie third.

During the start sequence for race three, the wind increased to 28 knots and the race team, sensibly, postponed the start hoping that the wind would drop away a little. A number of competitors took that as an opportunity to sail for home and an early shower.

The race team made the correct call and when the wind moderated, they got race three away, although, there were only eight hardy teams still competing. Natalie & Tom took the win, with Adrian Stell & Hugo Corder second and Jay Whitehead & Alice Moore third.

After a tough day's sailing the fleet enjoyed a fish and chip supper and a few beers overlooking the beautiful Thorney Island channel.

Sunday brought a moderating breeze as the fleet set out for an extremely early 10am race start. The tide was still flooding for the first race and necessitated some deep thinking as to how best to beat the tide. Rob & Gemma Burridge managed to sort the conundrum first, winning race four. The ever consistent Natalie & Tom were second and Ed & Reuben Dodwell were third.

The first four races of the event had each been won by a different team and with the tide slack for race five, it was Pete & Sophie who won for a second time with Natalie & Tom second and Joe & Sarah third.

By the start of race six, Natalie & Tom had won the event with a race to spare. But being fiercely competitive, there was no let up and they led for most of race six only to discover at the finish that they were OCS along with Pete & Sophie and Ed & Reuben.

Joe & Sarah won the final race on the ebbing tide, overtaking Natalie & Tom between the last leeward gate and the finish to take the win.

Thanks go to our sponsor for the event, West Country Boat Repairs. A big thank you to all of the volunteers at Thorney Island Sailing Club who worked tirelessly to ensure the success and safety of all the competitors. A special thank you to the race team, Katie & Simon Horsfield, who would have liked to have been sailing in their home event, but instead ran the racing for the visitors.

Overall results:

1st - Natalie Johnston & Tom Bernal
2nd - Joe Gallivan & Sarah Burridge
3rd - Rob & Gemma Burridge

1st - Silver Fleet - Jay Whitehead & Alice Moore

1st - Bronze Fleet - Travers Rudd & Summer Tewkesbury/Will Pitts

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