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Musto 2023 Hikers LEADERBOARD

Ajax Class 2023 National Championship at St. Mawes Sailing Club

by John Howard 9 Aug 2023 08:51 BST 28-30 July 2023

A great fleet of competitive boats had assembled in St Mawes, including the travelling duo of Orwell VI and Dionyssius who had made the long trek down from the east coast, to experience clear blue seas, crystal clear skies, a comparative lack of container ships, and a stunning venue for the 2023 Nationals.

As it happened, the waters were still clear, there weren't any container ships but the weather was testing with plenty of breeze, showers, and mizzle in the forecast. The Cornish summer never fails to impress.

Day 1 - Wind SW - WSW force 4-6

Race 1
With a course set in Falmouth Bay the racing got under way, with a little bit of tide running across the course the fleet headed out on the beat up to the windward mark. Athena made early gains on the right, having started at the committee boat end, but then decided to head back over to the unfavourable side of the course. Troy and Polyphemus pushed right into the flatter water closer inshore, this saw them lead at the top mark closely followed by the Welsh contingent on Diomedes shouting rules to anyone who would listen - Athena and Osprey.

Race 2
A rain shower coming down the course meant the wind had clocked left by 30 degrees, the course was reset, and off we went for an entertaining second race. Most of the fleet had worked out that going right was the best way to go, both from the tide and the sea state and so they were working the committee boat end. Athena had surged to the front and were pushing in height mode off up towards the shore, but hadn't noticed the wind had shifted back after the shower had passed and the windward mark, which was shielded in the gloom only became apparent to those with young eyes on board. Polyphemus benefitted from this, as did Artemis and Nemesis, and headed over on the lay line to the windward mark. Athena was still pushing for height up the right even though they were half a mile over the lay line. Troy and Orwell both followed suit and were well down in the mid fleet, even a conglomeration of mark laying and support RIBs positioned on the windward mark did not appear to help, oh how we all laughed...

In the end Artemis went on to win, Troy completed a fantastic recovery job, after sacrificing everything to the wind gods, rolling the poker dice and then going hard left up the second beat to get up to 2nd, Polyphemus were 3rd and Orwell, who wasn't pointing very high, but were travelling mighty fast, came back to 4th.

Race 3
With wind and tide conditions unchanged there was a lot of emphasis on the start. The "invisible" Troy won the battle of the start line once again and proceeded to have a good battle with Artemis, Polyphemus and the improving Orwell with a bit of a gap back to the rest of the fleet. In the end Troy was 1st, Orwell 2nd, Polyphemus 3rd and Artemis 4th.

Day 2 - Wind WSW force 5-6

Race 4
A new day and more breeze with gusts regularly in the mid 20's, all from a similar direction to day 1 meant tactically the decisions were easy. In a lot of ways it was like sailing at Garda, go right, bang the cliffs... Apart from the fact that the sun wasn't shining, the water was salty, there were large ships sheltering in the bay to dodge, it was much colder and the chances of authentic Italian pizza or gelato were slim. Once again, the invisible Troy started halfway up the beat, although in retrospect maybe the rest of us were somewhat line shy. Artemis followed along with Nemesis who were loving the increase in the breeze. The Mylor department whooping along while the spinnaker guru was cocooned in bubble wrap - safety first. Polyphemus seemed to have found the hand brake and was struggling to release it. In the end, Troy again took 1st, Artemis 2nd, Nemesis 3rd and Orwell 4th.

Race 5
With monotonous regularity, going right was paying nearly every time, (unless you were on Troy with her own rules). Troy, Orwell, Athena and Nemesis had broken clear of the pack and the next group were having a lovely time approaching the windward mark from the starboard lay line. Artemis were in a nice lane on port but then fluffed their tack, couldn't clear Polyphemus so tacked back onto Starboard underneath them. She was then mounted by Diomedes who crash-tacked into her, there was a lot of shouting. When they had extricated themselves Diomedes went off to do her penalty turn while Artemis pinched up to try to squeeze round the windward mark. Which they managed to do, largely because the windward mark was starting to drift down the course, they bore away to hoist but had failed to notice the spreader mark was upwind of the windward mark by this stage. Polyphemus and Diomedes cleared the spreader and headed off down on the run and Artemis were now back in the double digits. Oh, how we laughed again! Troy and Orwell sailed away and were beginning to have some really good battles at the front of the fleet.

Race 6
By now the heavy conditions were taking their toll on the fleet, Pintail, the light wind specialists, had already headed home and Halcyon, who was definitely a little short of weight on the rail, followed suit, Falmouth Week was only a week away and conditions were definitely testing!

Troy had a nearly unassailable grip on the title but Orwell and Artemis were both in hot pursuit. With no change in tidal or wind conditions, the boats that headed right once again closed on the front, with Orwell, Artemis and Troy leading the way. A tight battle at the front led to Orwell's first win, Artemis 2nd and Troy 3rd. This meant that with a superb scorecard Troy could afford to have a day off tomorrow with the championships in the bag.

Day 3 - A decision was made before 8am with wind howling across the bay to abandon racing for the day.

Prize giving followed with some entertaining speeches and spot prizes.

Huge congratulations to Troy on a very well deserved win and a 1,2,1,1,1,3 scoreline across a 6 race series in a competitive fleet.

Massive thanks to the race committee on Melkin, Neil Andrew the race officer, The Falmouth Working Boat team who manned the mark laying RIBs, Kyran Hooper for organising the event and the Nemesis crew who press-ganged sponsors for spot prizes at the evening socials, these included: Mylor Chandlery & Rigging, Penrose Sailmakers, Harken, Allspars, Kayospruce & Dimension Polyant.

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

PosSail NoBoat NameHelmCrewR1R2R3R4R5R6Pts
1st58TROYGavin WatsonGary Denning & Roger Ford12111‑36
2nd57ORWELL VIRichard MerriweatherMark Ingram & Jamie Mayhew‑94242113
3rd21ARTEMISPaul ScullionIan Woods & David Woods‑81428217
4th40POLYPHEMUSJohn Howard/Kyran HooperMike Grice & Kyran Hooper/John Howard23365‑719
5th56ATHENARob Geddes‑BrownJono Kneale & Lukas Ewertowski45‑853522
6th22NEMESISPaul PullenBen Brigg & Jenna Robbins‑76734424
7th37OSPREYToby ClaridgeSara Nield & Mike Nightingale5‑10676630
8th45KALIOllie EdwardsDavid Lippold & Robin Nixon‑107587835
9th67DIOMEDESMartyn OsborneMark Fernihough & Antony Mee3810‑1310940
10th25HALYCONR McPhersonJack Martin & Chloe Cook6911109(DNC)45
11th71DIONYSIUSPhil MayhewGraham Aubrey & Jackie Wootton‑1212129111054
12th36PINTAILRichard BownJeannie Bown & Gary Morse1111911(DNC)DNC59
13th32REDOUBTABLESam HollingsworthEsme Tresidder & Jay Barker/Mary Townshend(DNC)DNCDNC12121169
14th19VICTORYAbi RickardSarah Marshall & tba(DNC)13RETDNCDNCDNC81
15th66AMALTHEAMike BlackSimon Boxall & Tim Penny(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC85
15th69VIMAlister MainHelen/Charlotte/Beatrice Main/Olly Burch(DNC)DNCDNCDNCDNCDNC85

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