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RS Sailing 2021 - LEADERBOARD

2024 Hurricane European Championship at Yacht Club de Carnac, France

by Howard Warrington 2 May 09:44 BST 26-28 April 2024
2024 Hurricane Europeans at Carnac © Dave Maynard /

Having decided over a few beers, whilst visiting the Royal Yorkshire YC for an open meeting, that we should try and go and enter the Eurocat event held each year in Carnac, Brittany. Having not been there for 30 years it seemed right that the Hurricane fleet should return.

We made it happen and with the help of the organisers of the Yacht Club Carnac, we turned it into our European Championship. Not having held one for, well I'm not sure how long, it seemed fitting.

Entries came from Starcross SC, Thorpe Bay YC, Stokes Bay SC and Stone SC. The ever gracious Geoff Tindale kindly loaning his boat to new sailors to the fleet, brothers Darragh and Donal McCarthy as the sole Irish entry.

Double stacked and loaded up we all left on various ferries and shuttles and met up in time to have a rigging day on Thursday. We even managed a sail in beautiful conditions. The forecast wasn't looking great for the event so we thought we'd make the most of it.

Race day arrived on Friday. We had an opening ceremony, mostly informing us about the various coloured bins that we should use for recycling. Well done the French but as they do, what can be said in 3 words took about 15 minutes. We did, however, feel very welcomed and the organisers tried very hard and succeeded, to put on a good event.

We set off for a 3 race day. The wind was good at a decent force 4 which gradually built through the day to a strong 5. Trapezoid courses were set with a beat of about 1.2Nm to a yellow buoy. All well and good until you saw, quite literally, around 40 yellow buoys between the start and the windward. We managed to find the right one eventually.

The race officer was keen to crack on and started on time. 4 DNC's were among the fleet who were caught out in the launching queue. Pretty much from the off, TBYC pair, Alex Farrall & Alex Warrington gained a solid lead and held this until the end. Father and son team, George & Howard Warrington were 2nd and Stone's Richie Hanmore & Matt Kimber 3rd.

Race 2 was pretty much a carbon copy as far as Alex & Alex were concerned; bang left and cover for the 2nd bullet of the day. With more boats making the 2nd race, Richie & Matt were 2nd and TBYC's Julian Reichert & Jeremy Sandford in 3rd.

Race 3, guess what? Alex & Alex, now pros at this game, "hit left and cover" worked yet again. It must be said that they were sailing like demons possessed and got everything absolutely spot on. 2nd place went to Richie & Matt again sailing very nicely and 3rd Julian & Jeremy.

Race 4, hang on! There're only 3 races scheduled....?? But Monsieur le Race Officer was enjoying the conditions and a good way into his 2nd bottle of Chateau Hello There, decided that we should go again. Feeling pretty shattered and definitely well past beer o'clock, we hung on for another race. Finding clean air was definitely the name of the game as we were starting along with a large fleet of F18's. The two Alex's were round the top mark in 8th with George & Howard and Stone SC's Trevor Bawden with new crew Ben Harden leading the pack. With an awesome 1 gybe kite leg with nothing to lose, Alex & Alex found themselves in the lead again and took the 4th win of the day. Trevor & Ben in 2nd and the second father and son team; Paul & Bertie Plamer in 3rd.

Day 2 was Le Grand Raid. A long distance race of some 35 miles heading out from Carnac and following the coast of the Quiberon peninsula and round the Isle D'Houat and back again. The wind was really pumping and was a decent 5-6 for most of the day. Stone SC's Dan Tindale & Hugo Bull got off to a flyer with an amazing kite run to the first buoy off the Quiberon coast. George & Howard were next having gybed off and found some good pressure. After the first mark it was harden up to a very fast fetch which was pretty epic. Crews on the main sheet and both hanging on for dear life waiting for the moment when it all goes pear shaped!

Richie & Matt switched on their engine, namely Matt Kimber and a main sheet and absolutely lit up. They tore past George & Howard (as did a little later, Trevor & Ben). The next mark was a slight bear away round a cardinal mark and then through a gate between the rocks to start pass round the top of the Isle D'Houat. This allowed for a screaming twin wiring kite leg for about half a mile before dropping again and fetching the back of the island. In the meantime, Alex & Alex and Julian & Jeremy were slowly clawing back on the George & Howard.

Round the bottom of the island and a couple of tacks to clear a large rock, it was bear away time and onto another fast and furious fetch. At least this time we were on the other tack! Alex & Alex eased past George & Howard. By this time the 3 in front had all but disappeared. There was then a 3 boat dual between the 3 Thorpe Bay boats. Alex & Alex leading with George & Howard right on their rudders. Julain & Jeremy trying to avoid the battle but take the faster and straighter line inside the other pair. Crew's working main sheets like never before. Cold and very tired but very exciting.

Up ahead, the rocket ship of Richie & Matt managed to take the lead from Dan & Hugo and took the win. They sailed astonishingly fast, truly amazing. Trevor & Ben were home in 3rd. Then after some 3.5 hours of very fast sailing, Alex & Alex, George & Howard, Julian & Jeremy all finished within 30 seconds of each other! There were plenty of thrills and spills along the way with TBYC's father and daughter team, Simon & Sophie Boygle taking a flying trapeze trip round the front of their boat and spending the next 20 minutes trying to right a turtled Hurricane - not something you practice often!

It was finishing the race that was the great feeling of the day (not the OCS that George & Howard were awarded). Many very tired and ashen looking sailors dragged their boats up the beach yet feeling elated to have become "Un Raider"...! Word of the day - BROKEN! As that's how we all felt!

Good food and beaucoup du vin being the great healer, we all were back for the final day of the 36th Eurocat.

Day 3. It was a day of defend and consolidate for Alex & Alex yet for Trevor & Ben it was go like hell! Richie & Matt, after their glorious win the day before were also very much in the hunt. It was Alex & Alex's to lose if they weren't careful!

2 races today and all to play for. We were held ashore with next to no breeze but the RO was confident that it would arrive, once he's finished his petite déjeuner. Everyone rigging for a light day, how wrong we'd be! With a very decent 3-4 now coming from the West, race 1 saw Trevor & Ben doing just what they set out to do - go like hell! Taking their first win with Robert & Bertie Palmer in 2nd and another father and daughter team; Doug & Izzie Smith from Starcross, finding some great pace in 3rd. Mixing up the numbers was Stokes Bay's Adam Charlesworth & Richard Robinson in 4th. Alex & Alex had a shocker for them and came 7th. Wow, this was going to be an

exiting day! Several squalls came in with the wind building all the time. The RO held us back whilst the biggest rain squall came and went. Courses were moved at least 3 times but finally the wind settled as a good 4-5 and in lovely sunshine to boot. With the many course changes and the usual mêlée of orange buoys, the fleet split off up the first beat. Alex & Alex with their favoured "go left" along with the other TBYC boats of Julian & Jeremy and George & Howard. The Stone posse headed off right. Looking ahead, it seemed there was a big header by the way the leading boats were going. Or was that a massive bear away! They were leading us to the wrong mark! After realising our error and with a good many toys being thrown metaphorically into the sea, we all found ourselves on a fast fetch to the correct mark that the Stone crews had found. Trevor & Ben were off to the races again with Dan & Hugo, Richie & Matt all chasing hard. Had they done enough and had Alex & Alex thrown it?

The rest of the race was a game of catch up for a few and in a wonderful breeze that the Hurricane 5.9 SX truly loves. Trevor & Ben took the win with Dan & Hugo 2nd and Richie & Matt 3rd.

The results were done, but not for the first time during the event they were wrong. So with some quick calculations the lead 2 boats were on equal points. But with 4 bullets it was a strong count back and Alex Farrall and Alex Warrington were crowned the 2024 European Champions. Many congratulations boys on a superb regatta. Not to mention the very hard fight that Trevor & Ben and Richie & Matt brought to the table. 1 point split all 3! It's tough at the top of the Hurricane fleet.

Thank you to Yacht Club Carnac for hosting a superb event and for all the Hurricane sailors who made the huge effort to be there and take part. It made the event with you all there, no doubt. It was especially nice to get to know Darragh and Donel and hope you will join us again this year.

As for next time - it's down to us, the Hurricane Class to find all the other European Hurricane 5.9's and see if we can host another event either next year or the following.

Merci et a bientôt!

Full results can be found here (PDF format)

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