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CoastWaterSports 2014

Tasar National Championship at Porthpean Sailing Club

by Sarah Desjonqueres 5 Jul 13:06 BST 27-30 June 2024

P-courses, port hand flyers and screaming reaches

The sun rose over Gribben Head last Thursday 27th June and once more lit the Cornish curves of St Austell bay. Up on the green, by the gorgeous little sailing Club that is Porthpean SC, 26 Tasars were being faffed over, fettled and polished in preparation for this year's Tasar Nationals. As always, the excitement was palpable and the chat convivial, many of us sailors only meet up once a year and it is always a pleasure to catch up.

The last time we all met at this venue, we had fabulous conditions, the pasty boat was on stand by and we even had an on the water marriage proposal! I can confirm that happy couple is still very much a happy couple! Just for this year however, the pasty boat has been stood down and is taking a well-earned rest, and there were no reports of romance on the waves, however the conditions and the racing could not have been better.

With 2 course layouts to choose from, our estimable Commodore and RO for the championship, Stacey Bray, opted for the sausage/triangle race set up for day one, ideal for the light conditions and perfect for trying out some downwind tactics. With the light wind forecast for the next day in mind, the Race Team decided to run 3 races back to back in a change from the listed 2.

All 26 sign ons launched from a fairly empty beach, and headed out across the bay toward Polkerris on the other side. Amongst them were sailors Sue Hunter and Dave Hairs, visiting from Highcliffe SC and new to the fleet, happy as Larry in in a boat borrowed from the previous national Champions Jer & Suzanne Hawkins - big thank you to them for their generosity.

Racing under the I flag for the whole championship, we turned out to be very well-behaved bunch and race one got away to a clean start with no incidents. From where the Roving Reporter was sitting, the rabble racing ahead was composed of the usual suspects, a collection of previous champions over the years plus the defending champs Steve & Sarah Cockerill. Everyone had their race face on, you could tell it was race one, energy levels were high and most boats were flat. There wasn't too much carnage around the marks, although after the first run there was a lot to be gained if you rounded the mark on the inside and went left back down towards Carlyon Bay. There was little position switching throughout the first race, which was taken in the end, by the reigning champions, giving them an ideal start to their campaign.

Race 2 start was fairly similar, with the exception of Steve Mitchell & Polly Newman who got a banger of a port hand flyer right across the fleet and which subsequently carried them ahead of the pack. By race 2 a bit more wind had wandered in bringing with it some interesting sneaky gusts. Said sneaky gusts caught a few by surprise, none more so than HISC Ian Swann & Spike Daniels. Roaring down on port, they came across Rick & Sarah Perkins fully hiked on starboard. The shout went up and the pair attempted to dip Rick, unfortunately for them, one of the aforementioned gusts galloped in to say hello and propelled them forward at a rather accelerated rate. The only other boat in the area had the Roving Reporter in it, and she can attest to the very loud thwack as a planing tasar bow clipped the port quarter of Rick's boat. Turns were done & apologies issued but unknown to Ian & Spike, the damage to the bow was a hole. A proper hole. The boys managed to finish the race whilst slowly getting lower and lower in the water and were ultimately forced to retire. For Rick & Sarah, the damage was a slight crazing of the surface of the boat. At the front of race 2 sat the home grown team of Jer & Suzanne who grabbed their first bullet and got their campaign started.

The last race of the day was a little messy for visitors and first ever winners of the Tasar Nationals in 1977. After finding themselves OCS, Tine Udo & Jan Slotemaker hit the Committee Boat on the start as the slot they thought they had found was closed down. They made good, but were then caught by one of the swirling gusts and went swimming half way up the beat. No stress, however, these guys are as chill as it comes, they got on with it and finished the race with a 'discard'. Up at the front it was a similar story for our champs Jer & Suzanne. Jer, sporting a knee injury, was racing with limited mobility, and sadly this affected his ability to react quickly when a fat gust romped through. The lead they had was lost to a capsize. Frustrating for them. The race now belonged to another pair of ex champions, our Aussie visitors, Paul & Bronwen Ridgeway, who got their first bullet. Day one, 3 different winners. Excellent.

Saturday rolled in with the predicted lacklustre winds and Stace and his race team went with race layout 2, a P-course. Over in the Roving Reporter's boat, discussions were afoot over the predicted southerly wind direction change. The decision was made to bang a right on the beat. After a clean start all round again, this is exactly what was executed but bizarrely we found ourselves alone in this decision, every other boat had opted for the left hand side. Were we heading for the wrong mark? Surely not. In a totally fun twist we found ourselves first to the windward mark with the entire fleet behind us. Definitely a new one for the Roving Reporter! In fact we managed a whole P before we were hunted down, firstly by the freshly fixed boat of Ian & Spike up the second beat then on the last leg by the defending champs. 3rd place however..... happy Roving Reporter.

Not sure what happened in the next 2 races, the Roving Reporter was still giddy from the first race of the day. One thing is for certain, Steve & Sarah found a perfect port hand lane to start in and went for it, they capitalised on that advantage and translated it into their second win. Fighting the pain and still looking to get their hands on the trophy, the home grown pairing of Jer & Suz subsequently bagged the last race of the day and promptly forgot all about yesterday's dip. Again, 3 different winners on day 2. Still excellent.

Back on shore the BBQ was fired up and a stream of happy sailors flowed from the clubhouse, glass in hand to share a story or two from the day. With 6 races locked down, we had a championship in place, regardless of what the weather decided to throw at us tomorrow.

Well, the weather didn't throw anything at us, it gifted us the most delicious, thrilling conditions and the perfect way to end a delightful weekend. Sticking to the P course, the 26 lined up once more to find a position on a very windy and very busy start line. Steve and Sarah went for the port hand flyer, however it was not to be and they ended up weaving a path through a lot of shouty starboard boats - see drone footage link - it's all recorded!. Up at the front were the Hawkins leading the way with the Ridgeways, the Perkins, the Cockerills and Paddy with the Roving Reporter in hot pursuit. Unfortunately for Jer & Suz as they approached the leeward mark there was a glitch in the matrix of Jer's mind, maybe caused by the heady mix of pain killers or the excitement of the race or perhaps a lack of vodka in his coke the night before? - who knows, but they rounded the mark in reverse, failed to unwind correctly and ended up with their first letters on the scoreboard. In the end the Ridgeways took the victory and put another 1 on their tally.

It wasn't all fun, PSC team Justin & Brian had been for a swim and decided to retire before the crew got too cold. Our newbies Dave & Sue had lost (and subsequently recovered) their whisker pole by hooking it round the leeward mark as they passed it, PSC team John & Rachel attempted the same trick and managed to tangle themselves up in the netting around the mark and virtually drag it along. No harm done. Sadly, in the PSC boat of Pete & Tom, the wind was too much for the bottom section of their mast which decided to snap into 2 and skewer their brand new sail in the process.

The wind didn't abate, if anything it picked up slightly, the utterly heavenly reaches were looking like they were going to be even more screamy next race, Tasars can certainly lift their skirts and fly when they want. It was with this excitement in mind, that the 24 remaining boats all lined up for the last race of the day. There was a different mix of sailors at the front at the end of the first beat, it was quite tricky to decide which way to go. Over in the Roving Reporters boat, there were some funny sounds coming from somewhere on board. Oh well we thought.... The first reach was as much fun as the previous ones, newbies Dave & Sue were having a cracking race and were very much up in the mix. As our boat came flying into the gybe mark we discovered the source of the funny sounds. Exiting the gybe the gooseneck sheared off the mast and left us bobbing around with a dangling boom. Home time for team Paddy & Sarah. The final race of the championship was taken by the reigning champions, Steve & Sarah, who after 8 races posted an impressive 3 wins, and 3 second places, discarding positions on the scoreboard that most of us can only dream of!

Cream teas, jam first obviously, awaited us all at the Clubhouse as the champsionships came to an end.

Huge thanks to Stacey & Emma Bray, Andrew & Jenny Kendall, Alex & Clare Royle, Marcus Royle, Kay Ecclestone, Ken Fobbester, Nigel Dowrick, Lynn & Tony Dunn, Simon & Jo Elliot, Sharon Coello, Harry Fryer, Jezza, Steve & Mary-Jane Robinson, Pete & Janet Barnes, Julie & Keith Simmonds and the many, many Club members (I really apologise if I have missed your name out) who gave up their weekend to deliver a perfect Tasar Nationals. PSC is such a welcoming and giving club, the fact that so many members all came down to join in the event all weekend speaks volumes for the love that abounds in the Club. There was lots of heartwarming chat in the changing rooms about what happy little Club PSC is, and this Roving Reporter couldn't agree more.

Thank you PSC, you are all stars.

If you want to see how exciting the last day's racing was, Alan Harris has done some incredible drone footage. Thanks Alan.

Gallery of photos at

Overall Results:

PosBoat NameSail NoHelmCrewClubR1R2R3R4R5R6R7R8Pts
1stRooster2831Steve CockerillSarah CockerillStokes Bay SC12221‑4‑319
2ndRidgididge2975Paul RidgewayBronwen RidgewayLeigh and Lowton SC‑531‑6521416
3rdPanda2973Jeremy HawkinsSuzanne HawkinsPorthpean SC31‑9441(DNF)619
4th 2629Rick PerkinsSarah PerkinsWhitstable YC2‑126‑7264323
5th 2815David SayceFiona SayceHayling Island SC‑1245‑9652830
6th 2833Steve MitchellPolly NewmanPorthpean SC‑757‑22377736
7th 351Alex ButlerTony ButlerHayling Island SC4108‑2083‑111144
8thBlue175Ian SwannSpike DanielsHayling Island SC14‑16(DNS)111810246
9thAppetasar298Constantijn UdoJan SlotemakerWSV De Put66‑18111011‑13549
10thDances With Waves742Paddy SeylerSarah DesjonqueresPorthpean SC / Highcliffe SC111111312‑155(DNF)53
11thRock & Roll 32933Rod PorteousMaureen PorteousHayling Island SC‑13945‑151391353
12thSpaggerwocky2816Neil SpacagnaSteve EusticeBabbacombe Corinthian SC9812814‑198‑1559
13thDumb Owl2802John ReesKato ChildsHayling Island SC‑157131479(DNF)1060
14th 2636Andrew ThompsonCharlotte HarrisHythe & saltwood‑17‑14313912121261
15th 735Richard ArmstrongSteve CoelloPorthpean SC‑1613‑171016106964
16thSail Agreed1167John LawtonAndrew ProbertBabbacombe Corinthian SC8151012‑17‑18141473
17th 2974Benedict WhybrowPilar MoralesClevedon SC‑20171416‑1816161796
18thSnowy Too104Peter BellLinda SydenhamCastle Cove SC18‑2120‑2113142019104
19th 2505Mark FowlerGary FowlerHunts SC22181517‑26‑241518105
20thMidlife Crises2625Mike VoyzeyDave SaundersPorthpean SC19‑26(DNS)1920171720112
21st 263Dave HairsSue HunterHighcliffe SC‑252216‑2521201816113
22nd 269Claire GeogheganBrian AllenGrafham SC / Brightlingsea SC21201915‑2525(DNS)21121
23rdBeez Kneez1463Justin PhyallBrian PhillipsPorthpean SC1019212423(DNF)(DNF)DNS124
24thRumproller2875John HancockRachel HancockPorthpean SC‑24‑24221822211923125
25thPerfect Day2521Pete KeilbartIsobel / Tom KeilbartPorthpean SC232323231922(DNF)(DNS)133
26thGreen Machine2305Ciaran SpencerEmma SpencerPorthpean SC(DNF)2524262423(DNF)22144

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