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Bosun National Championships on Portsmouth Harbour

by Cdr Richard Jenkins 11 Sep 2001 22:53 BST

AUSTRALIA WIN BOSUN NATIONALS

Martin Linsley of the Royal Australian Navy is the new Bosun National Champion after an exciting series of six races with the lead constantly changing between the 3 main contenders for the title. Race Officer Graham Forshaw aptly described the 20 knot plus winds, flat sea and sunny skies as “champagne conditions” for competitors in this year’s nationals held in Portsmouth Harbour over the weekend 8/9 Sept. Sailing on the rising tide in restricted waters made tactical judgements supremely important on the beats and as no one judged correctly every time it lead to an exciting spectacle for spectators. Judicious course setting gave close sailing which contributed to the challenges and enjoyment for the competitors.

Although Balkan deployments and conflicting dinghy fixtures reduced the entries compared with previous years the 16 boats included a broad range of skills and ages. With a good start in the first race it was very satisfying for 13 year old junior champion Martin Dray to take a sixth place ahead of father David! Uncharacteristically David Peerless was over the line at the start of this race and combined with gear failure in the last race this removed him as a serious challenge for the overall championship this year.

Race 2 was sailed under a particularly squally cloud front with surging spinnaker runs that proved too much for many. Alan Pitt took advantage at the gybe mark and powered through. An even more boisterous start for Race 3 saw a fascinating duel develop. At the end Pitt sailing through Linsley’s lee on the reach chose the starboard tack on the start of the last windward beat while Linsley went on port and was able to slip ahead by a boat length on the line. Examples of good downwind spinnaker control by Derrick Page kept him in contention and at the start of the second day all three were battling for championship honours.

The challenge on the Sunday morning races was when to get actual benefit from spinnakers in the strong winds and to judge the changing tidal stream in the main channel. The three leaders challenged fiercely on the beats and all hinged on the last race. Coming down the last reach Pitt and Page gambled on spinnakers but were unable to control them sufficiently and Linsley powered through to the leeward mark maintaining his lead up the last short beat to take line honours and the championship.

Overall Results:

PosHelm & CrewClub
1stMartin LinsleyRAN
2ndDerrick Page and Nathan StaleyRAFSA Bowmoor
3rdAlan Pitt and Peter StaceyRNSA Plymouth
1st ArmyDavid and Edward Peerless 
1st CivilianDavid Dray 
1st JuniorMichael Dray 

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