Strong and gusty winds greeted the 32 entries at this year’s event. The very un-like Moth conditions keeping many ashore.
Practice Race winner (and new Class Chairman) Rob Wilder-881 “X-Moth” secured a 2nd place in the 1st points race – “Teddy Hicks Memorial Trophy” behind a very quick and race winner Robbie Claridge -878 “Pink Panther” with Colin Hall- 856 “Ockhams Razor” 3rd.
With 3 races scheduled for Day 2 the strong wind and gusty conditions prevailed but lessened through the day and encouraged more boats out to the starting line.
Claridge totally dominated the days racing winning all 3 races taking the “Coupe De Leon”, “Marlow Salver” and new (kindly donated by Elaine Gillingham and Colin Hall) “Obelisk Trophy” who was flying upwind and demonstrating superb boat handling skills.
Tim Davison-846 “Proper Job” added two 2nd places and a 3rd to his days tally and Wilder two 3rd places and a 4th. Roger Witts-880 “Same Same” suffered gear failure in the first race of the day but was visibly back on form and pressed Claridge in the “Obelisk Trophy”. Claridge was nursing a damaged kicker and covered Witts for the whole race eventually taking the win by a couple of yards.
With Claridge clearly stamping his authority on the event at the half-way stage he was a clear leader leaving it to past Champions Wilder, Davison, Witts and Hall to contend the runner-up positions.
Day 3 dawned to light drizzle and precious little wind and several postponements. To bemuse the Fleet the Race Committee staged a “there and back” again race for a bottle of wine kindly donated by OOD Chris Harris.
Dave Cannon – 788 “Huphanpuph” Medley S.C. made no mistakes and out-drifted everyone else to take a well deserved victory.
Mid- afternoon a light and shifty breeze kicked in and eventually settled down sufficient for the Race Committee to wake everyone from their slumber and pleasing the light weather experts and River based guys.
The first race for the “Amethyst Trophy” saw the first appearance of the Black Flag after the General Recall. Wilder lead from the start and was never headed, with Hall 2nd, Davison 3rd and Witts 4th. Luckless Colin Hall’s result being especially rewarding after he broke his Rudder Blade and his Hoop the day before. That needed a short trip home to raid the spares bin and an agricultural repair (2 x G Clamps!) to repair the damaged Hoop…..ever resourceful our Colin!
The “Thompson Trophy” was run “back to back” and saw Wilder repeat his earlier success in fine style from Claridge with Hall 3rd. Witts again finished 4th after starting closer to Scotland rather than the favoured pin end and giving himself a massive task to recover!
The Annual Dinner celebrations and revelry including some interesting “cross–dressing” ended very late. Special cheers going to new Champion elect Robbie Claridge in a half-length Leopard skin print fitted coat… very nice Robbie!
With some perhaps feeling somewhat worse for wear perfect conditions greeted the Fleet for the “Solent Trophy” the final race…
Cleanly away from the start the usual culprits could be found at the head of the Fleet but this time Class Secretary Graham Pope-828 “Grommit” joined in the fun in the initial stages. Ever present in the leading pack all week Steve Sargeant-865 “Parsnip” was again close at hand too and very eager to capitalise on any mistakes.
Witts and Claridge lead at the weather mark only for Witts to stall pushing him back down the pack to 12th! Meanwhile at the front Claridge, Wilder, Davison and Pope were jostling for positions on the downwind and reaching legs. At first Wilder narrowly lead only to be taken by Claridge with the ever present Davison very close by.
Witts was soon back in the hunt and gradually overhauled Pope to join the front 4 eventually passing Davison and then Wilder.
Closing on Claridge on the upwind legs Witts again found himself being covered. Claridge eased out a small lead that he maintained to the finish and his 5th win. Witts finished 2nd with Davison 3rd and Wilder 4th.
Championships are not always just about the victor it is often about racing right thro the whole fleet. To recognise middle fleet battles another new trophy was donated this year the “Bit in the Middle” Trophy going to Tony Latham – 756 “Oak Beauty”-Frampton-on-Severn S.C. who finished 14th overall.
Junior Champion and 5th overall was Tim Lupton – 818 “The Thing” and 2011 Ladies Champion is Abby Freeley – 783 “Lappet” both from S.E.S.C.A.
Veteran Champion is Tim Davison, and The Vintage Boat Trophy went to Toby Smith-351 “Poli” both from Medley S.C.
A fabulous Championships deservedly won by Robbie Claridge and being memorable not only for the superb racing but as a great social gathering with so many new faces attending their first Nationals.
Thanks of course go to the whole organising team at Northampton S.C….the Race Committee, Rescue Crews and on shore the Galley/Bar helpers for hosting a great event.
But we now have the rest of the season to look forward to and especially 2012… 2012 is our 80th Anniversary Year.
1st 878, Robbie Claridge (Royal Lymington S.C.)
2nd 881, Rob Wilder (Tamesis Club)
3rd 846, Tim Davison (Medley S.C.)
4th 880, Roger Witts (Frampton-on-Severn S.C.)
5th 818, Tim Lupton (S.E.S.C.A.)
6th 865, Steve Sargeant (Aldenham S.C.)