Battle for the Top – Nationals Day 4

 

Sunny conditions and 13 mph winds greeted the competitors at the start of the final day of the British Moth Nationals at Northampton SC. The overnight standings had set the scene for some close boat on boat racing with only 5.75 points separating the top four of Claridge, Cooper, Davison and Mathews. Cooper required a win and for Claridge to be outside the top 3 to prevent the Lymingotn sailor from securing his second title. Likewise Davison needed to stay ahead of Mathews to secure third overall.

From the start a large port lift pulled Steve Seargent through to lead at the windward mark, closely pursued by Mathews and Davison. Claridge and Cooper battled back from the wrong side of the beat to round fifth and seventh respectively, separated by Roger Witts. At the end of the downwind legs Davison had edged in front of Seargent and Mathews. Claridge held his advantage over Cooper at the leeward mark and this enabled him to cover Cooper aggressively taking him off the preferred upwind line, keeping Cooper outside the Top five and securely behind Witts.

At the front Seargent regained the lead and Davison maintained his position in front of Mathews. Having completed his task of blunting Cooper’s challenge, Claridge set off in pursuit of the leaders and closed in to take the lead on the downwind legs of the third lap. Meanwhile Cooper struggled to break into the top 5 while contending with both Witts and a closing Richard Keefe.

On the final lap, Cooper managed to dispense with Wiits and Mathews and gained significantly on the top 3 of Claridge, Sergent and Davison on the downwind section, rounding the penultimate mark in second place. A freshening breeze saw a flying final reach into the leeward mark pull Cooper to within a couple of boat lengths of Claridge. Claridge covered diligently on the final short beat to the finish line and headed him by a couple of seconds to earn a very well deserved second British Moth Championship title. Davison came in third, ahead of Seargent and so secured the third place overall he had held overnight, with Mathews fourth overall. Nicola Barrett came home in fifteenth place, securing twelfth overall and the Ladies Championship after some consistent finishes in and around the top ten earlier in the week.

For the valiant tail enders, the Pitsford Water wind had one more surprise in store – a southerly change meant that instead of laying the finish line as the earlier boats had, they had to beat from the final mark to the line. A final bit of excitement, to remember the series by.