Gathering of the clans

At Northampton SC for Nicholston Memorial Trophy

Thursday January 30th 2003, Author: Thomas Stewart, Location: United Kingdom
The third annual Steve Nicholson Memorial race was held on the 25th January at Northampton Sailing Club. Crewsaver, Gill, Gul, Henri Lloyd, Magic Marine and Musto generously donated the prizes and the event raised just under £2000 for asthma research.

The event is a two race open handicap split into separate starts for asymmetric, two man and single-handed dinghies.

The weather forecast of thirty mile an hour winds seemed to put no one off and some good breezes and unseasonably mild weather rewarded the125 competing boats.

The 48 boat two handed fleet started first. Nigel Bird and Katie Dolling sailing an Enterprise probably made the best start but as often is the case in big handicap fleets, the stream of bigger faster boats put paid to their chances and they finished 17th in race one. It was the Fireballs of Dave Wade/Richard Wagstaff and that of Chips Howarth/ Viv Townend that battled for first place on the water, with Wade and Wagstaff coming out on top at the finish, but once the handicappers had done their bit, it was Simon Potts and Chris Downham in a Merlin Rocket who won race one.

The wind had dropped for race two which led to a change at the front. David Winder crewed by Jilly Blake in a Merlin beat the fireballs around the course and took the handicap victory. Simon Potts and Chris Downham were right up with the action and scored a second, which gave them overall victory. Further down the results Tom Stewart and Liz Ross stayed ahead of a strong fleet of National 12s and finished 6th overall, likewise Matt Flint & Andy Thompson headed a strong turn out of Flying fifteens to finish 7th. Nigel Bird and Katie Dolling were first Enterprise in both races but their16th overall probably fails to reflect how well they sailed.


1st Simon Potts & Chris Downham Merlin Rocket Shustoke S.C.
2nd Chips Howarth & Viv Townend Fireball Hayling Island S.C.
3rd Dave Wade & Richard Wagstaff Northampton S.C.

The 46 competitors in the Single Handed fleet started five minutes after the doublehanders and it only took a lap for the faster boats in the fleet to mix it with the earlier starters. Local star Anthony York in an RS600 won both races on the water and with enough distance ahead of the rest he took race one on handicap, and a 5th place in race two was more than enough to win overall. Clive Harries led the charge from the Grimwith Vortex fleet but unlike last year, when Vortexes dominated he only managed a 5th place on handicap in race one and the lighter conditions in race two appeared not to suit them as the best Vortex in race two only managed 21st place.

Martin Weatherstone sailing a Moth was right up with the leading Vortexes in the first race and earned himself a second on handicap but struggled in the second race, he still managed to beat the five other Moths overall. The challenge from the Phantom fleet was exceptionally strong with twelve boats competing and three finishing in the top four places. Nick Beloe sailed consistently and finished with a 6th and a 3rd giving him 2nd overall, edging out former National Champion Alan Burrell, who in turn managed to beat current champ Simon Childs by a point.

1st Anthony York RS600 Northampton S.C.
2nd Nick Beloe Phantom Northampton S.C.
3rd Allan Burrell Phantom Thorpe Bay Y.C.

The asymmetric fleet sailed their first race whilst everyone else had a lunch break.
The 49er of Olympic Silver medallist Simon Hiscocks and Charlie Muir was the first boat to reach the windward mark, along with Dave Hall and Adam Clark. Ian Pinnell and Kimbell Morrison in an International 14 were hot on their heels and it looked as if these three boats would dominate the race. However, on the second lap a black cloud brought a 30-degree wind shift and another 10 knots of breeze and the fast boats could not make the leeward mark.

For a short time Graham Vials and Katherine Hopson in an RS200 were the only boat not over powered and were able to make it to the buoy on a flat out reach unfortunately for them Race Officer Richard Willows was quick to react to the wind shift and decided that as they were meant to be sailing windward leewards, he would re-start the race.

After the re-start it was Ian Pinnell who stayed close enough to the 49ers to beat them and the rest of the fleet on handicap. RS 400 stars Roger Gilbert and James Stewart showed their experience and coped well with the supposedly faster boats to take 2nd on handicap in race one and in the lighter second race, they reversed the finishing order with Pinnell and Morrison, which meant that they won overall. Roger Phillips and Will Crocker sailing a 29er were consistent with a 3rd and a 4th and edged out James Mackintosh in a Musto Skiff to finish 3rd.

1st Roger Gilbert & James Stewart RS400 Frensham Pond S.C.
2nd Ian Pinnell & Kimbell Morrison Int 14 Northampton S.C.
3rd Roger Phillips & Will Crocker 29er Grafham S.C.

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