Fat face come out on top

After a blustery weekend of racing for the UK 18ft skiff fleet at Datchet

Thursday May 10th 2007, Author: Alec Mckinley, Location: United Kingdom
After a weekend of high wind, high drama and high speed the Fat Face 18ft Skiff sailed by Tim Penfold, Matt Alvarado and Henry Clarke emerged worthy winners of a very demanding Grand Prix.

Saturday started with hesitation over choice of rigs until news of 30 knot gusts registering on the club anometer persuaded the majority of the fleet to 'go small'.

The first race was very tight with the lead swapping between five boats. Ian Turnbull, Paul Constable and Alec Mckinlay on Base 1, winners of the previous round, rounded the windward mark first, with the fleet hot on their tails. After some very tight racing between Base 1, Hurley Palmer Flatt (Steve Maclean, Sandy Wright and Adam Kaczor Warry), Wet and Wild (Ed Browne, Mark Addison and Graeme Oliver) and fresh out of the container from Australia Fat Face and General Electric (Mason Woodworth, David Brown and Toby Linnell) it was General Electric who showed good speed with their flat top rig and slipped ahead on the last beat and sailed to a comfortable win. Fat Face pulled through to second with Base 1 half a boat length behind. First casualty of the day was Pica, (James Mears, Stewart Meers and Matt Gill) the only boat to go out on the number one rig, who broke their boom at the gooseneck in a gust just before the first mark.

Race 2 and with the wind building the PRO set a reaching course... at the fleet’s request!! General Electric had built up a large lead by the first windward mark only to capsize at the gybe mark, breaking their bowsprit in the process - casualty 2. The reach to the wing mark was phenomenal with the skiffs hitting top speed on the flat Datchet water but every boat had trouble at the mark.

It was Wet and Wild who managed to get away almost cleanly and built up a large lead followed home by Fat Face and Hurley Palmer Flatt, the only boats to finish. On the following two sail reach nosedives were the order of the day and Base 1 helm Ian Turnbull demonstrated his diving skills once again, this time comparing the strength of his back-side to the kevlar in the mainsail - the kevlar lost....leaving the mainsail unusable - casualty 3.

After the fleet licked its wounds, race 3 started with only four boats and General Electric was without a bowsprit and spinnaker. Despite the 20 knot winds, the fleet was pushing the line with Wet & Wild and Hurley Palmer Flatt over early. General Electric jumped out to a big lead, but after rounding the windward mark they were helpless - only seconds passed before Fat Face came three stringing by at great speed. Wet & Wild soon followed. Hurley Palmer Flatt and General Electric rounded the leeward mark together in third and fourth. After one more lap, the places were set, Fat Face followed by Wet & Wild then Hurley Palmer Flatt who blew by General Electric on the final run.

Day 2 dawned with wind steadily over 25 knots and gusts in the 30s. In the concrete bowl of Datchet, the conditions were unsailable, so the fleet retired to watch the video of the previous days excitement leaving Fat Face the worthy winners of the event. Fresh from competing in the JJ Giltinan on Sydney Harbour, they showed they could shake off the dust and take the very challenging event

More photos on the following pages.


Pos Boat R1 R2 R3 Tot
1 Fat Face 2 2 1 5
2 Wet & Wild 4 1 2 7
3 Hurley Palmer Flatt 5 3 3 11
4 General Electric 1 DNF 4 13
5 Base 1 3 DNF DNS 19
6 SBR Racing 6 DNF DNS 22
7 Pica DNF DNS DNS 24

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