Goacher and Evans defend their title
All racing was abandoned on the final day of the 2011 Flying 15 British Nationals at Hayling Island SC, leaving the new British National Champions as Steve Goacher and Phil Evans. In second place were Russell Peters and Tim Hall, with Charles Apthorp and Gavin Tappenden in third place tied on points with Greg Wells and Mark Darling.
After several hours of waiting, one race start for the gold fleet, which was abandoned before they reached the windward mark. PRO Roger Palmer signalled the end of racing and the British Championship was officially over - an anticlimactic end to a difficult week, which had been plagued with unseasonable summer weather from day 1. The practice race and the first two races were lost due to the storms of the opening weekend. Monday was an exciting day's sailing for those who could stand the pace, big seas and strong winds providing conditions that the 15 excels in.
And those conditions were very much to the liking of defending champions, Steve Goacher and Phil Evans, as they blasted to two victories. The conditions brought to the fore a lot of familiar names, revelling in the spray and spume: Russell Peters and Tim Hall, Greg Wells and Mark Darling, Charles Apthorp and Gavin Tappenden and Australian's Grant Alderson and Dean Mcaullay, and Dave Tucker and Matt Summers. But a significant factor in the day's results was the retirement rate in the rough sea conditions and the number of black flag transgressions, something that was to be critical as the week unrolled.
Tuesday brought some relief from the strong winds but the breeze was fickle and heavy rain made for uncomfortable conditions. Goacher and Evans did not win a race but consolidated their lead, and with the first discard in play were set for a tricky final day. Peters and Hall, Apthorp and Tappenden, and Wells and Darling were all in touching distance of the title.
But the weather had one more card to play, from the storms of the opening day to the calm of the final day, forcing an early end to the series. Four races were sailed, four races were lost to the weather and Goacher and Evans, with their display of heavy weather sailing in the early races, were champions again. Steve in his acceptance speech was gracious as always, thanking the Race Officer for the excellent races they did manage in the difficult conditions.
Now, all thoughts turn to the Flying 15 World Championship which begins on Friday. Headed by Goacher and Evans the Britsh fleet has great depth and they are looking to return the World title, held by Australians Grant Alderson and Dean Mcaullay, to the Old Country. The strong Aussie entry plus the 28 extra boats joining the fleet for the Worlds, including additional entries from Belgium, Hong Kong, Ireland and France might just upset that plan . . . weather permitting. - GN
Flying 15 Championship of the British Isles (Pre Worlds Regatta) results:
1st GBR 3821 Steve GOACHER, Phil EVANS Royal Windermere YC 1.0 1.0 (6.0) 2.0 10.0 4.0pts
2nd GBR 3911 Russell PETERS, Tim HALL Hayling Island SC 1.0 2.0 (14.0) 3.0 20.0 6.0pts
3rd GBR 3957 Charles APTHORP, Gavin TAPPENDEN Hayling Island SC 5.0 1.0 (16.0) 1.0 23.0 7.0pts
4th GBR 3920 Greg WELLS, Mark DARLING Hayling Island SC 2.0 2.0 3.0 (13.0) 20.0 7.0pts
5th GBR 3922 Jeremy DAVY, Simon CHILDS Hayling Island SC 3.0 (45.0 BFD) 1.0 4.0 53.0 8.0pts
6th GBR 3902 Andy MCKEE, Richard JONES Dovestone SC 3.0 3.0 5.0 (9.0) 20.0 11.0pts
7th AUS 3984 Matt OWEN, Andrew REED Canberra YC 8.0 (45.0 DNC) 1.0 3.0 57.0 12.0pts
8th AUS 3933 Grant ALDERSON, Dean MCAULLAY Royal Freshwater Bay YC 4.0 4.0 4.0 (5.0) 17.0 12.0pts
9th GBR 3917 Mike HART, Richard RIGG Port Dinorwic SC 5.0 (45.0 BFD) 2.0 6.0 58.0 13.0pts
10th GBR 3928 Mike MCINTYRE, Gemma MCINTYRE Hayling Island SC 2.0 7.0 5.0 (16.0) 30.0 14.0pts