Victory for Magic Marine
And what a day it was. With a building southwesterly and a report from PRO Mike Johnson on the race track that it was already blowing 15 to 19 knots. out in the sound, it was an easy decision to opt for the smaller no.2 rigs. Although more stable than the westerly and north westerly direction there was going to be more chop and with a big wind forecast it only means one thing …. plenty of swimming.
In the first race of the day both Pica and Magic Marine had the best starts at the committee boat end with the rest of the fleet beneath them, Pica chose to tack first and take a Magic Marine’s transom, the rest of the fleet followed, but Pica came back into the windward mark on starboard forcing Magic Marine to take an early tack below the lay line.
Pica could not capitalise on the small lead due to a cautious bear away allowing Magic Marine, Original Chia and Black Dog through to leeward. Queue the middle of the fleet and a 25 knot gust. Hyde Sails and Eurolink made clean bear aways. The first casualty was TC-English Braids, who just couldn’t get the boat flat enough to turn the corner. Team Gill went into the back of a wave and kept going under, forcing avoiding action from Team Rutland, who were chasing and to leeward, avoiding a collision but not a swim.
LED, and Aftica flowed and somehow finding a passage through upside down boats. Hyde Sails was launching off waves in the gust that had flattened boats at the windward mark. The continued impact of landing off waves was too much for the carbon bowsprit which finally exploded abruptly ending Hyde’s racing. Some quick recovery skills by the crew managed to retrieve the kite without damage and lash the pole for a trip back to the dock without further incident. By this time the four leading boats had crossed through the gate together gunning down towards the bottom mark. With metres separating the boats it was all about who could hold their nerve.
At the leeward mark Pica went for a late drop coming in on a starboard gybe in front of Black Dog who had dropped their kite already. Pica had too much on and capsized at the mark letting the other three boats through. It was experience that was showing in keeping the boat upright in the breeze.
Black Dog, with Grant Rollerson on the helm, standing in for Jarrod Simpson, held the lead for the three laps of full on conditions and took line honours followed by other big breeze veterans on board Magic Marine and Original Chia. Pica finished fourth. A crucial result for regatta leaders Magic Marine (Eike Dietrich, Finn Mrugalla, Jan Peckolt), taking the pressure off a little from Pica’s bid for supremacy. In the conditions anything could happen and the regatta was by no means over.
The next start was similar with Pica taking again the transom of Magic Marine to be the first to the starboard lay line, coming in first to the windward mark but this time sailed into a convincing lead away from Magic Marine who were heavily involved in a close race with the Black Dog and Original Chia. TC English Braids were having a battle with Eurolink finally moving into fifth place leaving Eurolink and Aftica in 6th and 7th respectively.
With a decimated fleet and only five starters the battle was still on between Pica and Magic Marine to conclude the regatta in these awesome conditions. Despite the late charge and with four points adrift, Pica was running out of time to take the regatta from Magic Marine. It was Original Chia and again Pica who controlled from the Committee boat end, Pica first at the windward and kept control of the race with close tacks upwind with Magic who eventually capsized allowing the black dog. But with Original Chia and TC-English Braid throwing in the towel Eike Dietrich, Finn Mrugalla and Jan Peckolt's job was done as Team Magic Marine won the last event in the European Tour.
Stewart Mears, Tristan Hutt and Jamie Mears of team Pica came a close second, and had to be satisfied with winning the UK National Championships and UK Grand Prix. Jack Bouttell, Adam Minter, Jarrod Simpson on Black Dog came a very respectable third in the Event.
Sam Caslin, Mike Banks and Jack Grogan of Hyde Sails in fifth had done enough to win the European Grand Prix overall all. Best newcomer of the UK 18ft skiff season was awarded to Dave Jobson who teamed up with Neil Harrison and James Hemmingway to pull off a great performance with one of the oldest boats and pin head rig. Furthest travelled for the event was awarded to the Eurolink team (Tom Eggersdorfer, Latzi Meissner, Friedl Renner) from Munich.
The final weekend in the UK Skiff calendar not only had enjoyed the biggest turnout and conditions for 18ft skiff racing on British water in recent years but also involved some of the closest racing throughout the fleet. This intensive season of 18 sailing has been fantastic preparation for four UK teams making pilgrimage to Sydney for the JJ Giltinan. It will be very interesting to see how they fair down under.
A massive thank you to Mike Johnson, Alan Nichols, James Bemridge and team at the Royal Western Yacht Club for hosting a fantastic event in coordination with the Mount Batten Centre. Thanks also to Chris Davison at Ullman sails.
|1||Pica||Jamie Mears||Stewart Mears / Tristan Hutt||1||1||1||1||4|
|2||Hyde Sails||Jack Grogan||Mike Banks / Sam Caslin||2||8||2||2||14|
|3||LED||Steve McLean||Nick Pratt / Nick Murray||3||5||4||3||15|
|4||Young & Reckless||Tom Hill||Miguel Andrew / Mark Kudlinski||5||3||4||5||17|
|5||Carsington||Richard Allen||Richard Bland / Peter Shaw||4||7||3||4||18|
|6||Gill||Tom Kiddle||Matt Kiddle / Oscar Mead||7||4||6||6||23|
|7||Ronstan||Craig Hepplewaite||John Annan / Cammy Steele||7||2||8||8||25|
|7||Black Dog||Jarrod Simpson||Jack Bouttell / Adam Minter||7||8||8||2||25|
|9||Aftica||Mark Watts||Alex Farr / Marcelle Newbold||6||6||7||7||26|
|10||CLAPA||Neil Harrison||Dave Jobson / James Hemmingway||7||8||8||11||34|