Racing started early on Saturday, 27 August, with eight teams set to compete at Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Academy. With no team favoured to win the event, competitors and spectators prepared for an exciting match racing series.
On day one the teams took to the water on the RYA’s fleet of J80’s and completed the first of two round robins. After 30 short but intense races, new comer Ian Dobson and opponent Richard Mason, who placed third at the 2004 Championships, led the pack by a small margin.
During the second round robin, both Dobson and Ben Ainsworth came up with a five win, two loss combination. After combining their two day score, Dobson was guaranteed a place in the final day of sailing, with Mason following in second. With only four boats going through to the semi-final and with a three way tie for third, fourth and fifth place, Wheeler and Ainsworth got through to the semi-finals on count back.
Dobson and Ainsworth were the first to battle it out in the semi-final with Dobson winning two races to one. Wheeler and Mason also sailed three races with the results going in Wheelers favour.
The final five match racing series kicked off with Wheeler showing his impressive boat speed and winning the first race. With the starting sequence for the second match underway, Dobson imposed two penalties upon Wheeler before the start. Wheeler was then black flagged 20 seconds after he crossed the starting line as he failed to put in his turns in the allotted time, making the score one match each. The wind picked up for match three and after some tight downwind racing, Dobson forced another penalty on Wheeler and took the win and the lead with two matches to one. Wheeler came back fighting and took the fourth match tying it up at two wins each. The fifth and final match saw another energetic pre-start with Wheeler coming off the line ahead of Dobson. Wheeler then stretched his lead and dominated the race, finishing ahead of Dobson and securing the Championship title.
Wheeler and his crew of Justin Visser, Tristan Jaques, Sam Pearson and Robbie Allam, will now go on to compete at the UK National Match Racing Championships later in the year. Second placed Dobson and his crew of Andy Tunnicliffe (Volvo RYA Keelboat Programme member), Nikki Birrell, Mary Rook and Christian Birrill, will also appear at the UK National Match Racing Championships.
1-Simon Wheeler, Justin Visser, Tristan Jaques, Sam Pearson, Robbie Allam
2-Ian Dobson, Andy Tunnicliffe, Nikki Birrill, Mary Rook, Christian Birrill
3-Richard Mason, Charlotte Lawrence, Georgie Blaver-Mann, Dan Schrieber, Elliott Parsons
4-Ben Ainsworth. Jo Brigg, Hannah Mills, Peggy Webster, James Wade
5-Ed Powys, Will Morgan, James Clak, Fynn Sterritt, Matt Day
6-Guy Brearey, Alasdair Craighead, Sam Brearey, Charlotte Clay, Andrew Mackay
7-Oliver Dix, Sam Maxfield, Chris Smith, Poppy Husband, James Whitehead
8-Philip White, Oliver White, Peter Cowell, Robert White, Tom Alderton
More pictures on the following pages