To the wire

Babbalaas versus Team Tonic showdown in final race of IRM Nationals

Monday June 3rd 2002, Author: Nigel Cherrie, Location: United Kingdom


David McLean's Babbalaas, winner of the 2002 IRM National Championship

With Olympic gold medallist Ben Ainslie behind the wheel, David McLean’s IC45 Babbalaas secured the Royal Ocean Racing Club IRM National Championship this afternoon, beating the Farr 52 Team Tonic to the title in the last race of the three-day series.

After five windward/leeward races over Saturday and Sunday, the Babbalaas team held a one-point lead over Nick Hewson’s Farr design going into today's final two races off Portsmouth. The first race, to the east of the Forts, evened up the score and left the outcome of the championship hinged on the afternoons result. "We had a good first race but we were second to Team Tonic, which brought us level on points although it was hard to know that with the handicap system," explained Ainslie, who is usually a ‘first past the post’ one-design sailor.

While Ainslie got away cleanly, things didn’t go according to plan onboard Tonic, skippered by Jeremy Robinson. "We messed up the start and had to fight ourselves clear. When we caught Bear [of Britain] up we had to race against them," said Robinson, reffering to the second Farr 52, Kit Hobday’s Bear of Britain.

Team Tonic finished eighth on corrected time, while Babbalaas was fourth. The race was won by Robbie Cameron-Davies’ Ker 11.3 I-Site, with another Olympian, Tornado ace Hugh Styles, calling the shots.

"It was nice to go into the last race with a chance to win it but it wasn’t to be our day," added Robinson. He did however have the satisfaction of beating Bear by seven points even though this is the first event he has lost this season as skipper.

Babbalaas’ scoreline of 2,2,2,8,2,4 shows that with the right team behind him, Ainslie can match the consistency he became famed for in the Laser dinghy. "I had a great three days. The crew work was excellent and Mike Richards did an excellent job calling the shots," he said, shying away from any credit for their performance. "We gelled well as a team and apart from the [OCS] start yesterday, we didn’t make many mistakes."

Bear of Britain, helmed by young match racer Mark Campbell-James was third overall while I-Site beat the gathering of Farr 40s, Ker 11.3s, a single Mumm 30 and the Mills 50 design Mandrake for fourth place in the fourteen boat fleet.

Overall results:

Boat Class Owner Points R1 R2 R3 R4 R5 R6 R7 R8
Babbalaas IC 45 David McLean 14 1 2 2 2 8 2 2 4
Team Tonic Farr 52 Nick Hewson 18 2 3 1 9 4 1 1 8
Bear of Britain Farr 52 Kit Hobday/Tim Louis 25 3 1 3 7 7 3 4 7
I-Site Ker 11.3 Robbie Cameron-Davies 26 4 7 6 15 1 6 5 1
Assegai Farr 40 Christianakis/Hunt 28.5 5 6 4 1 5 15 10.5 2
Too Steamy Farr 40 Nick & Anne Haigh 29 6 4 10 6 2 5 6 6
Fair Do's V Ker 11.3 John Shepherd 32 7 5 9 3 3 9 7 5
2XL Farr 40 David Murrin 44.5 8 13 8 4 6 7 10.5 9
Kerisma Ker 11.3 Chris Bull 49 9 12 13 10 9 12 3 3
Mandrake Mills 50 Peter Morton 50 10 8 7 12 10 4 9 12
Bounder IC45 Chris Little (Merry/Aisher) 58 11 9 5 13 11 8 12 13
El Gringo Ker 11.3 Nicholas Hartshorn 59 12 10 11 5 13 10 13 10
Minnie the Moocher Ker 11.3 Anthony Richards 64 13 11 12 11 12 11 8 11
Moonshine Mumm 30 Jack Kelly 81 14 14 14 8 15 15 15 15

See page two for more of Andy Nicholson's pictures of the action....

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