Gill Race Team UK champions
Craig Burlton, Stephen ‘AB’ White and Adam Heeley sailing Gill Race Team won the Zhik SB20 UK National Championships in Falmouth for the second time as a crew. Adam Heeley enjoys his third trip to the top of the podium in Falmouth and confirms his winning streak in the West Country.
Day 1 provided perfect conditions for four back-to-back windward-leeward races in Falmouth Bay which ensured the championships series. Gill Race Team posted a 2, 2, 2, 3 scorecard providing them with a lead of 11 points over second placed team, Henri Lloyd/Forelle Estates sailed by Joe Llewellyn, Jerry ‘Pasty’ Vigus and Nigel Wakefield.
A flat calm greeted the fleet on Day 2 in Falmouth. When it was released to the race course, and after a number of SB20-typical false starts, racing got underway. Peter Saxton made the correct call to shorten the course to ensure the race remained fair as the wind began to disintegrate. John Pollard, sailing with Rob Smith and Charlie Hook from the Royal Torbay Yacht Club, won the fifth race of the championship and what turned out to be the only race completed on day two.
After a long wait on the water, the Race Committee did start race six of the Championship. The over eager crews of John Pollard, Ian Hudson and Dudley Stock were all black flagged at the start of the sixth race; which was subsequently abandoned and the fleet were sent ashore for the day. Although there had only been one race and despite the scorching the fleet endured in the heat wave that has swept the UK this weekend, all crews returned ashore cheerful and in hunt of pasties and pints. Race six would be restarted on the following morning.
When day 3 dawned, the fleet was again signalled to remain ashore until 11.30 when the call came from the Race Committee that pressure was building off Pendennis Point and the fleet were released to the race course. While the course was laid and the fleet mustered in the starting area, the previous 5-7 knots began to drop. Although the start sequence for race six did begin, the committee hoisted the AP over A as there was not enough pressure to run a good race. The SB20 fleet returned to Port Pendennis to begin haul out and de-rigging.
Although just five of the 11 scheduled races were completed, the fleet enjoyed highly competitive racing in the fabulous surroundings of Falmouth Bay. PRO Peter Saxton delivered the perfect possible series of races in extremely challenging conditions; no Race Officer could have tried harder to complete the full schedule of races, but the conditions were not favourable on this occasion.
The Royal Cornwall Yacht Club hosted the Class to dinner on Saturday night at their fabulous river side club house. They have provided the class with another excellent Championship in Falmouth and all of their organisers and volunteers are thanked. Championship title sponsors Zhik, official equipment sponsors Harken, and event suppliers Port Pendennis and Sportsboat World have all provided fantastic support to the Championships for which all competitors are extremely thankful.
Attention now turns to the Grand Slam at Cowes Week, over 3-6 August with one final Solent ‘warm up’ event on 27-28 July at the Royal Southern Yacht Club.
Full results here