Frances Gifford and Sophie Mackley win last weekend's National 12 event at Pevensey Bay
A westerly Force 3 and a few grey clouds greeted a high quality fleet of National 12s at Pevensey Bay on Saturday 23 July. The tide was strong and the waves and angles of reaches great for surfing down ensuring a typical day of sea sailing at a longstanding favourite venue for the 12s.
Race one saw Frances Gifford and Sophie Mackley lead off the start and round the windward mark, only to be overtaken by Jon Brown and Rachel Williamson on the second reach by sailing lower and faster. Gifford and Mackley regained the lead on the second beat and held this for the sausage and to the upwind gate finish. Richard Williams and Stella Brown snuck past Brown and Williamson and to take second and almost first.
Gavin and Jasmine Willis flew off the start line in race two, never to be challenged for the lead. Gifford and Mackley sailed round in second, and Brown and Williamson, having been recalled to the start and having to run back against the fast ebbing tide to get there, started a minute and a half late, whizzed round the course to finish third.
Waking on Sunday, predominantly in tents, the driving rain was disappointing. The wind increased throughout the morning to a constant 25 knots and as the water came in, the 10ft waves were breaking onto the pebbly beach. This is apparently known as the Pevensey dump and with the wind known to be gusting a seven and launching by now all but terrifying, racing was cancelled for the day.
Often described as a championship form indicator, this proved unlikely to be the case this year, with Gifford and Mackley taking the open meeting with many more likely championship contenders further down the fleet.
1st – 3431 Frances Gifford and Sophie Mackley 3pts
2nd – 3450 Richard Williams and Stella Brown 6pts
3rd – 3483 Jon Brown and Rachel Williamson 6pts
4th – 3485 Gavin Willis and Jasmine Willis 7pts