The National Osprey Class returned to Plymouth for the first time since 1972 on 3 August for its National Championships, hosted by Plym Yacht Club

The National Osprey Class returned to Plymouth for the first time since 1972 on 3 August for its National Championships, hosted by Plym Yacht Club at the recently opened Mountbatten Centre. With this classic high performance racing dinghy, the sailors relished the racing outside the breakwater on open seas on all but the final day when high offshore wind called for race officer’s judgement with racing inside the Sound. Day 1, Sunday, dawned with clear blue skies over the sea, and cloud over the land. Racing was delayed ashore until the wind arrived, rewarding us with a SW force 3-4 breeze in sunshine. The practice race was duly held with Oscar Chess/Nick Daly Hunt coming out on top. The first points race followed and saw Andy Barker/Phil Angrave squeeze round in front of Nigel Skudder/Peter Frith. At the windward mark, Barker soon opened up a lead escaping from Scudder and Oscar Chess/ Nick Daily-Hunt. On the second run Chess briefly moved into second, only for Scudder to immediately take the place back. Barker looked unbeatable until a pole end broke, allowing everyone to close up, but he held on to win. Day 2. No wind. No sailing. Unexpected lay day. Day 3, Tuesday, and two races were sailed to pick up the lost time on Monday. In race 2, George and Simon Odling made a personal achievement by being 1st at the wind ward mark, with George letting out a shout of ‘yes, that will do’. Andy slipped on past with Skudder moving into second at the gybe mark followed by Will and Tom Odling. Everything changed on the run when the wind filled in from the left. Oscar Chess/ Nick Daily-Hunt took advantage and moved up to second with Jane and Chris Seymour in third place which they held to the finish ahead of Mick Taylor/ Jon Willey.

The third race saw Rob Shaw/ Richard Walker sail a near perfect race, leading from Nigel Skudder/ Peter Frith and Andy Barker/ Phil Angrave. On the second beat Barker was lifted over Skudder, but neither of them spotted Will and Tom Odling going up the left side of the beat until it was too late. At the windward mark Will and Tom had recovered 100 metres to move into second place which they held to the finish behind the race winner Shaw and ahead of Barker.

On Day 4, Oscar Chess showed his form by taking an early lead in race 4. After some eventful place changing in the early rounds, the final beat saw Andy Barker, Will Odling and Mick Taylor neck and neck. Precise tactics (and tacks) enabled Barker to hold Odling beyond the layline, then tack back to ‘roll’ over Taylor in the last few hundred metres to claim second place behind Chess, with Odling third and Taylor fourth, Rob Shaw fifth and Jane Seymour sixth.

Day 5, and the fleet set out with an ominous forecast of NW 3-4 becoming 6-7, occasionally 8 later. In the event the weather only closed in at the finish of the race, with an exciting 3 mile reach home from the finish in decreasing visibility.

Andy Barker sailed an excellent race to take first place and an unassailable championship position, followed by Oscar Chess/ Nick Daily-Hunt who likewise clinched second place overall at this stage. Martin Lewis/ Terry Greene took third place followed by Des Menear/ Peter Grieg.

Day 6, Friday, and with a Westerly force 5-6 gusting 7 forecast the race officer decided to sail inside the harbour. Nigel Scudder/ Peter Frith looked good from the start, flying up wind to reach the windward mark ahead of Will Odling/ Tom Odling with Batt/Nick Willis in third. In a challenging race Mick Taylor/ Jon Willey showed excellent form to finish in second place, followed by Oscar Chess/ Nick Daily-Hunt and Martin Lewis/ Terry Greene.

Overall Results (Top four)





Will Odling