Team Pindar Radii win UK 18ft Skiff nationals with a race to spare 28/8/07

The final day of the Formulas Spars UK 18ft Skiff National Championship in Torbay drew to a close yesterday (Monday) with Champagne sailing conditions.

After a couple of lighter shifty days, the gradient easterly wind brought with it a steady 12-14 knots with clear skies and sunshine, and a few Atlantic rollers to make the downwind legs a little more interesting. This years UK fleet has provided some of the closest racing for years, with now a number of teams capable of not only winning races but also whole series – and this has been reflected on the European circuit this year with British teams currently in the top three overall positions.

Andy Richards and his team of brother Dave together with Andrew Fairley where the on-form team to beat this weekend in Pindar Radii. Having already notched up 4 wins and a 2nd place, they were clearly out to retain their UK Nationals title in style. And the boys were not going to let up in the 6th race – another great start saw them tack off early into the building breeze that was also shifting gradually to the right.

The rest of the fleet followed, but not until Pindar Radii had already consolidated their lead by cutting back to cover the fleet after their early gain. Pindar Radii then shot off downwind not to be challenged for their unprecedented 5th bullet of the series and effectively sewing up the championship with a race to spare.

So the real race was now hotting up for the runners up slot. Fat Face had finally started to recover some of their early season form to round second at the top mark closely followed by Gill Wet & Wild and PICA. GE Commercial lying in 2nd in the series struggled up the first beat and then compounded their woes with an uncharacteristic capsize near the top mark, effectively putting them out of contention for this race. Their closest challenger Ed Browne and his team in Gill could not capitalise on this mistake to move up the rankings however, with PICA overhauling them on the downwind leg. With Fat Face holding onto 2nd at the gun, it was Jamie Mears in PICA who took the third place.

The last race was then the deciding duel between GE Commercial Finance and Gill for the runner up in the overall standings. Mason Woodworth, using all his skills as past North American Match Race Champion, managed to force Gill away from the favoured end of the start line, knowing that keeping Gill down the fleet with GE within a couple of places would guarantee second overall for the GE team. This tactic nearly backfired when Gill managed to pick their way up the first beat and round second at the top mark. There was then a gap of three boats to GE which would have left them tied on points, however, a great downwind saw GE pick up a place and just squeeze ahead of Gill in the overall result. During this duelling, Pindar Radii, sailing without any pressure, again showed a clean pair of heels to the fleet by winning the race completing their domination of this year’s event. Base 1 continued their good form from the previous day to finish third, however, it was too little too late to overtake Fat Face in the overall standings who finished in 5th in that race.

And so Pindar Radii where crowned worthy National champions for the second year in a row. GE Commercial took the runners up spot just ahead of Gill Wet and Wild, while Fat Face will have been content to pick up a well-earned 4th place in a competitive fleet after a shaky start to their series.

In addition to the national championship, the class kicked off their speed challenge sponsored by B&G – although not a big breeze event by any means, this was won by Mason Woodworth who clocked up a respectable top average speed (SOG) of 16.0knots – this side event will now be a regular feature of all UK events and we will no doubt see the teams pushing the 30kt barrier with the right conditions.

Overall Results (7 races, 1 discard)

1st Pindar Radii 6pts
2nd GE Commercial Finance 16pts
3rd Gill Wet and Wild 17pts
4th Fat Face 24pts
5th Base 1 27 pts
6th PICA 30 pts
7th Hurley Palmer Flatt 39 pts
8th Grapefruit Graphics 39pts
9th SBR Racing 54pts