The fifth national ranking event for the 49er took place at Hayling over the weekend of the 5-6 June

The fifth national ranking event for the 49er took place at Hayling over the weekend of the 5-6 June. The forecast was light but with one of the hottest days this year predicted a sea breeze was on the cards. The gradient wind and sea breeze were in opposing directions and it was just a matter of which would ultimately win and how quickly.

Before the first race it looked like neither would win as the sun came out the wind shifted 180 degrees but then the clouds rolled over and it switched back. With a little too’ing and fro’ing the race officer finally made the decision that it had settled, set the course and the racing was started. Most of the fleet started at the committee boat end and made it to the windward mark on a beat just fine. Those who went left of the start though were met with the strange situation of having to pop the kite to get to the windward mark as they caught the leading edge of the sea breeze.

With the course moved again and the sea breeze the victor (just) the 49ers managed to get off two of the three scheduled races in. The conditions were light (3-5kts) with the chop and tide running across the course making it a difficult job to navigate out ahead. Tom Smedley and Olivier Videl seamed to get a grip of the course and get their boat going better than the rest of the fleet recording two firsts with Ben McGrane/Jonathan Clegg and David Evans/Rick Peacock swapping places for 2nd and 3rd. The fleet was well spread and positions were changing in both Saturday’s races as crews hunted for the best route and swapped places back and forward as they got it right/wrong.

Sunday started off a flat calm first thing but it was going to be hotter still and the sea breeze had less to fight. Sure enough 12pm and there was 6 knots out on the water and at least high wiring for all upwind. Racing was close and starts even closer. As some of the fleet tried to get a jump on the competition there were a few premature starters and the black flag was out. Alistair Richardson and Alex Tobutt took two 1st places and a 2nd out of the three races. Other boats showing good form included 662 Simon Jenkins and Paul Hargreaves and John Wilson/ James Barker in 763 who pinned their colours to the mast with a handful of 4th, 5th and 6th places.

So in the end it was close fought battle for the top places. Alistair and Alex discarded a 6th from the Saturday and jumped to top with Tom/Olivier and Ben/Jon in joint 2nd on points with Tom/Olivier taking it with three wins out of the five races. Top Weekend Warrior was 763 John Wilson and James Barker who showed good form battling with the RYA-funded boats.

Overall a good spread of competition and conditions with a great ride back home on both days across the bar to get the heart racing for those who wanted to play. Great also to see a woman in the fleet again and if Claire has recovered from the experience then it would be great to see her back with Mike in 530.

Overall Results

1 7 Alistair Richardson and Alex Tobutt 9.0

2 653 Tom Smedley and Olivier Vidal 11.0

3 831 Ben McGran and Jonathan Clegg 11.0

4 672 David Evans and Rick Peacock 14.0

5 763 John Wilson and James Barker 21.0

6 749 James McIntosh and Phil Kennard 22.0