After 12 races, RYA Team GBR sailors Paul Brotherton and Olympic Silver medallist Simon Hiscocks won the RYA 49er Gold Series by 15 points from Tim Wadlow and Peter Spaulding of the United States. “It was good to win the regatta, we have had a very busy year with the world championship last month, so it was nice to win here at Weymouth, in what was fairly tricky conditions,” commented Paul Brotherton, “we are really looking forward to next year, there will be some changes with the sails and this should put us in a good position on the international circuit.”
The RYA 49er Gold Series could not get underway last weekend at the Weymouth and Portland Sailing Academy, due to winds gusting at more than 50 mph, this weekend the wind was kinder ranging from 5-12 knots. The idea of the event was to give the RYA Team GBR sailors and fellow British teams a chance to race against some of their foreign counterparts and have some good sailing in British waters. There were 22 teams in total with two teams from America, one from Belgium and three French teams.
Going into the final day, Olympic Silver medallist Ian Barker and crew Harvey Hilary were leading by four points from Paul Brotherton and Barker’s former crew, Simon Hiscocks. With the expectation of four races to sail worth double points, racing would be tight, and with no discard allowed from the final day, there was everything to play for.
Race one today got underway in six knots of breeze, Alister Richardson and Peter Greenhalgh led at the windward mark from Barker and Hilary, with Brotherton and Hiscocks in third place. In the light breeze it was difficult to gain places and these positions stood to the finish.
The second race of the day ended some teams regatta, five teams started early and were penalised with a black flag disqualification, meaning that they had to carry maximum points and would be automatically disqualified from the race. RYA Team GBR sailor Ian Barker was included among these teams, having to carry 46 points meant that all chances of winning the regatta had gone out of the window. Fellow team members, Chris Draper and Mark Asquith also started prematurely, and this was to see the end of their regatta. The British pairing of Alex Tobutt/Henry Clarke put in a great performance to win the race, in front of Brotherton/Hiscocks, with the American pairing of Wadlow/Spaulding finishing third.
The wind picked up for race three, and this seemed to suit the American pairing of Wadlow/Spaulding, they led at the windward mark, and showed good boat speed to extend their lead throughout the race to score their second win of the regatta. Brotherton/Hiscocks sailed consistently in the tricky conditions to finish in second place, in front of Stevie Morrison/Ben Rhodes.
With double points and no discard, Brotherton/Hiscocks needed to keep focused and if they carried on the consistent form that they have showed so far, the championship would be within their reach. Brotherton got a clean start and sailed a good tactical first beat to pop out at the windward mark by a good margin in front of Stephan Gresset/Pierrig Andre of France. Brotherton went on to extend his lead and win the race and ultimately the championship. Richardson/Greenhalgh made big gains downwind to finish in second place, which was enough to move them up into third position overall, with Wadlow/Spaulding splitting the ‘Brits’ in the overall positions, finishing third in the last race of the championships, and putting them in second place overall. A good result for Tobutt/Clarke, who sailed well to finish in fourth place overall.
Peter Greenhalgh summed up the conditions experienced in Weymouth this weekend “Racing was incredibly tight, and the light conditions were mentally testing. Double points today, with no discard meant that racing was very close and there was still a lot to play for right up until the end. It was great racing, and a good opportunity to race against some of