Toby Dale and James Cole win Flying Dutchman southern area championship at Lymington
Lymington Town Sailing Club hosted the FD southern area championship on 20-21 August and attracted competitors from as far away as Aberdeen, Lancaster and North Wales.
The FD fleet found a friendly welcome, excellent hospitality and challenging racing conditions.
Toby Dale and James Cole borrowed a boat to defend their title and to engage in a duel with Julian Bridges and Corin Westley who had recently won the FD nationals.
The first race was held in a light northerly wind and an ebbing tide that gathered pace during the race. There was some close racing and eventually Dale took the lead, with Bridges second and Peter Doran and Richard Phillips third.
With an increasing tide, the second race was quickly under way and the fleet battled to round the marks. The tide took control in the dying wind and after an hour the race officer shortened the course but even so the leading boats could not match the tide, so with the fleet gently drifting away from the mark towards Hurst the race was abandoned.
Undeterred race officer, Nigel Walbank, set a new shorter course closer to the shore, but only one boat managed to round the first mark and with the wind expiring and spinning around in all directions, the race was abandoned.
Having, beaten up the river at spring low tide, the fleet enjoyed a pleasant evening and dinner in the clubhouse.
With little wind on Sunday morning, the last of the ebb tide took the fleet down the river to the start area where the tide was beginning to flood. The first race of the day saw sufficient wind to overcome the tide. Bridges took a commanding lead and was rewarded with a completed race. Dale was second and Tony Lyall and Colin Bridges third. Lucy Lingard and Jamie Whitaker showed good speed but slipped back. John Berry and Robin McGill were going well for some time in third place but slipped back towards the end.
The second race of the day was quickly started and again Lingard showed good early speed but Dale dominated the race and Lyall pulled through to finish second with Jon Williams and Alex Rogers third.
The sea breeze appeared in the distance at Hurst but was moving slowly. After setting a course the race officer delayed the start and the fleet was rewarded with a superb south-westerly Force 5. The fleet sprang alive and Dale and Cole in their element stormed away to a third win. Williams narrowly beat Lyall in the final stages of the race with Doran close behind.
1 GBR 373 Toby Dale and James Cole 3 points
2 GBR 380 Julian Bridges and Corin Westley 8 points
3 GBR 385 Tony Lyall and Colin Burns 8points