Forty one boats and crews arrived in Puerto Pollenca on the beautiful island of Mallorca for the inaugural Flying 15 European championship from 9-14 May

Forty one boats and crews arrived in Puerto Pollenca on the beautiful island of Mallorca for the inaugural Flying 15 European championship from 9-14 May. Travelling by land, sea and air competitors from all over the world, including Australia and New Zealand, gathered at the Reial Club Nautic de Puerto de Pollenca to compete for the Uffa Fox Memorial Perpetual Trophy.

The practice race was won by Jock Mawson and Ben Robinson.

In the first race the wind built up gradually providing exhilarating reaches and testing beats as the wind swung. David and Sally McKee, GBR 3805, from Dovestone,UK crossed the line first followed by John Lavery and David O’Brien, IRL 3773, from the National YC. Eight boats later discovered that they were OCS.

More wind followed for the second race, with huge, steep waves coming square on a port tack at times crashing in to the cockpit. Some damage ensued, broken halyards and the like, and as the local fleet were not used to sailing in such conditions, it was mainly the British and Irish boats that took the top places with Charles and David Apthorp, GBR 3591, from Hayling Island, first and Tom Hall and Ian Barker, GBR 3725, from Northampton second. Thoroughly exhausted the McKees crossed the line fifth but recorded a third place, as another two boats were OCS. They ended the day on first overall.

Day Two arrived in the teeth of a gale and racing was abandoned for the day. In total contrast the next day dawned with little wind and flat seas and the race officer had to postpone. Once started wind veered considerably and as the marks were moved those on the right of the beat took advantage of the increased pressure in the bands of wind. The Apthorps gained their second bullet and Eric Basset and Arnaud Biet, FRA 3785 from Dinard finished second with Lavery and O’Brien third. With a little more pressure for the second race, right was good again but it paid to take the shifts. Nigel Tullet and Sam Rayner, GBR 3816, from Royal Windermere were at the front when the first three boats mistakenly went through the gate at the end of the reach, leaving the way open for the McKees to record another win on the score card. Justin Burke and Alan Green, IRL3688, came in second with the Apthorps third. The points were now very close at the top of the table with the Apthorps and the McKees level and all to play for on the final day.

The final day, Friday, brought ‘normal’ conditions, bright sunshine, good wind and a superb day on the water. Again the wind was shifty with lines of pressure, but the very efficient and professional race committee and crews ensured fair racing and although the black flag appeared for the first time it was not fallen foul of. Tullet and Rayner, GBR 3816, made good their mistake from the previous day and won the first race convincingly with Jeremy Davy and Andy Thompson, GBR 3760, second and local sailors, Javier Chacartegui and Joaquin Cobarro, ESP 3796, in third place. Going in to what was to be the last race, the Apthorps, finally discarding their OCS on Day 1, shot off the line and made sure of the title by winning for the third time with the McKees posting a sixth place in the final race to secure second overall.

The prizegiving was held outside by the pool in the sunshine. Prizes were awarded to the first boat from each country, the first classic, silver and youngest sailors, the furthest travelled, (Jeffrey Morrison and Graeme Robinson from New Zealand), and the furthest travelled with boat, (James Gerard and Jon McKencie from Scotland). The first three overall, Charles and David Apthorp from Hayling Island, David and Sally McKee from Dovestone SC and John Lavery and David O’Brien from National YC, Ireland, took home a variety of prizes including a motorised scooter each provided by one of the many sponsors. Nils Bluman, Commodore Flying Fifteen International, who had travelled from Western Australia with crew Ray Sebo, thanked the RCNPP for holding a fabulous inaugural European Championship. The second Europeans will be held in the U.K in 2006 – the venue to be decided in July.