Apthorp wins his sixth Flying 15 nationals
A total of 46 boats including two Silver Fleet and 11 Classics travelled to Abersoch for the last major championship of 2004, last week. Javier Chacartegui and Joachim Cobarro 3796 travelled from Majorca probably in less time than the journey from the Shetlands made by Kenny Leask and Trina Coyne 2984. Both these crews enjoyed sailing in a large fleet and posted some good results.
The event was deemed a great success by the fleet as the winds were good throughout mainly a Force 3-4 initially from the south-east but veering south-westerly later in the week. There were no postponements or lost races, and the sailing was tight and highly competitive with the championship only decided by the final race.
Even when the sun did shine on the last day the wind stayed a good Force 3. The heavy swell early in the week eased but excellent planing conditions remained giving all competitors a week to relish. The number of general recalls and black flags illustrated the enthusiasm and competitiveness of the fleet especially those still trying to qualify for the world championship in Auckland in 2005.
Defending champion Steve Goacher was unexpectedly without Phil Evans, his normal crew, and sailed with Justin Chisholm at the beginning of the week and Richard Rigg for the latter races.
The nine races were won by five different boats and these five proved their consistency by also taking the top five places overall. Charles Apthorp, 3591, whose first national title was in 1981, this time sailing with Alan Green from Ireland , won his sixth championship with a 6.3 point margin over Steve Goacher 3721. However, the title was still undecided by the start of the final race and overall leader Apthorp engaged Goacher in classic pre-start match racing to prevent Goacher from securing an unprecedented four straight championship titles. Alan Bax/Paul Busby 3786 benefited from the duel to secure a final race win, which saw them take 3rd overall only 0.4 points behind Goacher, whose 4th place in the last race was not enough to beat Apthorp despite Apthorp with an 8th having his worst result of the week.
Mike Hart, winner in Pwllheli in 1998, had a great start to the week but could not repeat his success from the last time the nationals were held in Wales. Father and son team of David and Andrew McKee also started well with a win in the second race and, although they couldn’t maintain their form in the heavier conditions mid week, still managed a highly creditable 5th overall.
Kenny Leask/Trina Coyne 2984 won the Silver Fleet Trophy.
In the separate Classic championship Stuart and Jennifer Jones, 1155, Classic champions in 2001, were impressive winners winning all bar one of the races they sailed. Overall Results
1 3591 Charles Apthorp and Alan Green Hayling Island 19.7pts
2 3721 Steve Goacher and Richard Rigg Royal Windermere 25.0 pts
3 3786 Alan Bax and Paul Busby Hayling Island 25.4 pts
4 3817 Mike Hart and Tim Hall Port Dinorwic 37.5 pts
5 3805 David and Andrew McKee Dovestone 61.7 pts
6 3699 Simon Kneller and David Lucas Grafham Water 69.7 pts
1 1155 Stuart and Jennifer Jones Cardiff Bay 10.0 pts
2 2663 David Flint and Dave Hemingway Llangorse 20.4 pts
3 617 Graham Lamond and Scott Train South Windermere 28.8 pts