Steve Goucher and Phil Evans won last weekend's Flying 15 southern area championship at Hayling Island

With an early competition of ‘hunt the committee boat’ the Flying 15 fleet finally reached the race area for the southern area championship, south of the harbour entrance at Hayling Island on 24 August where race officer Mike Baker patiently waited with a course set one hour before first gun.

After a general recall, and black flag raised, the fleet got away at the second attempt in a good southerly Force 2-3. Barry and Sue Parkin headed south, benefited from good speed and a marginal tide variation, to head the fleet from the windward mark to the finish. Miles Odell and Chris Hewkin registered second place with world champion Charles and David Apthorp in third.

For the Saturday afternoon race, leading boats favoured the right side of the beat with Miles Odell and Steve Goacher, and Phil Evans emerging as leaders at the windward mark. The westerly going tide created a tight first reach with little place changing. On both runs Roger and Barbara Palmer ran off to starboard away from the gybed fleet gaining handsomely on both occasions. By the time Goacher had passed Odell up the second beat and the leading group rounded the bottom mark Roger Palmer had worked through to third leaving Matt Flint and Andy Thompson fourth.

Race three started in a light northerly breeze that shifted and filled. The challenging conditions favoured those who took the middle or right-hand side of the beat. First round the windward mark from the right was Alan Bax, followed by Barry Parkin then Mark Woods and Ian Gorringe.

As the sea breeze battled with the northerly the first two boats went for a southerly sea breeze to be thwarted as the wind filled from the west. By staying high Mark Woods beat Bax to the wing mark closely followed by Ben and Brett Dingwell and Peter and Sue Bannister.

The second reach had become a run in fickle conditions. Mark Woods ghosted through to win a shorten race. Behind, as the breeze swung west to north, Charles Apthorp found a private northerly zephyer to pinch second place from Ben Dingwell then Alan Bax.

Race 4 was started in a flat patch with those starting at the pin end benefiting from a breeze that only filled in on the left side of the course. Barry Parkin established a good lead from Adrian Tattersall and Tim Smart as the fleet strung out along the first reach. On the second reach the fleet concertinaed into a large hole. Ahead of a mass rounding Steve Goucher gained most by gybing south, rounding first ahead of Miles Odell and Roger Palmer, to win a shortened course at the windward mark with the unfortunate Parkins in fifth.

After four races, with a discard counted, overall standings were Odell six points, Goucher seven points, Parkin and Palmer 11 points and Apthorpe 12 points.

On Monday the wind built to the forecast Force 4 northerly and with race officer Mike Baker setting reaching legs described as ‘spot on’, the final race gave brilliant sailing and a fitting conclusion to the series.

From a pin end bias the port side was favoured and once again Barry Parkin rounded first pursued by Dave Lucas, Miles Odell, Matt Flint then Steve Goucher. On the first reach Goucher flew through to second place at the wing mark then overhauled the Parkins having spinnaker problems after the gybe. After the leeward mark Goucher led to the finish from Flint and Lucas, who battled it out with a number of place changes around the remaining three laps for second and third place respectively, ahead of the pursuing group of Bax, Odell, Parkin and Apthorp.

Final overall placing gave Steve Goucher and Phil Evans the championship, Miles Odell a well earned second place, and Barry Parkin third.