Mark Heeley's 'GBR 25', guided around the tricky waters of the Western Solent by Sydney Gold Medallist Iain Percy and big boat expert David Howlett, has won the first round of the Barlo Plastics Farr 40 European Series.
Mark Heeley’s ‘GBR 25’, guided around the tricky waters of the Western Solent by Sydney Gold Medallist Iain Percy and big boat expert David Howlett, has won the first round of the Barlo Plastics Farr 40 European Series hosted by the Royal Lymington YC this weekend.
After a tough three-day regatta, where the opening two races were totally dominated by the tide while the rest were sailed in a land interrupted shifty 14-18 knot north-easterly breeze, Oswald (from Cowes) and his ‘Game On’ crew were the only team capable to stealing overall honours in the deciding race (eight) from London yachtsman Mark Heeley, helming ‘GBR 25’.
‘Game On’ had to finish within one place of ‘GBR 25’ but by the final bottom mark was three places adrift of Heeley and his crew, who were well on the way to winning their fourth race of the eight race, no discard series.
Oswald opted for the left side of the course, hitting the mainland shore on the final beat. When the breeze shifted right, ‘Game On’ plummeted from fourth to last and handed victory to ‘GBR 25’. “Most of the boats were employing tidal tactics,” explained owner/driver of ‘Game On’, John Oswald. “The leading pack in the final race headed inshore to cheat the tide and were hit by a veer in the wind while the boats coming around the mark behind us got lifted past. The whole race was inverted. Nonetheless it was a fantastic weekend’s racing,” added John.
Heeley was meanwhile pleased the way his team is forming. “It was a very good first event for us. The combination of Iain Percy, David Howlett and Steve Mitchell was a very strong tactical unit in such a difficult race area,” commented Mark. “Overall it was typical one-design very close racing. Perhaps four boats had a slight edge on the water but no-one dominated the series.”
The three-day Barlo Plastics Farr 40 Western Championship was initiated by the RYA as part of the GBR Farr 40 trials process for the 2001 Admiral’s Cup. Irrespective of the demise of the Admiral’s Cup, the strength of Great Britain’s Farr 40 fleet and the need to facilitate competitive training as teams work up their campaigns for the Farr 40 world championship at Cowes in September has led to a stand alone series.
The Farr 40 class employs an owner/driver rule, eliminating ‘rock star’ helmsman although the quality of the afterguard and crews competing throughout the fleet includes Sydney medallists, world champions and plethora of names from successful international big boat campaigns.
Overall Results (after 8 races)
1st GBR 25 (M. Heeley) 56.3pts
2nd Game On (J. Oswald and J. Bainbridge) 52.2pts
3rd Warlord IV (P. Tolhurst) 45pts
4th 2XL (D. Murrin) 41.2pts
5th A bit of a Coup (T. Buckingham) 36pts
6th Too Steamy (N. Haigh) 35pts
7th Strunge Light (W. Schafer) 32pts
8th Vitric 5 (T. De Mulder) 29pts
9th A bit of a Fling (J. Ewart and D. Palmer) 19pts