Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne win first National 12 event of season

Christmas trees and floating breeze blocks were amongst the obstacles to be avoided by the nine boats that competed for the Royal Thames trophy at Ranelagh Sailing Club on Sunday 9 January. Much to the relief of the competitors, most of whom had attended Queen Mary for the Bloody Mary on the Saturday, the wind had subsided but remained gusty.

From the running start (the norm at Ranelagh) John and Mandy Thornton took the lead as the fleet headed down towards Hammersmith with the flooding tide. A handbrake turn to starboard at a leeward mark saw the Thorntons leading from a very tight pack of the other eight boats. Short tacking up past Fulham Football Club in a Force 1-4 proved to be a highly energetic activity, and the fit young Thorntons extended their lead further. Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne had taken up the chase and Mike Cooke and Emma Wilkins were battling for third until their mainsail fell down.

As the race progressed the Thorntons extended their lead for the first three laps of four, pursued by Camm and Ballantyne with Frances Gifford and Jessica Brown hot on their heels. By the fourth lap Zoe Ballantyne had clearly been taking her brave pills and was seen fully hiked despite the continuously imminent headers that could prove very wet and they closed the gap on John and Mandy Thornton, to overtake a quarter of the mile from the finish.

Overall Results

1st 3492 Babelfish, Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne

2nd 3468 Pillow Fight, John and Mandy Thornton

3rd 3431 Zippy, Frances Gifford and Jessica Brown

4th 3418 New Isabelle, Will and Mary Henderson