The GP14 Southern Area championship was hosted on 26-27 April by Bewl Valley SC
The GP14 Southern Area championship was hosted on 26-27 April by Bewl Valley SC. After a postponement for the wind to fill in, the first race got underway in less than 5 knots. The early leaders were Carl Jeffs and Paul Hilliar, but they got so tied up with each other that they led half the fleet to the wrong mark! Smart cookies in the increasing breeze were Dave Young who led the fleet home from Justin Jones and Andy Hateley. The breeze freshened for the second race and after a consultation with the course board, Richard Instone made no mistake this time to take the race from the consistent Young with Hateley again in third.
Sunday morning dawned with plenty of wind to keep crews on their toes. Jeffs led around the first mark but with the wind gusting to over 30 knots, his rudder promptly gave way. This allowed Hilliar into a lead that was never relinquished. The slightly soggy fleet followed with Hateley second and Jones third. The fourth race was held back to back with the breeze increasing. Jones led at the first mark and was never headed although Hateley was never far behind. Jeffs came back to grab third on the final leg.
After lunch, a reduced fleet headed out for a short final race in a moderated breeze. Jones held the overall lead, but Hateley could clinch the title if he beat Jones by two places. Some pre-start shenanigans resulted in the leading pair being last off the line, with Jones returning for a premature start. Jones and Hateley duelled throughout the race but although Hateley kept Jones behind him, he never caught Hilliar. This gave the title to Justin Jones and crew Chris Anderson from South Staffs.
1st 13427 Justin Jones and Chris Anderson, South Staffs 9pts
2nd 13686 Andy Hateley and Andy Thompson, South Staffs 9pts
3rd 13617 Paul Hilliar and Rebecca Marriott, Frensham Pond 12pts
4th 13747 Richard Instone and Marc Cheshire, Chase 15pts
5th 13796 Tim Harper and Chessie Saunders, West Lancs 25pts