The GP14 South West and London and South East Combined Area Championship took place last weekend at Starcross YC in Devon
The GP14 South West and London and South East Combined Area Championship took place at Starcross YC on the River Exe near Exeter on 31 August/1 September.
It was the first time that a GP14 Area Championship had been run at a shared venue with open meetings for three other classes, Larks, National 12s and Wayfarers.
The championship consisted of four races over the two days with three to count. The evening social and resulting ale and vodka fest among the leading crews was to prove crucial to the results on the Sunday and the outcome of the championship.
The first race started in a Force 2-3 shifty north-westerly with the race officer Russ Gibbs setting a starboard-hand P-course. On a perfect day for sailing it was Richard Instone and Mark Cheshire who set the pace taking the first race from Carl Jeffs and Jim Toothill (fresh from their win at the Irish nationals) and Tim and Stuart MacManus in third.
After a short break it was back on the water for race two and this time it was all change with Dave Young and Amy Finney taking the win,
Richard Instone and Mark Cheshire in second and Carl and Jim in third. Graham Knox and Pete Bramwell who had travelled all the way from Rochdale led the Silver fleet overnight with Bob Baldwin and Spencer Mayer from Warsash leading the Bronze.
With the first race not due to start until 11am on Sunday it was another chance for everyone to enjoy the magnificent Starcross YC breakfast. Following a delay of approx 30 minutes with the wind shifting between north-west and east and between nothing and a Force 2, the race officer decided to go for it with a port-handed P-course set across the Exe Estuary to take advantage of the predominantly easterly breeze.
Right from the start of the third race it was obvious the wind was not going to play ball with most points of sailing being achieved on most of the legs of the first round. After this it settled down with the usual names close to the front of the fleet. Tim Hemsley and Stuart MacManus posted their first win with Toby Taylor and Luke Bassett in second and Richard Instone and Mark Cheshire in third. This meant that Richard Instone and Mark Cheshire led the championship going into the last race with Hemsley and MacManus needing a win to secure their first area championship win. The fourth race started in a steady southerly breeze with the, by now, outgoing tide pushing the competitors over the start line. Three out of the top four boats were judged OCS. That left The Hemsley, and MacManus taking the win in race four and their first area championship. Dennis Valentine and Clyde Elliot had a superb race in second place which secured their win in the Bronze fleet and 10th overall.
Tony Moore and Serina Thorley came in third to secure the Silver fleet, first South West boat and fifth overall.
1st 13617, Tim Hemsley and Stuart MacManus Frensham Pond SC 5pts
2nd 13747, Richard Instone and Mark Cheshire Chase SC 6pts
3rd 13710, Dave Young and Amy Finney South Staffs SC 9pts
4th 13686, Carl Jeffs and Jim Toothill Trimpley SC 10pts
5th 13676, Tony Moore and Serina Thorley Poole YC 17pts
6th 13394, Richard Garry and Owen Taylor Starcross YC 17pts
Gold Fleet Tim Hemsley and Stu MacManus – Frensham Pond
Silver Fleet Tony Moore and Serina Thorley – Poole YC
Bronze Fleet Dennis Valentine and Clyde Elliott – Poole YC
1st Lady Helmsman Sylvia Statham – Starcross YC