Burton Week 2001, the national championship of the National 12 class, was hosted by Porthpean Sailing Club in St Austell Bay, Cornwall from 4-10 August.
With sailing restricted on two of the six days due to high winds, it was left to a hectic social program to ensure that the fleet went home suitably tired. This was not as hard a task as it may seem, due to the generous sponsorship from a number of sources, including Ernst & Young, Dyson, sailpower.com, Gill, Pinnell & Bax, Greene King, Jayne Wood, and Ullman Sails. The sailing itself went down to the wire with the first ten boats separated by only 15 points. Going into the last race it was difficult to identify who could not win.
The week includes the prestigious Sir William Burton Cup, sailed for since the introduction of the class in 1936. This classic always consists of four triangles and a beat with each leg a minimum of one mile in length. Over the past three years this race has been dominated by sailmaker Tom Stewart, crewed by Elisabeth Ross from the Royal Harwich YC and in a three hour slog around the course they battled past the early leaders John and Katy Meadowcroft and then Nigel and Hannah Playford to secure their fourth consecutive Cup win, and their fifth win in total. Making up the places were Bruce and Clare Johnson in second following fourth and third in the previous two years, then Robin and Ben Wood who overtook the Meadowcrofts on the final set of reaches to claim third. The Meadowcrofts held off the charging Jon and Charlotte Ibbotson up the final beat.
In the final analysis for the week’s prizes for the Yachting World Silver National, Stewart and Ross in their Winder Boats, Feeling Foolish design secured victory by a single point from the Ibbotsons, also from the Royal Harwich YC in their Nigel Waller built Final Chapter design. Amazingly, the same club also took positions 3,4,5 in the overall results; all sailing Waller-built Final Chapters. The fight continues to be between the Bim Daser designed Foolish and the Mike Jackson-designed Chapter, with each design appearing five times in the top 10. Intriguingly the new Daser-designed Numinous finished just outside the top 10 in its first season. This hull shape is without doubt competitive and more will be expected to be built this winter.
There was high competition in the Admirals Cup competition – for the older boats entering Burton Week. With 20 entrants this turned out to be a very close affair, with Andy Pickrell and Jonathan White in a Baggy Trousers design, winners by a point from Bim Daser and Alison Martin in the original Foolish themselves a further point ahead of Kevin Iles and Nicole McKenna in another Baggy. Pickrell and White took home a voucher for a new jib from Pinnell & Bax.
Other notable successes were for Sophie Mackley and Caroline Martin, winners of the Arrows Trophy for first time Burton Week helmsmen and also the winner of a Dyson vacuum cleaner. They were however, beaten to the Money Cup for lady helmsmen by Frances Gifford and Jane Jones.
The Corrigan Cup competition for U21s was won by Richard Williams and Stella Brown – who had led the overall points competition after two races. They sailed an exceptional series, and will no doubt be a force to be recognised in future years. Richard also won the Joe Yorke Trophy for the most improved helmsman.
In the individual races, race one for the Marlow Ropes Salver, was dominated by a trio of boats, Chris Mayhew and Helen Hilditch eventually building a comfortable advantage to win from Williams and Brown followed by Gifford and Jones. With a significantly oscillating wind there were opportunities for many to gain and lose places.
For race two, The Centenary Trophy, the 12s used a ‘P’ shaped course for the first time – with two tighter reaches followed by a run back down to the leeward mark. This was evidently to the liking of Stewart and Ross who took the gun ahead of Robin and Ben Wood and the consisten