Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne won last weekend’s National 12 open meeting at Burton Sailing Club

Burton Sailing Club provided an excellent venue for the penultimate meeting in the 2002 Midlands area series last Sunday (13 October).

The weekend kicked off with coaching on the Saturday with the 12s doing some rig tuning in the morning while waiting for the wind, by the afternoon a perfect coaching breeze filled in and 8 National 12 teams enjoyed the expert tuition of Tom Stewart and Charlotte Ibbotson.

A total of 13 boats took to the water for the open meeting on the Sunday with a light breeze at first which steadily picked up throughout the day.

Race one started in an unsettled wind, first off the line were the family team of Dave and Emma Wilkins who tacked early off the line into a nice patch of wind which lifted them to the mark, Geoff Camm and Amelia Hall sailing the “Aardvark Issues” followed clear wind to the left of the course while Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne took shifts up the middle. The fleet were only inches apart as they converged on the windward mark and position on the approach proved to be the critical part of the race. Graham and Zoe rounded first followed by Steve Sallis and Jenny James while Caroline Martin and Jane Jones popped out third and these positions remained unchanged to the finish.

The wind stabilised for race two and hot off the blocks this time were Tim Laws and Jimmy Whitehead in their Design 8. Tim and Jimmy led the fleet to the windward mark and along the reach, showing excellent boat speed.

The fleet bunched up again on the run, Graham and Zoe sailed to the left of the fleet pressing the inside position on Tim and Jimmy. The wind filled from the left allowing Graham and Zoe to sneak through into the lead.

As the fleet started the second beat the wind again filled from the side. Caroline and Jane noticed this and, combined with the blistering boat speed of their Feeling Foolish “Bart”, they overhauled both Tim and Graham to take an unstoppable lead. Graham and Zoe hung on to second and the following fleet fought for third with John Sears and Lydia Wood coming though in their Pipedream.

It was all to play for in the final race with Steve and Jenny, Caroline and Jane and Graham and Zoe all in contention. Rain descended for the start of the race bringing plenty of wind with it and surprisingly most of the fleet came out to play again. Steve and Jenny were fastest off the start line this time in their Feeling Foolish, closely followed by Tim and Jimmy. Positions were tight up the first beat and the fleet was close at the windward mark. Steve rounded first with Tim in second with Graham and Zoe on top of them. Graham and Zoe overhauled Tim in a gust and caught up Steve and Jenny. The run proved the deciding point of the race, Graham and Zoe went high and Steve and Jenny luffed to protect the inside position. Caroline sailed the direct course to the mark and edged through with lots of boat speed. Graham and Zoe gybed back early and caught a gust which pulled them a half boat length ahead. As the three boats approach the second gybe mark the wind filled from the left benefiting Steve and Jenny who pulled back enough to protect their position from Caroline and Jane but inches short of claiming water on Graham and Zoe.

The wind picked up enough to turn the next two legs into enjoyable (although unexpected) planning reaches. The positions of the top three were fought fiercely for the next two laps and Steve and Jenny almost broke through on the final beat as they caught the inside of a lift at the start of the final beat but Graham and Zoe hung on to win the race by a matter of inches.

Overall Results

1st Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne

2nd Caroline Martin and Jane Jones

3rd Steve Sallis and Jenny James

Admirals Cup

1st John Sears and Lydia Wood

2nd Tim Laws and Jimmy Whitehead