Three races for the National 12 Challenge Cup were sailed on Sunday 16 September at Henley Sailing Club in Wargrave

Three races for the National 12 Challenge Cup were sailed on Sunday 16 September at Henley Sailing Club in Wargrave. There were 17 boats on the water, including visitors from other Thames based clubs and from as far afield as Redesmere in Cheshire, and Aldeburgh in Suffolk.

With a gusty breeze blowing, the prudent decision to split the fleet into four flights was made so as to halve the number of boats on the starting line at any time and thereby reduce congestion on the narrow river. Accordingly, each flight sailed a single race against each other flight.

In the first set of races, (Red v Green), John and Katy Meadowcroft built up an early lead over a pack of boats initially led by Dave and Josie Greening, and then Steve Gent and Viv Roberts. The Meadowcrofts extended their lead to win comfortably while behind there was much place changing throughout the entire race, with Dave and Rose Croft emerging to take second place at the finish. The Blue v Black race was initially led by Frances Gifford and Neil Ravenscroft, but then developed into a four-way tussle for the lead. One by one Mike Cooke and Kate Edwards, followed by John and Mandy Thornton, and then Will and Robert Henderson fell behind the blistering pace being set by Graham Camm adn Zoe Ballantyne. Camm and Ballantyne eventually won comfortably from the Hendersons.

First race off after lunch was Red v Blue. The Meadowcrofts were the early leaders but were then overtaken by the Hendersons. With Camm and Ballantyne snapping around on the transom of these two boats, it was always going to be a tight and fiercely contested finish. Shortly before the end of the race the Meadowcrofts were able to break through to win just ahead of the Hendersons and then Camm and Ballantyne. In the Green v Black race, the Crofts continued to show good form, recording a win ahead of the chasing Thorntons.

The wind dropped off as the final races started. In Blue v Green, the Hendersons, Crofts and Camm and Ballantyne clashed. As the wind died, the Hendersons took the lead ahead of Gent and Roberts, a lead that they held to the finish. In Red v Black the Greenings got back to form to win ahead of the Thorntons and the Meadowcrofts.

Overall, their performances in the first two races were enough for the Meadowcrofts to win the Challenge Cup ahead of the Hendersons and the Crofts. For the aficionados there were five different designs featured in the first five places.

Overall Results

1 3429 Fools Gold, John and Katy Meadowcroft Henley 2pts

2 3418 New Isabelle, Will and Robert Henderson Tamesis 3pts

3 2935 Close To The Edge, Dave and Rose Croft Henley 3pts

4 3469 Thanks For All The Fish, Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne Burghfield 4pts

5 3461 Annie Apple, Dave and Josie Greening Bosham 4pts

6 3468 Pillow Fight, John and Mandy Thornton Henley 4pts