After a close fought race, Will and Robert Henderson won last Sunday's National 12 open meeting at Ranelagh

A total of five visitors joined five home boats to race for the beautiful Silver National Trophy at last Sunday’s (12 May) National 12 open meeting at Ranelagh SC. The trophy for this event was first raced for in 1937 and, because of the one-race format on the tricky tidal conditions of the Thames, it is a difficult but rewarding open meeting to win.

The strong incoming tide and light wind made keeping above the start line tricky and with a cruel lull just before the start, four boats found themselves OCS battling to get back to start correctly, while the rest disappeared upstream on the tidal stream.

At the first mark, Frances Gifford crewed by Juliet Brawn rounded in the lead but little wind and a strong current, the boats remained close to the mark allowing one of the late starters to get back into the fray by arriving at the mark with wind and slot into fourth place. A long beat back against the tide followed where the leading pack of Frances Gifford, John & Katy Meadowcroft, Will & Robert Henderson, Bim Daser with eight year old Beth Reilly crewing, and John & Mandy Thornton broke away from the remaining fleet.

Gifford and Brawn had a battle with the Meadowcrofts while the Hendersons broke for the other bank followed by Bim Daser, a short while later. Initially looking good as the wind favoured the other bank, these two had to return to the south bank as the wind shifted again, for a small loss of distance yet keeping their places. Closing on the next mark, the four leaders closed right up and rounded together, with Daser having dropped to fifth, the tide opening a large gap between him and the first four.

After rounding the leeward mark, Gifford again led up the beat only to be overtaken near the windward mark by the Hendersons. The Meadowcrofts and Thorntons were locked in battle all the way up the beat.

On the last lap, the Hendersons opened a slight gap on Gifford to win. Although Gifford comfortably held her second place, in the building breeze the Thorntons broke through the Meadowcrofts and stretched away for third. The Meadowcrofts sailing Katy’s 30 year old Paper Dart, had sailed an exceptional race but in the increasing wind found themselves under-powered relative to the newer designs.

Up the last beat Daser closed right up to them near the finish, but with excellent sailing and tactical skills, the Meadowcrofts, held on to finish fourth by four seconds.

Overall Results

1st 3418 New Isabelle, (Baggy Trousers), Will and Robert Henderson, Salcombe YC

2nd 3431 Zippy, (Feeling Foolish), Frances Gifford and Juliet Brawn, Alderburgh YC

3rd 3468 Pillow Fight, (Numinous), John and Mandy Thornton, Henley SC

4th 2815 Mulga Bill, (Paper Dart), John and Katy Meadowcroft, Henley SC

5th 3410 Feeling Foolish, (Feeling Foolish), Bim Daser and Beth Reilly, Ranelagh SC

1st Admirals Cup

2815 Mulga Bill, (Paper Dart), John & Katy Meadowcroft, Henley SC