The National 12 class managed to escape the weekend storms to contest the Royal Thames YC Trophy at Ranelagh SC in Putney
After celebrating the 2001 season at the Saturday evening prize giving, the first event of the 2002 N12 Thames Area season took place on Sunday 27 January at Ranelagh SC for the Royal Thames Yacht Club Trophy.
With gales on the Saturday and more anticipated for Sunday, surprisingly, the wind failed to materialise, and the select group of 10 entrants found themselves barely able to stem the tide in the very light zephyrs.
Sailing a traditional course on the Putney reach, the contestants made their way down to the first mark with the tide helping their progress. First off the line was Bim Daser crewed by Alex, but Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne had no qualms in quickly overtaking the designer of their Numinous design to take the lead. The rest of the fleet spread across the river to make what they could of the little wind available. A necessary mark repositioning as the leading boats approached caused some consternation in the fleet, however, Camm and Ballantyne rounded first with Daser and Alex overlapped outside. The incoming tide sweeping both upstream away from the mark allowed the next boats to harden up and tack inside on a slight puff. Frances Gifford crewed by Jess Brown then managed to hook the mark on their rudder and with the tide under them started dragging it off towards Hammersmith much to the frustration to those still trying to round. However, it was a godsend to those struggling to get past the mark against the tide, and the first to benefit were John and Mandy Thornton in another Numinous design, getting back into the shore for the long trip back to Putney. Camm and Ballantyne followed closely, and Ben Brown and Daryl Wilkinson squeezed into third ahead of Daser and Alex.
What followed was a long and tentative beat back against the tide hugging the bank, with occasional costly tacks out into the stream. With the floodwater turning the tide early the race was finished at Putney. The Thortons won from Camm and Ballantyne, both extending their lead over third place and first non-double bottomed boat of Brown and Wilkinson, ahead of Daser and Alex. Gifford and Brown staged a remarkable recovery after re-rounding the mark to finish fifth and first woman helmsman. Predictably after packing up the wind arrived in the afternoon!
1st 3468, Pillow Fight, Numinous Design, John and Mandy Thornton, Henley SC
2nd 3469, Thanks for all the Fish, Numinous Design, Graham Camm and Zoe Ballantyne, Burghfield SC
3rd 3385, Wild Front Ear, Ben Brown and Daryl Wilkinson, Burghfield SC
4th 3410, Feeling Foolish, Bim Daser and Alex, Ranelagh SC
5th 3431, Zippy, Feeling Foolish Design, Frances Gifford and Jess Brown, Aldeburgh YC
Admirals Cup Prize 3385, Wild Front Ear, Ben Brown and Daryl Wilkinson, Burghfield SC
Womens Prize 3431, Zippy, Feeling Foolish Design, Frances Gifford and Jess Brown, Aldeburgh YC