A total of 34 boats turned out for the National 12 open meeting at Royal Harwich YC on the River Orwell during the Jubilee Bank Holiday weekend

Thirty-four boats took part in the most competitive event so far in the National 12 racing calendar held on the River Orwell over the recent Bank Holiday weekend.

The conditions were mainly light with regular OOD John Selby and team conducting the racing. The first race saw a very eager fleet force the OOD to fly the black flag after a general recall. The second start saw Caroline Martin and Sophie Mackley win the pin end, with John and Katy Meadowcroft also starting well.

At the first mark it was the Meadowcrofts, followed by export Jon Ibbotson crewed by Sarah Edwards, and Geoff Camm and Amelia Hall. Ibbotson and Edwards overhauled the Meadowcrofts downwind, only to be passed on the beat, the positions remaining as the first windward mark. The black flag remained for race two to calm the 12’s line keenness. Just before the start, a shift gave the port-end a good bias, with Camm and Hall, Steve Sallis and Jenny James, Patrick Elcombe and Carol Shore making the best of the advantage. The Meadowcrofts once again went well on the beat to lead from Sallis and James, then Antony and Jo Gifford.

The second beat saw the Meadowcrofts and Giffords overstand on the left after a shift, and reach into the mark with a significant advantage. A pattern was emerging with the Meadowcrofts extending upwind and the Giffords catching downwind. The Giffords finally turned the downwind advantage into a lead which they held to the finish.

The competition continued on Saturday night with croquet and barbeque on the lawn. Sunday Morning saw an early start for the Burton Salver with a light breeze. The course involved beating down river past Levington towards Felixstowe before rounding the turning mark back to the club line. Jon Brown and Henry Johnson, tussled with the Giffords, with Brown and Johnson pulling away on the run back. Sallis and James took third. A minority could not drag themselves from the football and chose to sit out and watch England draw 1-1 with Sweden.

Race three was sailed in the afternoon with Chris Mayhew and Charlotte Ibbotson having a disaster off the start line, capsizing to windward as the mainsail halyard freed with the mainsail falling rapidly! Meanwhile Sallis and James led, closely followed by the Meadowcrofts. A very close final beat saw Sallis loose out to the Meadowcrofts in the last tack to the line with Ibbotson and Edwards taking third. In race four, Tom Stewart and Liz Ross made a fantastic pin end start, which they managed to hold for the very tight run. The Meadowcrofts lost out, with Sallis and James going well, passing Stewart and Ross even after some aggressive luffing from Stewart. The Meadowcrofts came back on the beat, but Sallis and James sealed this one with Brown and Johnson taking second and the Meadowcrofts third.

The start of race five on Monday morning begin in a light wind with an ebbing tide. The Meadowcrofts led off the line chased by Brown and Johnson and Sallis and James. At the windward mark Brown had to do some turns after clashing rigs with the Meadowcrofts. The Meadowcrofts stopped on the beat with Brown and Johnson going one side while Sallis and James went the other. Brown and Johnson eventually won from Ian and Alex Gore, followed by Sallis and James.

The final race and decider left it all for Sallis and James to do in order to steal the event from the Meadowcrofts. After waiting for the wind to settle, Meadowcroft took Sallis to one side of the course and both rounded the windward mark around 20th. Both remained close at the leeward mark. The Gores led, with Brown and Johnson chasing. Notable performance was also seen with Hannah Playford pushing father Nigel to the front of the boat, rounding the first mark in fifth. Sallis and James managed to sail the right way around some commercial shipping as the leaders had to wait for it to cross them. At the windward mark, the Meadowcrofts were back in the top 10 but still just ahead of Sallis and James. Sallis made a good decision at the windward mark avoiding some starboard tack boats while the Meadowcrofts took them wide. Sallis ducked out and squeezed behind them and past them. Sallis and James chased hard, but couldn’t catch Brown and Johnson, who left the Gores to take first. Sallis and James finished third which is not enough to beat the Meadowcrofts.

Overall Results

1st 3473 Max Factor,John Meadowcroft and Katy Meadowcroft 7pts

2nd 3436 Dilbert,Steve Sallis and Jenny James 9pts

3rd 3426 Purple Pants, Jon Brown and Henry Johnson 10pts

4th 3441 Matilda,Ian and Alex Gore 1310pts

5th 3447 Random Zig Zag, Antony and Jo Gifford 1610pts

Burton Salver

1st 3426 Purple Pants, Jon Brown and Henry Johnson

2nd 3447 Random Zig Zag, Antony and Jo Gifford

3rd 3436 Dilbert, Steve Sallis and Jenny James

Admiral Cup Boat

3410, Bim Daser and Camilla Temple/ Rebecca Johnson