It was blowing a solid Force 6 gusting 7 for the opening day of the National 12 open meeting hosted by Waldringfield SC over the Easter weekend
It was blowing a solid Force 6 gusting 7 for the opening day of the National 12 Easter Egg hosted by Waldringfield SC. The race team set a course down the estuary from the sailing club. Many competitors felt that it might be prudent to stay ashore and to keep their boats intact for the rest of the weekend.
The seven boats that started the race were rewarded with some very exciting sailing. Tom Stewart and Liz Ross N3476 were first to round the windward mark just ahead of the pack. They showed good speed on the off wind legs and pulled out a good lead only to capsize (three times in all) on the run back to the leeward mark. Antony and Jo Gifford N3447 took up the running and held off the challenge of John and Katy Meadowcroft N3473 all the way to what they thought was the shortened course finish line only to discover that the 12s were finishing on the club line. The Meadowcrofts managed to overhaul them on the long reach back to the finish. Malcolm Mackley and Andrew Douglas were also fooled by the dummy finish line and were unfortunate to lose their third place to Stewart and Ross after thinking that they had already finished and failed to sail flat out to the club line.
The second race was then abandoned.
Race three was held on Sunday morning. The wind had eased to a more sailable Force 4-5 and the whole fleet came out to play. Tom Stewart and Liz Ross were the first to the windward mark and this time made no mistake and pulled away downwind and went on to win. Second at the first mark were the quick upwind Mackley and Douglas team however, they were absorbed in to the pack on the broader off wind legs. Antony and Jo Gifford finished in second and the Meadowcrofts pulled through the fleet to finish third.
Race four was held on Sunday afternoon in pretty similar conditions to race three. Stewart and Ross made the best of the bulk of the fleet’s mistake in over standing the windward mark and again escaped to a good lead and victory. Malcolm Mackley and Andrew Douglas made a good first beat and rounded in second again. They looked like they might sneak in to the lead when they were first in to a puff on the first reach but again were eventually absorbed in to the pack. Antony and Jo Gifford pulled through from an indifferent first beat to record their hat-trick of second places and were followed in to third place again by the Meadowcrofts.
Race Five on Monday morning was held in less breeze, which promised better fare for the lighter weight crews. Caroline Martin and Sophie Mackley N3455 made the best start off the club line, but again it was Stewart and Ross who reached the mark first, and by the time the fleet had reached the furthest down tide mark of the course they were a good distance out in front. Caroline Martin and Sophie Mackley held on to a comfortable second place. Frances Gifford and Jenny Wilkins N3431 were unlucky not to finish third and were only passed on the final run to the finish line.
Race six was held in a rising breeze, and with beats and fetches into the tide looked to be a good one for the heavy weights. Jon Brown and Juliet Brawn made the early running from the Meadowcrofts. Bruce Johnson crewed by son Guy rounded the first mark in third place having picked up a good shift on the left hand side of the beat. On the second beat Stewart and Ross pulled through to take the lead on the same wind bend that the Johnsons had utilised earlier. However, the leading boats had all rounded the leeward mark the wrong way and retired. This left the battle for first between Caroline Martin and Sophie Mackley and Frances Gifford and Jenny Wilkins. This time it was Frances and Jenny who took the gun.
1st Tom Stewart and Liz Ross N3476
2nd Antony and Jo Gifford N3447
3rd John and Katy Meadowcroft N3473