The Osprey national championship was held at Highcliffe SC from 28 July-3 August. The fleet was greeted to a warm welcome from Highcliffe Sailing Club, and a heat wave forecast for the week.
The Practice race was started in a Force 1, and the fleet split after the start with the majority going left, those that headed right were rewarded with a favorable shift. Nigel Shudder and Peter Frith (1290) read the course well and finished first followed by the Seymours and the Odlings.
The first race, on the Sunday, started after a four-hour postponement on a very hot and windless day. The early starters sailed into a header and tacked into more wind, Roger Edwardson and Steven Graham (1294) from Kielder Water led the fleet up the first beat. Ten boats arrived at the windward mark and all tried to get round the mark in an adverse tide, in the ensuing chaos Graham Viles and Adam Bowers (1175) came out in the lead followed by Oscar Chess and Nick Daily-Hunt (1085) and Andy Barker & Phil Angrave (1298). Places among the leaders were maintained down the reaches but the second beat produced gains for those that hit the lay lines. Andy Barker crossed the line shortened course finish line first closely followed by Graham Viles and Oscar Chess. Rob Shaw hit the right hand corner, found his own private wind and gained seven places to finish fourth.
The race officer Mike Robinson postponed the start of the second race on Monday for one hour to allow a sea breeze of Force 3-4 to develop and stabilize. Pathfinder Chris Gorringe got the fleet away to a good gate start. Graham Vials and Adam Bowers in 1175 made up for their forced retirement the previous day by flying out of the start to take a good lead at the windward mark followed by Oscar Chess and Nick Daily-Hunt (1085) and Alan Laing and Steve Birch (1194). Graham had problems with his spinnaker pole end fittings twisting off the mast which allowed Oscar to take the lead during the first reach. During the next beat and run Rob Shaw and Steve Watson (1292) worked their way up to second behind Oscar. For the second triangle and sausage the first four boats were very close with frequent place changes. At the finish, Oscar won a brilliant race in perfect conditions one boat length ahead of Andy Barker and Phil Angrave (1198) who was closely followed by Graham and Rob, with the rest of the fleet close behind.
The third race (on Tuesday) was postponed for 90 minutes to allow a Force 3 sea breeze to Fill in. Soon after the start the fleet sailed into a header, and Martin Lewis and Terry Greene (1207) tacked to cross the fleet on Port. This gave them a good led at the windward mark, followed by Graham Viles and Adam Bowers (1175), and Jane and Chris Seymour (1295). Oscar Chess and Nick Daily-Hunt (1085) rounded sixth but delayed their spinnaker hoist to reach over the top of four boats to take second place at the gybe mark. These positions were held to the leaward mark except Nigel Skudder and Peter Frith (1290) moved up to fourth, and the Seymours dropped back due to a near capsize.
As the race progressed the first three positions stayed the same but fourth was hotly contended. Collin Rainback and Bob Isles (1272) moved up to fourth position at the end of the second beat, to be overtaken by Andy Barker and Phil Angrave (1298) at the end of the run. During the last beat Martin put a loose cover on Oscar to finish with a comfortable lead, Martin Cooney and John Price (1296) who were flying upwind passed Collin and Andy to take the elusive fourth place.
The fourth race was sailed in an easterly Force 4 dropping to Force 2. The race officer got the race away nearly on time to make the best of the prevailing winds. The majority of the fleet headed towards the shore to avoid the ebbing tide. Andy Barker and Phil Angrave (1298) and Will and George Odling (1199) stood high of the port layline and reached in on a lifting breeze to round the windward mark first and second with Grah