Paul Hilliar and Stu Jagger win the Gul RS400 nationals at Parkstone YC 28/8/07
The fifth and final day of the Gul RS400 nationals at Parkstone, Poole, brought a mercifully light forecast, much to the relief of the fleet, who had been battered by 25 knot winds earlier in the week. The overall situation was that Paul Hilliar/Stu Jagger held a convincing lead over Neal and Paul Freeman, with Tom Halhead/Christian Humphrey just behind. In order to secure the title, Hilliar/Jagger needed just one fifth place from the three scheduled races.
The first race got underway in 8 knots and blazing sunshine. Halhead/Humphrey were early out of the gate and grabbed the lead, with the pack closely bunched behind them, led by the Freemans. As these rounded the first mark, Hilliar/Jagger got dragged onto the mark, twice to put them well down.
Halhead/Humphrey showed fantastic light wind pace to go on and win by a huge margin but the Freeman’s just got swallowed up by the pack, with Paul and Mike Allen getting second, in front of Nick Lowe/Elaine Marsh. With Hilliar/Jagger recovering to take fifth, this was enough to give them the championship with two races to spare so they went in, leaving the fleet to enjoy the light, shifting wind.
The first race result meant that Halhead/Humphrey went into the final two races in second place, even on points with the Freemans but ahead on countback (having won two races). On the gate start of the second race, the Freemans took out Halhead/Humphrey and put them down into the pack. Following that, a large shift on the first beat put Lowe/Marsh well into the lead. The sea breeze continued to fight with the gradient wind to keep the feet on their toes, but normal service was finally resumed for Dave Jones/Mark Hogan coming in second place in front of Paul and Mike Allen.
Several attempts were made to start the third race, but with the light and shifting breeze not cooperating, the race officer made the popular decision to abandon and send the fleet home.
This meant that Hilliar/Jagger were crowned Gul RS400 national champions for the first time, counting only first and second places, with the Freemans taking second place and Halhead/Humphrey rounding out the podium positions.