Close competition on the open meeting circuit this year promised an exciting 2002 SigneT/Fleetwind National championship at Rutland Sailing Club from 4-9 August
Close competition on the open meeting circuit this year promised an exciting 2002 SigneT/Fleetwind National championship at Rutland Sailing Club from 4-9 August.
In Sunday’s practice race there was much jockeying for position with holes in the wind leaving early leaders Paul Nicholson and Roy Melsom, Richard Cannon and Rob Britton trailing as Laurie Bridges and Michael Stevens moved up the fleet. Behind them Michael Overs and Mark Cowling led the juniors round followed by a group of Paxton SigneTs jockeying for position with spinnakers flying. Richard Cannon moved skillfully back up the fleet to just finish ahead of Aquarius team mate Laurie Bridges on the last leg.
The first championship race was postponed on Monday as the SigneT fleet came to terms with the death of Mabel Field, wife of Class Captain Tom. Mabel has worked tirelessly for the fleet and also for the RNLI over the years alongside Tom. She will be greatly missed.
On Tuesday the SigneTs gathered in a Force 4 to resume competition, glad that Tom Field junior, crewed by Sarah Whiteside had decided to rejoin us. Paul Nicholson and Roy Melsom, Tim and Michael Wild, the early leaders, were soon challenged by Richard Cannon and Rob Britton, Michael Overs and Mark Cowling. There was an incident on the first mark between Sam Anderson Brown and Ben Mitchell, David Rothery and Holly Fuller, Sam taking a penalty. Keith Hatton and Mike Baker pulled up the fleet with good spinnaker handling. At the finish Richard Cannon won from, Paul Nicholson and Michael Overs just holding off John Pratt and Christine Eade on the line.
With the wind dropping, Richard Cannon took an early lead in the second race, tacking out to port, just escaping a starboard call from Keith Hatton and Mike Baker. Junior sailors Sam Anderson Brown and Ben Mitchell, Lizzy and Pat Overs were well up the fleet battling to get ahead of Michael Overs and Mark Cowling. As wind shifts interfered with spinnaker flying there was much changing of position. At the finish Richard Cannon led from Paul Nicholson and Keith Hatton. Strong spinnaker flying pulled Tim and Michael Wild up to fourth on the line.
In Thursday morning’s race Richard Cannon was again away first, this time being challenged all the way by Paul Nicholson. Spinnakers, though used, were of little help in light, fluky winds. The juniors were led round by Sam Anderson Brown and Ben Mitchell chased by Lizzy and Pat Overs. However, Sam was one of two boats who missed marks and subsequently retired from the race. With two legs to go Paul got ahead of Richard and it looked as though he would be defeated at last. However, he covered the final mark well to steal the lead back.
In the afternoon the postponed race one got underway in what appeared to be a complete lack of wind from any direction. Juniors Michael Overs and Mark Cowling took an early lead followed by Richard Cannon and Rob Britton. Behind them the fleet got stuck on pontoons and other boats, failing to find clear water. Michael and Mark continued to move ahead with a purpose as others around them drifted aimlessly. They won the single lap race seven minutes ahead of Richard Cannon and 40 minutes ahead of the tail enders to cheers from both the supporters on the bank and sailors on the water. Their improvement and first championship race win is a credit to the fleet that has supported and nurtured them over the last five years.
The final championship race on Friday morning was also held in light winds. Although, Richard Cannon did not compete, having secured the championship, positions from second to the tail ender trophy were still open. The Fleetwind of John Miller and Luke Huntbach took the lead early, followed by Roy Melsom and Angela Wild. Midfleet positions were wide open as boats sailed round in pairs, luffing each other all the way. David Fielding and Jonathon Leeding fought valiantly to try and get ahead of Lizzy and Pat Overs, while Steve Leeding and Sam Mitchell battled it out with Fred and Morwenna Rothery. At the finish John Miller won from Roy Melsom and Tim Wild.
In the fun races of the week Michael Wild battled against Rob Britton and Mark Cowling to win the Crew Invitation Race. A discretionary award for the highest placed non-regular helmsman went to Luke Huntbach in the Fleetwind.
In the singlehanded race (probably the hardest fought race of the week) Roy Melsom won from John Pratt. Creditable performances also came from juniors Sam Anderson Brown, Mark Cowling, Rob Britton, Michael Stevens and the lone female helm Lizzy Overs.
Richard Cannon and Rob Britton (Aquarius SC) 5pts
2nd ST761 Signo Vinces, Paul Nicholson and Roy Melsom (Littleton SC)10 pts
3rd ST914 Plop, Michael Overs and Mark Cowling (Paxton Lakes SC) 14pts
4th ST847 The Sting, Tim and Michael Wild 16 pts
1st ST914 Plop, Michael Overs and Mark Cowling (14 pts)
2nd ST690 Welsh Lady, Lizzy and Pat Overs (29 pts)
3rd ST2 Half Sovereign, Sam Anderson Brown and Ben Mitchell (43 pts)
4th ST41 Clytie, Tom Field and Sarah Whiteside (53 pts)
1st ST690 Welsh Lady, Lizzy Overs and Pat Overs
1st FW643 Hurricane, John Miller and Luke Huntbach (21pts)