Flying Fifteen Balearic Championships - Close tactical racing

Adrian Tattersall & Tim Smart (GBR)
Jonny Fullerton
The Flying Fifteen Balearic Championship was took place on the weekend of 4 - 6 October at the venue of the 2014 Flying Fifteen European Championships in Pollenca, on the island of Majorca.

Racing was organised by the Real Club Nautica Port de Pollenca in a stunning bay surrounded by the mountains at the north-eastern tip of the island of Majorca. Some late summer balmy weather and a mixture of shifty breezes provided for some tactical racing amongst a small but competitive fleet.

Two races were scheduled but only one could be completed on Friday (day one) due to the muggy and slightly stormy conditions which kept the breeze down to 5-8 knots. A visiting team from the UK, Adrian Tattersall and Tim Smart, were using the regatta as an opportunity to learn from the tricky conditions in Pollenca. Using a chartered boat IRL 3753 they soon worked their way to the front of the fleet rounding just ahead of Majorcan sailors David Barber and stand in crew Sue Foreman sailing Fine Fettle. The two leaders fought to the end and the fading and shifting breeze made for a tight finish but it stayed this way with Spanish Class Secretary Michael Clough and Jonny Fullerton just snatching third by a nose on the finish line.

Saturday dawned with an earlier start in a much fresher 16 - 18 knot north-easterly with some disturbed chop. The new weather conditions made for more close tactical racing on windward/leeward courses.

After another clear start, race two also went the way of the visiting Brits, Adrian Tattersall and Tim Smart but again the action was close this time with the Harris brothers, Patrick and Vincent sailing Flying High, back in the mix after a slow first day. In the stronger breeze, the Harris brothers pushed the British pair very hard but couldn’t quite break through, settling for second. David Barber with regular crew Hannah Barber took third with a very close battle for fourth-8th proving to be a pattern for the weekend.

Race two of the day was again sailed in shifty and windy conditions with a breeze flicking around the headland of Formentura. This time Patrick and Vincent Harris from CN Cala Gamba did get the better of their tussle with the British pair with the ever consistent Barber family also representing CN Cala Gamba taking third.

Again some very packed mark roundings meant some close racing particularly amongst the local Flying Fifteen sailors, Scott Walker and Andrew Harvey, David Miles and Amigo del Alma and Michael Beecken and Stephen Parry.

Two more races were scheduled for the final day (Sunday) and the majority of the fleet were still digesting a rather large BBQ laid on by the Real Club Nautica Port de Pollenca in typical Spanish islander style.

The breeze was still quite fresh with a hint of thunderstorms but patchy and fading at times to 12 - 13 knots. The Race Committee had to wait a while for conditions to settle for another longish windward/leeward race course providing some more close racing.

The visiting Brits had to work hard and on the final run with a big shift they only just crossed the finish line in front of the Harris brothers with Stephen Babbage and John Walker from CN Cala Gamba finishing strongly to take third.

The final race would be the decider and the breeze was getting lighter. For the first time in the regatta there were three OCS at the committee boat end all pushing a bit too hard. David and Hannah Barber came out strongest up the first beat rounding clear ahead of a close pack containing Scott Walker and Andrew Harvey and the ever improving Stephen Babbage and John Walker.

The Barbers continued to extend to a big lead leaving a big scrap to the chasing pack but Adrian Tattersall and Tim Smart (GBR) had kept enough points in the bag crossing in fourth to claim the title. Stephen Babbage and John Walker took third and seal third on the overall podium.

The class now turns its attention to the Flying Fifteen World Championship in Hong Kong in November but Pollenca will look forward to welcoming all Flying Fifteen sailors back to the island of Majorca for the 2014 Europeans in September next year.

Overall Results: (Top 10 after five races)

1 IRL 3753 Adrian Tattersall/Tim Smart: 1,1,2,1,4, 9pts
2 ESP 3728 David Barber/Hannah Barber: 2,3,3,4,1, 13pts
3 ESP 3577 Stephen Babbage/John Walker: 5,4,5,3,3, 20pts
4 ESP 3592 Patrick Harris/Vincent Harris: 8,2,1,2,DNF, 25pts
5 ESP 3763 Scott Walker/Andrew Harvey: 4,6,9,7,2, 28pts
6 ESP 3804 Michael Clough/Jonny Fullerton: 3,8,6,6,5, 28pts
7 ESP 3610 David Miles/Amigo del Alma: 6,5,4,5,DSQ, 32pts
8 ESP 3600 Michael Beecken/Stephen Parry: 9,7,8,8,7, 39pts
9 ESP 3724 Stephen Hart/Seven Phillips: 10,9,7,9,6, 41pts
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