The last weekend of the London Boats Show has now become the traditional time for dinghy sailors to visit and take part. For the third year running Ovington Boats ran the skiff event on the Saturday. This year the 29ers were joined by the B14s and Musto Skiffs.
Racing started at 1200 with the Musto Skiffs going off first followed by the 29ers at 1300, then the B14s at 1400. The format was 3 races of 2 laps over the 400 m. upwind/downwind course for each fleet with all to count.
Conditions were almost perfect, 8 -15 knots from the west with only slight drizzle at the start of play! A live commentary from Richard Parslow kept the spectators on the dock informed, making excellent entertainment.
Current World Champion Helly Hansen (Richard Stenhouse) showed he meant business in the Musto Skiff fleet by taking the first race from this year’s runner up at the Nationals Blue Marine (Dan Henderson). After taking the safe option on many occasions Tim Chapman put in a good third.
The second race was a lot closer, the fleet had got used to the ‘unique‘ conditions and some good tight racing was seen. Helly Hansen had a battle on his hands this time from Blue Marine and Bruce Spratt who lead at the first mark only to take a swim on the down wing leg. Spratt held onto third while Helly Hansen eventually overhauled Blue Marine to win his second race.
With no discards it was still all to play for. If Blue Marine won the last race Helly Hansen must finish at least 4th. Blue Marine did win and for a while it looked like Helly Hansen was going to throw it away and was well down the fleet. However, he was able to overtake Gill (Tom Wright) and Graham Smith to take first place overall. The 29er racing was all very close,
it also gave the spectators a few treats from spills right in front of the crowds – special thanks to Tom Lambert & Nicola Smith who managed to capsize in the same place on consecutive laps right in front of the quayside.
After the first two races Phil Walker & John Mather and Adam Larven & Graham Wheaten both had a first place which meant going into the last race it was a match race between the two of them. It was too close to call through the race as the places changed in the variable wind.
At the last bottom mark it was Walker & Mather who got the inside berth on the rounding and went through the line to take both the race and the event. The battle for third was as intense but was eventually taken by the brothers Sam and Josh Seddon. The B14 fleet of 7 boats had 4 of the current top 5 and top youth team (Credo (Theo Gayler/Jack Spencer)) competing, it was to be an eventful shootout.
With all vying for pole position at all starts, it was Seavolution/Blue Marine (Mark Barnes/Pete Nicholson) that broke away hotly chased throughout by CSC (Chris Bines/Dave Gibbons) with MJF/North (Dave Hayes/Drew Malcolm) recovering to third by the finish.
Race 2 and more of the same for Seavolution/Blue Marine, but this time with Ince&Co (Mark Watts/George Morris) holding battle royal with CSC in 2nd and 654 (Dan Cowin/Kathy Sherrat), it was not over till the final turn mark with CSC just taking it from Ince&Co.
Into the final and with 2 bullets Seavolution/Blue Marine had to finish within 2 boats of CSC. Off the start, it was Ince&Co followed by Credo, with the main players out to the left in light conditions. However, up the middle it was MJF/North chased by a charging Seavolution/Blue Marine.
Credo and CSC had a coming together resulting in CSC doing a 360, and being in last position. Down the run Seavolution/Blue Marine broke through MJF/North with Ince&Co but CSC was on a charge. Bye the leeward mark 4 boats were overlapped with nothing to separate them. Over the next lap CSC, made a great recovery to second having passed a capsized Ince&Co and Credo. CSC did enough to secure second and MJF/North took third from INce&Co by one point.
Unfortunately 711 (Chris Bishop/Laura Hitchcock) had to retire during race 1 due to a twisted ankle whilst in the running.
After hectic 9 races the fleets retired to the Guinness stand and the prize giving on the main stage. Many thanks to British Sailing and National Boat Shows for making the event happen. A very big thanks to Harken for the great prizes. Overall Results:
1. GBR332 Helly Hansen - Richard Stenhouse
2. GBR305 Blue Marine - Dan Henderson
3. GBR 209 Gil - Tom Wright
4. GBR154 Mum & Dad -Bruce Spratt
5. GBR16 The Bank - Tim Chapman
6. GBR291 - Graham Smith
7. AUT354 - Gerald Luchterhand
8. AUT079 - Felix Richtarski
1. GBR174 - Phil Walker/John Mather
2. GBR1322 - Adam Larvin/Graham Wheaton
3. GBR838 - Sam Seddon/Josh Seddon
4. GBR342 - Arun Smith/Alec Rogers
5. GBR396 - Tom Lambert/Nicola Smith
1. Seavolution/Blue Marine – Mark Barnes/Pete Nicholson – 1, 1, 1 = 3
2. CSC - Chris Bines/Dave Gibbons – 2, 2, 2, = 6
3. MJF/North Sails (UK) – Dave Hayes/Drew Malcolm – 3, 6, 3 = 12
4. Ince&Co – Mark Watts/George Morris – 4, 3, 6 = 13
5. Credo – Theo Gayler/Jack Spencer – 5, 5, 4 = 14
6. 654 – Dan Cowin/Kathy Sherrat – 6, 4, 5 = 15
7. 711 – Chris Bishop/Laura Hitchcock – RTD, RTD, RTD = 24